The holiday season is usually a time marked with festivities, food and giving out gifts. So it’s as good a time as ever to think about the ways that we can make better choices during the season.

In our work as event planners, we, at BB Events, know what it’s like to be making decisions at every point on how we can best make moments meaningful and impactful. And particularly when you couple that with our partnerships with non-profits and community organizations, we are reminded how small acts can make such big differences. So for us, this season of giving is a great reminder of how we can be doing these things beyond our events.

Here are 5 ways you can give back better during this holiday season that will delight your loved ones while helping those who need it most!

1. Give back with a donation

At BB Events, we’ve started up a tradition around the holidays where we give our family the gifts of a donation. It shows thoughtfulness by choosing a cause they feel connected to. It removes the waste of an unwanted or single-use gift and it all goes towards a great cause!

In fact, we must not be alone in this with 31% of annual giving occurring in December – with 12% happening in the final three days of the year (source: Neon One). If you’re one of the people who has left it to the last minute, here are some worthwhile causes you can consider donating to:

    • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center helps small business owners from socially and economically diverse backgrounds achieve their dreams with mentorship and training. Donate here to fund their programs.
    • La Cocina helps women, immigrants and people of color grow their food businesses. Donate to them to fund the rental of commercial kitchens and business services for their members.
    • Immigrant Legal Resource Center works with and educates immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector to help build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Donate to help the ILRC and the immigrant community.
    • The Alliance for Community Development is dedicated to ​increasing access to capital and support for local, underrepresented entrepreneurs. Donate here to support their programs.
    • Playworks helps kids stay active and build valuable social and emotional skills through play. Donate now to help create a place for every child on the playground.
    • Asylum Access is making human rights a reality for refugees through their legal empowerment, policy change and global systems change programs. Donate now to help refugees and their families access safety and opportunity.
    • Legal Assistance to the Elderly offers free legal services for San Francisco’s elderly and adults with disabilities. Donate now to protect the elders in our community.

2. Give your time

With the flurry of activity happening during giving season, organizations may need physical help. Giving the gift of time is a great way to roll up your sleeves and help out while connecting with the community. It is also a meaningful experience you can do together with your family and friends.

Our quick tip: Check in with the organization first for their availabilities and COVID-19 protocols to make sure you’re able to help them in the best way possible!

  • Project Open Hand provides nutritious meals with love to the sick and vulnerable communities in Oakland and San Francisco. Volunteer with them to help prepare, package and deliver meals with love.
  • San Francisco-Marin Food Bank has been providing our community with essential groceries and nutritious food, particularly those who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Volunteer at one of their pop-up pantries, at their warehouse or to deliver groceries to homebound recipients.
  • Alameda Food Bank serves the community of Alameda with nutritious food in a compassionate and respectful manner. You can become a regular volunteer with them to help with food packing and sorting as well as client check-in, food distribution, traffic control, set-up and clean-up.

3. Give a gift that supports small business

As a small business ourselves, we’re always looking for ways to continue to support our community. This holiday season, buy small and buy local. You’re not only helping a small business owner out – but you’re also bypassing long shipping times and possible delays from the bigger retailers during this crazy season!

  • With La Cocina, you can send gift boxes full of goodies prepared by members of their community.
  • Send a warm gift from Teas With Meaning, an organic loose leaf and bottled tea blend company based in Oakland where “magic is the main ingredient.”
  • For those who love greenery and adorning your home or work space, Wild Goddess Designs creates beautiful hand-crafted succulent arrangements and wreaths.
  • X’Core Studios low and high intensity pilates and cardio workouts will get your blood flowing and calories burning for those who like to stay active.
  • With Meenal Patel Studio, you can send the joy of art, books, home goods and accessories with a touch of whimsical, colorful imagery.
  • For the jewelry lovers, check out House of Jefas fashion statements curated with a love for San Francisco.