This post is sponsored by TIDAL and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Inspiration Indulgence possible!

10 ways to give back to your community

The older I get, I realize how important community is. When I was in college, I participated in a variety of community service initiatives and projects. To be completely honest, at the time I did many of these things merely to make friends and to boost my resume for grad school. I loved that I was helping others, but I didn’t actually realize how important community was to me until after I graduated and became a community member myself as an adult.

After I graduated college, I moved back to my small home town. I struggled adjusting and figuring out how to make my “mark.” I wasn’t the same high school girl; now, I was a young adult who had very different goals and aspirations. At first, I didn’t participate in many community functions and I rarely did any community service. It soon hit me that perhaps I was feeling out of place because I wasn’t putting myself out there like I used to. In both high school and college, I was incredibly involved with my community, and I realized that I was missing that involvement. Sure, it was nice to have the extra free time, but what was I really gaining from that?

We often don’t see how much giving back to others actually benefits ourselves. Immersing ourselves in a community builds relationships with those of all ages and helps us feel tied to something greater than us.  Once I started finding causes that I was passionate about, such as volunteering with my fiance’s fire department, I quickly began to feel like my old self again.

10 ways to give back to your community featuring Tidal's Social Wave for Change #sponsored

Today, I’m partnering with TIDAL, a global music and entertainment platform, to bring awareness to their Social Wave for Change initiative. TIDAL has partnered with Lil Wayne to promote community service among college students to encourage social activism. Lil Wayne and TIDAL are giving college students the opportunity of a lifetime by rewarding them for impactful community service. Because I love this cause and think it’s SO important to give back, I want to tell you all about how it works:

-Through February 29th, any undergraduate college student at a four-year university can participate in TIDAL’s Social Wave For Change. Students must publicly post a photo or video on TIDAL’s Facebook wall or on their Instagram of them completing any type of community service act. The caption must include #TIDALXCHANGE, their school name and tag a friend.
-A panel of judges selected by TIDAL will review all social media submissions and determine the finalists. Once the finalists are announced, the public will vote on the winner.
-Finalists will receive a silent disco event for their school. The winner will receive a Lil Wayne concert near his or her school!

In addition, all participants are eligible for a 3-month complimentary subscription to TIDAL!

10 ways to give back to your community featuring Tidal's Social Wave for Change #sponsored

This is such a great opportunity for college kids to get involved! For the rest of you young adults out there, I created a list of some other great alternatives to get involved.

1.) Volunteer as a tutor

Schools are always looking for a positive role model for their students. Check out your local schools or even community colleges to see if you could assist in any way!

2.) Organize a food drive

I used to help with food drives all of the time in high school. Is there a local food pantry in your area that could use a little help this winter? A little effort goes a long way! Set up a few drop-off bins at your work and see if you can collect some canned goods for the cause.

3.) Join a mission trip abroad

10 ways to give back to your community

There are plenty of ways that you can get involved overseas. My trip to Jamaica my sophomore year of college changed my life. You can read more about that here!

This link will help you get started on planning your volunteer journey abroad.

4.) Spend time at a nursing home

Nursing homes can always use volunteers to visit with their lonely residents. All it takes is a few hours to make someone’s day!

5.) Help out at your local animal shelter

How can you not love playing with cute puppies?! Check out your local animal shelter to see if they could use an extra helping hand.

6.) Donate blood

I don’t think people realize how life-saving blood donation is. I follow an incredible mother on Facebook who updates us daily on the condition of her son Miles, a young baby who has a rare disease and just recently had to have a liver transplant. When she was asked by the Facebook community what could be done to help her baby boy, she replied, “Please donate blood at your local center.”

7.) Participate in something unique to your community

My college, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, particpated in the Rotary Lights festival every year, a holiday light tradition that was free admission with a canned good. All proceeds went to local food pantries. Many local businesses and community organizations donate a tree to light up for the river walk, and volunteers spend thousands of hours setting the lights up. Each year in college, I helped set up the lights with my Communications Club.

10 ways to give back to your community

8.) Help raise money for a person in need

I am most compelled to volunteer for causes that benefit families I know personally. Is there a person in your community who recently went through something traumatic and needs help financially? Volunteer your time to help with the organization of a benefit to help raise money for that person in need.

9.) Participate in a charity walk

The possibilities are endless. Walk for Special Olympics, the March of Dimes for sick babies, or whatever cause interests you. Get active for a good cause!

10.) Advocate for a cause you are passionate about

The truth is, you’re not going to want to give back unless the cause pulls at your heart strings. Ask yourself- what are you truly passionate about? Is it victims of domestic violence? Is it for homeless veterans? Even bringing awareness to these issues by being a vocal advocate is such a great way to give back. Often times, we forget how powerful our voices truly are.

What is your favorite way to give back? Will you be entering TIDAL’s contest?

10 ways to give back to your community featuring Tidal's Social Wave for Change #sponsored



  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    These are so, so huge! I am the NHS sponsor at my school, and we organize lots of community service. I think that kids often don’t know how important this is, and they may not even recognize how fun it is!

    • That’s so cool! I was NHS president when I was in high school; I miss that organization so much!

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    My goal is to join a mission trip!

    • I hope you can some day (:

  • Sounds like a great opportunity for college students! I spend a lot of time fundraising for the March of Dimes, as well as the TTTS Foundation. My twins forever made me passionate about premature birth and high risk pregnancies.

    • I love that you are so passionate about those causes. Seriously so awesome.

  • Jessica Hughes

    This is such a good idea! I definitely need to give back to my community.

    • Thanks for reading, Jessica!

  • These are all such great ideas!
    Since graduating from college, I haven’t had enough time to get back into volunteering and I really miss it.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • I know the feeling! I still would love to get more into it!

  • Daria

    I love to volunteer in the community and local women’s shelter. I’m also passionate in being a stalking advocate because I’ve been a stalking victim. I’ve thought about going to visit people at the nursing home, because my grandmother was in one before she passed away. I know the importance of the elderly having visitors. Thanks for sharing!

    • Aw that’s so sweet that you see the need and you go put yourself out there! I’m sorry to hear you were a victim at one point. Very scary. I hope things continue to get better for you!! xo

  • Katy Bateman

    I grew up volunteering with my grandmother who opened a free children’s clinic, rang the bell with the Salvation Army, and started TWO food pantries. She did all of this while supporting her family as a school nurse! She instilled her love of charitable service in me but honestly, it can be hard now to find time. I joined a women’s org. that partners with 40 local charities and contributes over 10 million a year to my local city and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I’ve learned you that you make time for things that are important and certainly giving back is! Thanks for highlighting service, something that is not necessarily a hot blog topic.


    • That’s so awesome! Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman that I would love to meet. You can always make time for others. You just have to prioritize. Thanks for reading! <3

  • These are all great tips! I volunteered at a cat shelter several years ago, but need to find the time to get back into it. My husband volunteers by teaching English to adults.

    • Wow, it’s so cool that you both get involved! Love it. Thanks for reading!

  • I would love to volunteer abroad, I think it would definitely be a perspective-changing experience. There is truly no greater feeling than giving to those who can never repay you. So many people are in need, and I love seeing people proactive about helping them. Wonderful ideas!

    • It definitely is a worldview shift. You experience different cultures and socioeconomic views.

  • All great tips! I think giving back is SO important!

    • Thanks for reading, girl!

  • Mimi Rose

    I love this post. I was just thinking recently how it would be good to look into some volunteer opportunities this year, this post is just what I needed! It’s all about paying it forward. :)

    • Exactly! Glad I could help you out!

  • Great ideas, as always, Chelsea! I LOVE volunteering at animal shelters because I love helping all of the helpless animals and I love being around them since at the moment it’s not in the cards for me to have my own pet!

    • Thanks, Hannah! Aw, that’s so sweet that you do that!! I bet they love the attention (:

  • Jessie

    Great ideas! I’ve always wanted to donate blood, but imy blood’s not good enough, so I guess I’ll have to do something else. Thanks for inspiration! Xo

    • There are always other things you can do! xo

  • I love this! I especially relate to the part about donating blood, I received 3 units of blood after giving birth to my son, and wouldn’t be alive without it!

    • Wow, that’s amazing! I hope someone reads your comment who is debating about giving blood.

  • Neely

    I am a huge fan of volunteering. Andrew and I do habitat!

    • That’s so cool! What a great hobby to do together (:

  • Tiffany Austin

    These are all great ways to get involved. I think it’s so important for all students growing up to know what it’s like to do something selflessly for others without any expectation of anything in return :)

    • Yes, yes yes!! Without expecting anything in return :)

  • Lindsay Katherine

    You know I love this post, Chelsea!! I love your suggestions for ways to help in your community. I feel like many people want to or would like to give back but don’t really know how. When presented with a list like this, it is very inspiring and seems manageable. I just got hooked up with a food pantry in my neighborhood and am starting to volunteer there with Justin and my dad!

    • That’s awesome. I haven’t volunteered at a pantry since high school, but I would love to do it again. It makes me really sad when I go there. That’s why it’s so hard.

  • These are all really good ideas! Tutoring especially is a great opportunity for college students. When I was in college, I started volunteering in an ESL tutoring program for refugees and immigrants–and after that I ended up choosing teaching ESL as a career, and that’s what I do currently! I’m really glad that community development projects like that exist all over the USA and the rest of the world.

    • That is SO awesome Rachel. Good for you. I’m sure those students touched you just as much as you touched them!

  • This is so great! We all get so caught up i our own busy lives that we forget to pay it forward. Really great ideas.

    • Thank you for reading, Lezley!

  • I love your suggestions! I’m a big sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters and it has seriously changed my life. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to build and give back to our community.

    • That is so awesome. Good for you, Emma!