Finals are almost over, and winter break is in sight! With the end of the fall semester approaching fast, you’re probably headed home for the holidays and a lot of well-earned rest. But after you’ve slept for a solid week and spent some quality veg time, what are you planning to do with the rest of your holiday break?
The winter break is a great time to focus on making a positive change in the world; whether it be by volunteering during your free time or taking steps towards establishing your social enterprise, the break offers some great opportunities for changemaking. Read on to find some ideas on how to be a changemaker during winter break.
Do Volunteer Work
One simple way you can be a changemaker during winter break is to work as a volunteer. Donating your time is a cheap, needed way to make a difference if your holiday budget is going towards travel or gifts. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities at the holidays, so it’s a matter of picking what you want to do.
Talk to your local soup kitchen or food pantry about helping to serve, pack meals, or deliver food to those who need it. If you’re involved with a place of worship, check in with them about any charity work they may be sponsoring during the holidays. There may also be more specialized charities in your area looking for help that you can work with.
Run a Fundraiser or Drive
While you’re home for the holidays, you may consider running a fundraiser or drive. People are more willing to donate to charity during the holidays, so this can be a perfect time to raise some money for a cause. Likewise, projects like Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and more work to make the holidays special for everyone.
If you don’t need any specific items for the holidays this year, you might consider asking your loved ones to donate to a charity in your name in lieu of a gift. Sites like GoFundMe, Facebook, and others are making it easier than ever for anyone to collect donations for a cause. Or find a need in your community (coats, food during the holidays, socks, etc.) and ask people to donate needed items.
Meet with a Mentor
If you’re planning to pursue a social entrepreneurship path, the holidays can be the perfect time to take the next step on that plan. You’re not worrying about class or homework, and so you can focus on your future business. Talking to a mentor is a great way to continue down the road towards starting your social enterprise.
If there is someone you already know in your community who is a successful businessperson or changemaker, arrange to sit down with them. Ask them about how they got started, what advice they would give you about starting your business, and what they would do differently if they could. If you aren’t sure where to start, try finding a social entrepreneur in your area.
Do Market Research
While you’re making plans for your future business, this can also be the perfect time to do a little market research. Whether you’re planning on moving back to your home town to start up your enterprise or intending to go across the world, now is the time to learn about market demands. The first step to being a successful social entrepreneur is having a successful business, after all.
Research the market in the area you plan to set up your business in. If you’re in that area for the holidays, try talking to business people in similar industries. Ask what challenges they run into, what sells well, and what their customer base looks like.
Visit a Social Enterprise
While you’re out researching and meeting with mentors, you should also try to go visit a real social enterprise in person. If the mentor you meet with is a social entrepreneur, ask if you can set up a time to come tour their business or shadow them for a day. If that person is in a similar industry to the one you plan to enter, so much the better!
Make a list of questions you want to ask when you go visit the business. Take notes while you’re there, and if possible, try to arrange a time to talk with the owner if you haven’t already. The more details you can get about the day-to-day operations of their business, the better.
Sketch Out a Business Plan
If you’ve already talked to your mentor and other social entrepreneurs and done your market research, you could use your time away from school to sketch out the beginnings of a business plan. It can be hard during the semester to find time to devote to projects like this. But while classes are out, you may have a great opportunity to hash out the details on your social enterprise.
Sit down with all your research and notes and think about what you want your social enterprise to look like. There are sites that can guide you through writing the components of a business plan, so be sure to use those. Mapping out the details of your business is a big step, and you could go back to school next year with a business plan in hand.
Help Another Changemaker
Remember, being a changemaker is all about helping others, and that includes helping other changemakers. We all need a hand from time to time, and no matter where you are on your journey, you can help out a fellow.
If you already have an established business or years of volunteer experience, why not share that expertise with someone newer to the field? Offer to mentor a young changemaker, or help them connect with important players in the industry. If you aren’t as established yet, ask if there’s something you can do to help with a fundraiser or a charitable event.
Get More Ideas for Being a Changemaker During Winter Break
We know after finals week, you’ll be ready to spend some quality time with your bed, and that is definitely an important part of winter break, too. Once you’ve caught up on sleep, though, this can be a great time to make some positive change in the world. What are your plans to be a changemaker during winter break this year?
If you’re looking for more resources for changemakers, check out the rest of our site at the Sullivan Foundation. We have everything from retreats to news sources for volunteers, social entrepreneurs, and other changemakers. Check out our blog for the latest in changemaker news.