User groups, blogs, and community forums exist because of the community. Our User Group, .NET Valley, alone has received thousands of dollars worth of software, books, food, and more over the years to attract members and thank them for coming to our events. It’s time for us to collectively do our part. Many of my colleagues including Scott Watermasysk and Steve Andrews have already issued similar requests and the response has been great so far.

It’s been extremely tough this year for many. A few have lost their jobs, a few even their homes. But much like a user group, we need to stick together and help out like a community.

So, here’s my challenge:

Pick a charity to donate to. Donate money, materials, or services. Scott had asked folks to sell stuff on eBay and donate portions of the proceeds to charity. Steve asked individuals to drop stuff off for Toys For Tots. How about helping out one morning at your local soup kitchen? Or donating your old coats or shoes (or your kids) to a charity? As a group, let’s do something. Trust me, it will make you feel good. You may not see it, but your gracious donations won’t come unnoticed. Even if December is a tough month because of the busy schedules, the purchasing of gifts and food, and other things because it’s the end of the year, maybe January will work. Not sure what kind of charity to donate to? Visit

Think you can help? Post back here or send me a direct message if you’ve like to share what you’ve done. If you don’t, that’s fine too. I’d like to make another post at the end of January to summarize what’s happened during this period.

I’m going to ask that everyone in our user group bring in a donation or donate online to Toys For Tots. I’d also recommend Feed The Children, the Jimmy V Foundation, or your local Red Cross Chapter. You may also want to check locally to see what organizations help out your community.