As the holidays approach, it’s easy to get caught up it the commercialization and materialism of the season. With a near constant bombardment of deals and specials, the focus of this time of year can feel a bit blurred. It’s important to remember, at the other end of the spectrum, there is gratitude.
The holiday season is as much about being grateful for all we have as it is about giving to those we love. While it’s fun to have gift exchanges and get gadgets you don’t really need, your generosity to those in need will bring you even more joy.
What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday was first observed in 2012 out of a reaction to the growing popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is a day to pause all the holiday madness and give to those in need. Giving Tuesday has become a day for non profits make their largest push for donations all year.
According to Volunteer Hub, “GivingTuesday online giving has grown 518% since its creation in 2012.” It’s become one of the most profitable days for hundreds of non profits and a great way for individuals to give back and keep the spirit of the holiday on giving.
If your non profit is hoping to solicit donations, be sure to include the well-known Giving Tuesday logo in your social media posts and donation drive branding. This will add legitimacy to your drive and attract more attention in your campaign.
Ways to participate in Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday helps raise awareness for all kinds of causes and spans all communities. If you’re looking to make an impact this year, here are a few Giving Tuesday charities where your donations would be most welcomed.
Organize a Food Drive
Nearly 14 million American households experienced food insecurity in 2020. Long summer breaks and holidays away from school can be particularly difficult for children who receive meals at school. Giving to an organization focused on fighting hunger is one of the best ways to make an impact in your community.
While you could certainly donate to local shelters and organizations, there are also several national non profits whose mission is to provide nutritious meals to those in need. Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, and No Kid Hungry are all reputable organizations working hard to end food insecurity. There are also several international organizations who help to provide meals to those in countries across the world like Action Against Hunger, Heifer International, and World Central Kitchen.
Non perishable food items are always a good choice. Choose nutritious foods that are available in bulk to provide the most help.
Donate Medical Supplies and First Aid
While the needs of the pandemic are lessening, medical supplies and first aid equipment are still items that are always in demand. Whether it’s weather-related emergencies, natural disasters, or some other crisis, medical supplies are a great way to help in all kinds of emergencies.
Organizations like the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, and Doctors Without Borders accept donations all year round and especially on Giving a Tuesday.
You could also contact your local emergency services personnel and first responders to see if they are in need of donations and make a contribution locally.
Organize a Fundraiser to Help Animal Shelters
Animal lovers can use Giving Tuesday as a chance to help our furry friends. There are about 19 million pets living in underserved communities across the United States. This means 19 million pets are not getting adequate food or care.
Non profits like The Humane Society and Best Friends work to help these pets, and other stray animals, get the medical care they need and food to survive.
Local animal shelters may accept donations like warm blankets, pet food, or toys. If you prefer not to give money, call to find out whether these types of donations are needed.
Give School Supplies
After late summer and early fall, we tend to forget that school supplies are often an ongoing need. As students continue to use paper, pens, and backpacks throughout the year, they often need to be replaced.
Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to continue to ensure all students have what they need to succeed. In addition to making a charitable donation to your local schools in need, there are also several National non profit that would gladly accept donations. Project Backpack, Kids in Need Foundation, and Share the Warmth, all focus on keeping kids well supplied so they can succeed in school.
Giving to a cause that is near and dear to your heart is an excellent way to spread your generosity — whether it’s helping the elderly, kids, animals, or the environment. There are tons of charities doing amazing work. But participating in Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to look like a formal donation or contribution. There are plenty of other smaller ways you can show your gratitude and spread kindness in your community.
• Help an elderly neighbor grocery shop or simply visit with them for an afternoon.
• Post a message of hope with sidewalk chalk or on a sign to be hung in a window.
• Pay it forward by buying a stranger a coffee, the items in their shopping cart, or a warm meal.
• Create a bag of travel sized essentials to give to homeless in your community.
• Offer to babysit for a single mother for free.
• Knit scarves to give away.
Giving Tuesday is a wonderful way to honor the spirit of the holiday season. Participating in this annual event will help remind you of all you have to give and keep the rush of the holiday season in perspective. Any donation or gift you can give will be appreciated and help fill you with joy.
If your still looking for other opportunities to give, check out the Giving Tuesday website for more inspiration because after all, kindness is contagious.