(A version of the following was originally published here in 2014. Images used with permission.)
Tomorrow--December 1, 2015--is the fourth annual #GivingTuesday, designated as the Tuesday immediately following the super-shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd Street Y, partnering with the United Nations Foundation, with a simple mission:
"#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness."#GivingTuesday is timed to fall in line with the year-end/holiday-season giving appeals launched by many nonprofits. It's the most charitable time of the year!
#GivingTuesday's website has links to locally organized giving "movements" across the USA and around the world, but if there's not one near you, don't let that stop you! All you need to do is find a cause you believe in and an organization that works to support it, and give some support to them.
Many nonprofits are now equipped to receive donations via credit card or Paypal on their websites, but they'll happily take checks in the mail as well. And it doesn't have to be big money, or even any money--all contributions are welcome and gratefully accepted. For example:
- Volunteer a few hours to a special event, or to help out every week
- Donate gently used clothing or household items for use or sale
- Contribute a new toy or book to a holiday gift drive
- When the POS terminal at the store asks if you want to add a dollar amount to your purchase to support its charity, say "yes"
For more than twelve years, I've been counting the beans at Aviva Family & Children's Services, a Los Angeles nonprofit. Our long history of providing social and therapeutic services to children, teens, and families has been generously supported by individuals, foundations, businesses, and Los Angeles County government. But there's always more we could be doing if we just had more beans to go around.
Aviva is an an official #GivingTuesday partner, and I invite you to consider us in your Giving tomorrow. But if it's not to us, give somewhere, and know you're meeting a real need. I speak as someone who has long worked within the nonprofit sector. I'm intimately familiar with what we give to our communities, and intimately aware of the costs of that giving.
Your community has many of these givers. They're healing, caring, educating, and advocating for those who turn to them for help. On #GivingTuesday, I hope you'll give something back to them and help them keep giving.