Introduction and Background for #GivingTuesday
This post will be longer than most as I am writing about my passion and my calling. Growing up, I just knew that I was going into politics. However, after bouncing around in the field when I was younger, I started to feel like I was losing a part of my soul. So, I turned to the world of non-profits and have not looked back since. A couple years ago, when #givingtuesday was started, I had one of those moments when I was like, “why didn’t I come up with that??”
I feel like sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget the meaning of the season, and honestly of life. I do not believe that we are here in this world to do the most we can for ourselves, but the most we can for others.
#GivingTuesday is a day during this hectic season of holiday parties, wishlist making, presents buying, etc to stop and focus on others who are not as blessed. Below, I walk you through how you can share some of your bounty with those less fortunate. But don’t worry, the first example combines gift buying with bounty sharing.
Use Amazon Smile on #givingtuesday and Throughout the Year
I am not sure why Amazon does not make their Smile program more well-known. Basically, your favorite organization partners with Amazon, you use a special site to make your purchases, Amazon gives .5% of your purchase to the organization at no cost to you. Win-Win-Win. Some people are opposed to Amazon for moral reasons, but if you are not, this is a frictionless way to give back on a purchase you would have made anyway.
Buy One Give One
I am so pleased with the recent proliferation of companies that have made giving back a core part of their operations. Whether you love Tom’s Shoes or Warby Parker for glasses and sunglasses, you can feel great about your impact as you make your purchase on #givingtuesday. A new favorite of ours is ThriveMarket.com, it is like Whole Foods, Amazon, and Costco had a baby. You pay a low membership and buy good and real food at up to 30% off. Your membership also allows Thrive to offer a free membership to a family in need. Check them out here.
Party for a Purpose
Given that I am a fundraiser by day, it might sound self-serving, but I encourage you to “party with a purpose”. Search online for organizations that are having winter galas. Many of them have affordable ticket prices and it may give you an opportunity to finally bust out that tux or buy a gown. Or look into joining a Young Donors Council. Many organizations like art museums and the United Way have them as a way for young professionals to network as they give back. (They also throw some of the best parties!)
Of course, the most obvious way to share in your bounty is by giving money. If you want to find organizations participating in #givingtuesday, check out the official website. Or you can give to your favorite organization directly. Can’t think of one at the moment? Keanna suggests the United Way. The money immediately impacts your local area and they receive very high marks from non-profit watchdog groups.
Now is the time for you to check with HR to see if your company will match your donation. If so, you might want to grab any relevant forms while you are down there. Please make sure you do this step. I cannot tell you how much support we lose in my day job because people cannot be bothered to fill out the matching gift form.
I live and work in Brooklyn, and am constantly amazed at the good works done by the Brooklyn Community Foundation. This year, they have teamed up with some companies and civic leaders to match gifts to certain organizations through their Spark Prize. I’m really pleased to say that one of those organizations, United Community Center, is one that I am on the Fundraising Committee for. As such, I am going to be shameless and include a video about a day in the life of the organization.
If you live in or love Brooklyn, you can find out other organizations that are a part of Brooklyn Gives here.
Not to be political, but as with any election, millions of people woke up to find out their candidate of choice lost. Instead of being disheartened, use these emotions to fight even harder for the causes that you believe in – from the environment to social justice. Use your platforms for good by sharing and amplifying messages of positive change. Find out about more ways to give your voice on #givingtuesday (and every day after) here.
Here I saved my favorite for last. I have never worked with an organization who was burdened with too many volunteers. Most people think of volunteering as working the soup kitchen line, but there are so many more opportunities. If you are an accountant, maybe you can volunteer to do some IRS forms. Love working with people, then serve on a fundraising committee. The sky is the limit on your ways to give back with service on #givingtuesday.
I would love to hear your giving back stories or about organizations you support! Please share in the comments. Also, please tag your pictures of you giving back with #PrettySimpleGiving on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, even Google+ and we will feature you on our social media feeds.
Keepin’ it Pretty & Simple,
P.S. – If you are looking for more inspiration, check out our other 2016 Gift Guides:
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