Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving – which falls on November 28th this year. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, started in 2012, that has continued to grow thanks to the power of social media. It kicks off the giving season after the two busiest shopping days of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, and I love the online deals of Cyber Monday even more. But Giving Tuesday is a fantastic reminder about what the holiday season is all about: Giving.
Whether you make regular donations to certain organizations or are new to charitable contributions, giving can seem like a daunting task. How do you decide which charities are worthy of your hard-earned dollars? How can you trust that an organization will do the most with your money? What charities will provide teaching opportunities for your children so they understand the importance of giving? I don’t have all the answers, but I have some recommendations based on what my family has found fulfilling.
1 – Choose a cause or causes you are especially passionate about. This could be a certain disease, children, animals, local families in need, veterans, bringing clean water to people in third world countries, etc.
2 – Choose how much money you can sacrifice, and whether you plan to break that up into multiple pieces and give to multiple organizations, or bestow the full sum to one organization you strongly believe in.
3 – Do some research. Ask your friends, family, church community, or school for ideas. Then check www.charitynavigator.org to learn more about the organization. This website gives each charity a grade, and tells you what percentage of your donation goes to marketing, the actual cause, how much the CEO makes, and more. It’s so interesting!
4 – Involve others. Include your kids in the process! Some organizations make giving an engaging family activity. You could pick out animals to gift to a family through World Vision. Or, you could pay for a child’s life-changing surgery and receive email updates through Cure.org. Involve your extended family or circle of friends. Have these conversations now so you can be ready for Giving Tuesday!
5 – One major benefit of giving on Giving Tuesday is that many corporations will match your donations to certain organizations. This makes your dollars go farther. BUT, if you miss Giving Tuesday, give on Wednesday. Or Thursday. Don’t use the date or your busy schedule as an excuse. Remember that the idea behind Giving Tuesday is an all-out effort to increase giving during the holidays.
If you still don’t know where to start, here are just a handful of my personal favorites.
You can find local families in need by contacting the local Salvation Army. Sponsor a local family through their “Adopt-A-Family” program. You will get lists of what a family needs, you purchase everything and wrap it so that the family has gifts to open, hygiene products to use, food baskets, etc. Your kids will have a blast shopping for other kids, and your entire family can be involved in preparing and wrapping the gifts.
National and International Charities
World Vision or Catholic Relief Services – You can gift a cow, goat, or chicken to a family in need across the globe. Your kids will love picking out the adorable animals! Both charities have a gift catalog that shows an array of giving options, from mosquito nets and medical supplies to seeds and clean water. World Vision also lets you purchase hand crafted gifts such as coffee or jewelry, and the proceeds go straight to the cause.
Cure.org – This organization provides life-changing surgeries to children in other countries. Once you make a donation, you get to learn about the child you sponsor and will receive email updates that you can share with your kids.
Charity Water – A great organization bringing clean water to people that need it the most across the globe. This is one of the few charities where 100% of your donation goes straight to the cause. All their other expenses are funded separately.
Everlasting Joy International – A local charity based in Green Bay, WI that helps Ethiopian families thrive.
Don’t forget to print your receipts, because donations are tax deductible.
If money is tight this holiday season, sacrifice your next birthday to give people clean water. You can go to this website now, enter your information, and Charity: Water will contact you as your birthday approaches. You will then get a fundraising page where you can ask your friends and family to donate instead of buying you unnecessary gifts.
I could go on for hours about all the amazing organizations out there, but instead, I would love to see you post your favorite charities in the comments below. Thank you for giving!