DISCLOSURE: I have no official relationship or association with #GivingTuesday 2014. I will not be compensated, or probably even recognized, for this post. However, I have worked with charities and their money for over two decades. From that perspective, I wanted to write about this today, in the spirit of the day.
I work with words online, but in my offline life, my job involves working with numbers. I’m one of those “bean counters” in the Accounting Office getting in the way of your creative ideas because there’s not enough money to do them. I have attempted to compensate for the dry soullessness of my profession by using my powers for good–that is, I’ve spent most of my career working for organizations that do good. I count beans in the nonprofit sector, where there are rarely enough beans to go around.
Today is the third 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:
“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving.”
#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”
- Drop a few dollars in the kettle when you leave the store
For nearly 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.
This post isn’t intended as a specific appeal for my nonprofit–I don’t think that would be in the spirit of #GivingTuesday. (However, if you’d like to give to Aviva, an official #GivingTuesday partner, the above links will help you do just that). My intent here is to 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.
Give a shout-out (and more) about your giving: #GivingTuesday Social Media Toolkit