This time of year, the commercialization of the holidays can be enough to make your head spin.
Endless sales and the sometimes overwhelming pressure to buy gifts for everyone in your life can turn giving into a less-than-pleasant experience. And yet, there’s a day just around the corner that offers an opportunity to get into a different sort of holiday spirit.
For the sixth year in a row, next Tuesday, November 27, is a day to give back. Giving Tuesday (or as it’s more commonly referred to #GivingTuesday) first started in 2012 as an initiative by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The day was created in response to the spike in consumerism following Thanksgiving (think Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
Taking advantage of the momentum of these global shopping holidays, #GivingTuesday marks the beginning of the charitable season, encouraging people to give to organizations, charities, and initiatives that are doing good.
Whether you’re able to donate your time or money, here are five ways to participate this #GivingTuesday.
1. Donate to your favorite nonprofit
Most of us are familiar with a nonprofit or two that does work that's in line with our values. Whether it’s an organization that supports immigrant families, the LGBTQ community, or domestic violence survivors in your hometown, there are plenty of nonprofits doing great work that rely on donations in order to survive.
If no specific organization comes to mind, you can check out the #GivingTuesday site to find nonprofits in your neighborhood, or browse a third-party databases, like MightyCause, to search for nonprofits by location and type. If transparency is a concern, check out Give.org, which produces reports about organizations and evaluates them based on accountability.
2. Volunteer your time
If you’re able to, consider volunteering your time on Tuesday. Though #GivingTuesday is primarily an online event, there are plenty of organizations that are in need of hands-on help. Rolling your sleeves up can be particularly fulfilling way to give back.
If you have an organization in mind, give them a call to see if they’re looking for volunteers on #GivingTuesday, or check out the #GivingTuesday site to find the contact information for nonprofits in your area.
3. Start your own fundraiser
If you have a Facebook account, one great way to elevate your efforts on Giving Tuesday is to start a fundraiser for your favorite nonprofit.
All you have to do is head over to Facebook and click ‘Fundraisers’ on the left-hand side of the screen under the Explore tab. From there, see options to start a fundraiser for #GivingTuesday. This year, Facebook and PayPal will be matching donations up to a total of $7 million. You can learn more about how to start a fundraiser and how your efforts will be matched on the site.
4. Share your experience on social media
If you're not financially able to give as much as you’d like this year, one thing that’s free and can be helpful is boosting #GivingTuesday posts on your social media.
Use the #GivingTuesday hashtag to write about what you’re doing, retweet and repost social media posts from nonprofits and charities — whether they’re the ones you’re financially supporting or not. Whenever possible, use your platform to give nonprofits some extra love.
5. Start a charitable giving habit
#GivingTuesday is a great way to collectively affect positive change. But, in a world that is struggling in so many ways, it’s good to remember to give back whenever possible — not just the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Many nonprofits have membership or giving packages where you can sign up to donate on a monthly basis. If you’re able, consider signing up for one of these memberships so that you can support your favorite nonprofit year-round. After all, every bit helps.