It’s the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! First, we had Thanksgiving, and I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore. Then, Black Friday Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. I didn’t buy anything, but I did have a sale (which runs for the entire week, so you can still shop if you missed Black Friday, use code CYBERWEEK at checkout). And NOW, it is GivingTuesday!
So what is GivingTuesday? According to GivingTuesday.org: GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. GivingTuesday was born and incubated at the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City. GivingTuesday is now an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity. GivingTuesday is a movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world. GivingTuesday reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity. Our global network collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life. Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.
How Can You Participate in GivingTuesday? There are many ways that you can participate in GivingTuesday, even if you don’t have a lot of time or money. The idea is to be generous with whatever you have.
Give a Smile! Sometimes I feel like a weirdo when I do it, but I know that when I need a smile, someone usually provides one – whether it be at the grocery store, at gymnastics, or just when I’m out and about. For me, a smile from a friend or a stranger lets me know that someone is happy that I exist and that I crossed their path that day. It makes me want to pass that feeling on with a smile of my own. So, give someone a smile today! They may or may not smile back. They may ask you, “what are you smiling at?” Don’t be discouraged. Tell them, “You! Have a beautiful day!”
Give a Call! We are so busy these days (I know I am), that we forget to call people or we put it off until later. As we learned during this pandemic, for some people, later never comes. Pick a person that you love that you haven’t talked to in a long while, and give them a call, start a facetime, or send them a nice text to let them know that you are thinking about them today.
Give Your Time! This is such a tough one with everyone being so busy and trying to catch up with everything. I am just getting back to gymnastics and school in person, and I know how hard it can be to try to make time to figure out everything you missed AND learn new things on top of all that. When do we even find the time to give to something or somebody else? I look for opportunities to give my time at school. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Choose some time during the day, or seek out organizations within your school, at work, or even at church so that you maximize your time and your giving. Right now, I am a part of three volunteer organizations at school, and I only do one of them outside of school hours.
Give a Share! The #GivingTuesday hashtag is going to be trending ALL DAY. Go through the hashtag if you are on social media and choose some organizations or causes to share. Put their posts in your stories, use the hashtag, and help them reach their goals. There are some great organizations out there to support. Today, I shared a post on my Facebook Page from the family of a teen that I competed with for the Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Scholarship Competition.
Give Your Talent! What are you good at? What unique abilities or talents do you have? If you are a musician or an artist, you can perform at a benefit or donate some of your proceeds from the sale of your artwork to charity. Combine what matters to you with what you love to do and BOOM – you are doing it. My brother gives a portion of his proceeds from the sale of his Pain Journal to the Spondylitis Foundation of America. It matters to him because our grandfather and our brother are affected by Ankylosing Spondylitis. His talent is taking photos and making journals. He put together who he loves and what he loves, and just like that, he is giving.
I make videos, and I love to teach people to code. I made educational videos talking about prostate cancer prevention and treatment. My grandfather passed away from prostate cancer, so I use my talent for making videos to support research and raise awareness.
I also love teaching people to code, so I make free scratch tutorials for kids. Being good at something gives you an opportunity to share your knowledge and teach. I was going to be making the games anyway, so why not share what I know with others?
Give a Little! One of my favorite things to do with my dad is to go to get coffee (I don’t drink coffee, but I do enjoy a tea or a smoothie from the coffee spot). Depending on where we go, my drink alone can be more than three dollars. If I skip just one trip a week for a month, I can save almost twenty dollars! That’s a pretty good monthly donation to a cause that I care about.
Give a Hand! We have all seen those viral videos and ads where someone helps an older person who is struggling with their groceries or other bags. Well, it isn’t always caught on camera. I have seen it happen right outside my window. It doesn’t take much to lend a hand. Maybe someone is struggling with an excited puppy on a leash while trying to balance coffee on the handle of a stroller. You can ask them if they need help. They may not accept, but the offer matters.
Give your Stuff! I don’t have a lot of stuff that I keep around, BUT I always have books. I have a few that I keep because they mean a lot to me, and even though I really like them, I know that another kid would like to read them. In this video, I gave several of my childhood favorites to Chicago Teen Mentors to distribute to kids who would enjoy them.
Give a Compliment! I don’t know about you, but getting a compliment on my outfit or shoes or something that I have tried very hard to accomplish makes me feel great and motivates me to keep making the effort. You never know when someone you are passing in the elevator or in the hallway is on the edge of giving up. Maybe it was really hard for them to come out of the house that day and do what they had to do. Maybe they just look fly and their curls are popping – SAY THAT! They may not respond, and that’s okay. You acknowledged their gift for choosing a great outfit (or whatever was deserving of praise right then), and that is a great gift to give someone on GivingTuesday. Maybe you went into a small business that you really loved. Write them a review!
So those are eight ways that you can participate in GivingTuesday today and every day! Share this post and these ideas with someone that you think is looking for a way to give back. Want to start your own GivingTuesday campaign? Check out these free resources!