Giving Tuesday: Making the Holiday Season More Heartfelt
By Leah Kackley
The turkey induced naps are barely finished before the infamous Black Friday begins. These days, Black Friday often begins late on Thanksgiving Day. And, good or bad, it’s definitely the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and can be of huge fiscal importance to stores both local and national. Snapping at the heels of Friday comes Cyber Monday where online deals are everywhere and pajama shoppers reign supreme. Now, no one here is about to pass judgment on how families choose to spend their holiday budgets. Like this columnist’s kids get told all the time, “you do you”.
But what if families choose to put aside a percentage of what they would have spent on gifts and instead make out a charity wish list. And then they could actively participate in the growing movement called Giving Tuesday. Wow – what an impact could be made!
Giving Tuesday is entering its 7th year of participation and lives on the day following Cyber Monday. It’s a day that harnesses the collective power of generosity, channeled by social media, intended to increase the resources of those non-profit organizations whose primary purpose is to improve lives. Financial donations are the lifeblood of these organizations. So much of their time has to be spent fundraising, so having a day where the world focuses on supporting them is needful and beautiful.
There are more ways, though, to support non-profits doing good work than by just giving money. While that’s crucial, a lot of these groups can also use the donation of time, expertise, and positive social media attention. A family may not have an extra $500 to give to charity, but they might have a trunk load of clothes to pass down to an organization like Gateway Rescue Mission. Or they might be able to donate web design or photography services. Maybe their donation is more hands-on, and they commit to volunteering time during the coming year to help tutor kids. Giving of talents is often a widely overlooked way of helping those that help others.
Narrowing down the choices of how to donate time and resources is probably the hardest part of this awesome endeavor. Start by listing your three “most important” areas of concern. Then, think of organizations who are doing good things to improve communities through their work. Health? Ideas include research organizations, disease support, blood donation, and litter cleanup. Animals? Think rescue shelters or the local zoo. Community support? Consider food banks, homeless shelters, foster family and adoption support, and the fine and performing arts. Giving to national organizations like MetaVivor is truly important. But do also try to search out smaller, local organizations that will be directly impacting the community where you work and live. Kiri O’Gwynn is the Executive Director of Kid Logistics, a charity dedicated to helping Mississippi children with Cystic Fibrosis lead fuller lives by helping their families with educational and activity expenses. She says, “Giving Tuesday has made it possible for a small charity like ours to reach out to the giving community and get noticed. People make a point of donating that time of year, and the Giving Tuesday campaign has allowed us to participate and be recipients of that generosity.”
Start now getting a list together and come November 27, you’ll be first in line to sign up to volunteer, press send on that online donation, and drop off that load of non-perishable food items. Not only will your time and money make a world of difference to those who do good, but you will benefit from a lighter heart and a fuller holiday season. Where you put the treasure of your time and money is what you will hold most important in your life. The holidays get brighter when love abounds!
Leah Kackley lives and works in the Rez/Fannin area with her husband Jason and their three kids. Giving Tuesday is a day she loves because while her intentions are good, she needs help to focus on those intentions during such a hectic time of year. For more information and tons of ideas, go see www.GivingTuesday.org.