November is a month filled with notable dates, special holidays and events. As a business owner, you cannot always formally acknowledge every single occasion that pops up on the calendar. However, regardless of your industry or profession, or the size of your company and number of employees, Giving Tuesday has become a date everyone the world over should consider “celebrating.” Here’s why:
A Simple Idea
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement created in 2012 by the Manhattan 92nd Street Y. The founders selected the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – a date immediately following the highly commercialized Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday began as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good.
Since then, it has grown into an annual international movement that inspires and motivates hundreds of millions of people and businesses to donate, collaborate, volunteer, and raise awareness for people and places in need of funds, love, support, and small acts of kindness.
Designating an annual date as a time to stop, look, listen and focus on how individuals and businesses can make a difference both at home or abroad, has had a profound ripple effect across the globe, raising billions of dollars each year and clocking in countless hours of volunteer time and service.
Every Little Bit Helps
The notion of every little bit helps is one of the core messages of Giving Tuesday. Donations of money, time, talents, and skills are needed every day all over the world. Typically, contributing to a cause that has personal or special relevance is the most impactful to both the donor and the recipient. Giving can take many forms and its value is not judged by either the amount of money or time.
As an individual, there are many ways you can make a difference.
- Depending on your financial wherewithal you can choose to write a check to a specific cause, or donate a gift in honor of a friend or family member. Any amount is appreciated.
- You can volunteer your time at a food pantry, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter.
- If you have a special skill or talent and don’t have a specific place in mind where you can volunteer, research the non-profits in your area and find a match. Volunteers are always needed.
- Encourage your friends and family members to join you in whatever activity you undertake for Giving Tuesday.
Lead By Example
As a business – large or small – you have a responsibility to lead by example and demonstrate your support to the greater community. Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to provide opportunities for your employees and customers to join you in giving back through direct philanthropic initiatives.
A few ideas:
- Together with your employees, choose a non-profit to “adopt” for the day or even the year.
- Establish a “matching gift” program for the adopted non-profit.
- Set up a paid volunteer incentive program encouraging employees to volunteer at the adopted non-profit or for other community causes.
- Donate a portion of your company’s #Giving Tuesday sales to selected non-profits.
- Organize a company-wide food or goods drive.
Spread The Word
- Use your personal and business social media channels to share information and raise awareness about your favorite causes using #givingtuesday
- Share and like special and heartwarming Giving Tuesday stories to inspire others.
- Start the conversation – use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to discuss relevant topics.
- Spread the word – spread the good.
Better Safe Than Sorry
It is easy to respond emotionally to a heartfelt message of need and suddenly find yourself clicking the Donate Now button or reaching for your checkbook. But it is important to know just how much of your money is directly helping those who need it most – and not being used to fund staff salaries or agency overhead. CNBC offers some cautionary advice:
“Before giving a dime, look to see how a group stacks up at rating sites such as CharityWatch.org, CharityNavigator.org, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. Those sites assess criteria such as how transparent a nonprofit is about its finances and how much of its budget goes toward programs.
ImpactMatters, a nonprofit backed by the Gates Foundation, rates nonprofits based on their social impact — how much good a nonprofit achieves per dollar of cost. For example, at the five-star rated New York Common Pantry, a donation of $25 provides a meal to 31 people in need, according to the site.”
It is important to embrace the concept that gifts are given in the spirit of generosity – whatever the amount or form – have value and meaning. The words of Margaret Mead ring true for Giving Tuesday – and every day: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Bonus: Giving is Good For Business. Of course, there are annual tax benefits to businesses that make charitable deductions. And, according to the non-profit organization, Giving Tuesday, 85% of customers respond more favorably to businesses that support causes they care about, and 83% of Americans wish that those they did business with would support good causes.
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