Happy Tuesday, friends! Today is a special one. Today is the seventh annual #GivingTuesday, a global giving movement that has inspired people to make an impact around the world. The amazing thing about this annual date is the fact that little changes can make a monumental impact. An estimated $274 million was raised online in the United States during last year’s Giving Tuesday. Today, I’m highlighting 10 easy ways to give back today and every day.
First, let’s debunk a few myths…
Myth: My Small Donation Doesn’t Make a Difference
When you give $5 to your favorite charity, it may feel like you have no impact. I challenge you to do the math. Think about 50,000 people all making the same decision as you to give $5. That’s $250,000! That could be enough to fund housing for a women’s shelter or build a new playground in an underserved community. Now how do you feel about replacing your Starbucks today with a donation to your favorite charity?
Myth: The Charity Won’t Spend My Money in the Right Places
Giving can require a little research to make the right decision. Organizations like the Red Cross have received backlash for how their funds are dispersed, especially during national disasters like Hurricane Harvey. If you don’t feel comfortable giving to certain charities, research online to find the best resources to make an impact.
Two worthy charities with full transparency are Liberty in North Korea and Charity:Water. Liberty in North Korea provides a breakdown of what it costs to rescue a North Korean refugee and get them to safety. For example, $500 provides transportation up to 3,000 miles to help refugees flee North Korea while $3,000 funds the entire journey (including an escort to help them make the trip safely). Charity:Water states that 663 million people don’t have clean water, which is why the organization works tirelessly to raise funds to bring water to undeveloped villages. One hundred percent of donations go directly to this mission, and the organization even shares updates on where your money went and who it’s impacting!
Myth: I Have to Spend Money to Give Back
Our potential to give is more than fiscal. Making a monetary donation to a charity or cause is a quick, easy way for people to make a large impact if they have the means to. If you’re on a budget, there are still ways to make a tremendous impact without spending a dime!
10 Easy Ways to Give Back
Discover Your Passion and Donate
As I mentioned, you’ll want to establish a cause that’s important to you and research accordingly. I, personally, have a strong connection to domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, the arts, as well as organizations benefitting people living with disabilities. As a survivor of domestic violence, I’m a huge advocate Houston Area Women’s Center and have hosted a birthday fundraiser for the last four years. I also recently became involved in The Arts of Healing, a non-profit that deepens the relationships in the Houston Medical Community by producing an annual arts show featuring the physicians of the Texas Medical Center. Maybe you’ve had a family affected by cancer or a nephew with a disability. What’s a cause you feel is worth fighting for?
Clean Out Your Closet
Out with the old, in with the new purpose! Find a local shelter in your area accepting clothing. Many of these shelters also need new products like toiletries, feminine products, baby formula, and intimates. If you have denim jeans that are ready to be retired, consider bringing them to your local Madewell to be recycled in exchange for a $20 discount on a new pair.
Share Your Talents
Are you a wordsmith with a penchant for writing compelling newsletters and ads? Are you a web designer searching to use your coding skill for a cause? Taproot+ is a site that allows you to put your skills to the test for the benefit of humankind. The site helps you find pro bono opportunities available within nonprofits needing assistance with everything from marketing to legal documents. Your talents make you special for a reason, so it’s time to use them for good.
Shop Socially Conscious Brands
That’s why you’re here, right? From the Giving Keys to the Little Market, there are so many incredible brands to give back to that donate to a cause and use fairtrade practices. Not too long ago, I put together a guide to fall boots that ALL gave back in some way if you need a little inspiration!
Bring Canned Goods to Your Local Homeless Shelter
For just a few dollars, you can make an impact at a local food bank or homeless shelter. Help families in your stay healthy and fight off hunger by donating to a local beneficiary like the Houston Food Bank.
Break a Sweat
What if I told you running could change the world? The Charity Miles app, available for both Apple and Android phones, is my latest obsession. Can I also add that this is my only true motivation to get off the couch? Charity Miles maps any movement (walking, running, jogging, dancing, biking… you name it) and tracks your miles. For every mile you move, you earn money for your charity of choice. The app partners with 40+ charities including national heavy-hitters like ASPCA, American Diabetes Association and much more. Browse the charities here.
Use Your Voice
There is a LOT going on in the world and in politics. We no longer have the leisure of a slow news day. One way to get your feet wet in your community’s politics is to write or call your local representatives. 5 Calls is an incredible app that provides call scripts and helps you call your representatives with the click of a button. If you lean liberal, ResistBot is also a great tool that will text you reminders and allow you to write your senators with a few keystrokes.
Contribute to Your Neighborhood’s Little Library
It takes a village, which is why contributing to your community’s education and literacy can have a positive impact. There are 75,000 little libraries in 88 countries, so check and see if there is one near you where you can drop off a book. If there isn’t one in your area, maybe this is your chance to bring it to your neighborhood!
Be Kind Today
When I worked on Frost’s 30-day Opt for Optimism campaign, I was challenged to introduce myself to neighbors and leave kind notes on stranger’s cars. Today, I implore you to do one thing out of your comfort zone for someone else. Maybe it’s buying a stranger’s coffee or simply reaching out to the neighbor you always see in the elevator but have yet to meet. Heck, it can even be paying a compliment on someone’s good hair day! Positive energy fuels compassion.
Share Your Giving Story
Sharing your own personal passion for giving back can inspire others. When I got involved in the recent political campaign for the midterms, so many readers and friends were intrigued about canvassing and wanted to help. GivingTuesday also has a special #MyGivingStory contest, and sharing your give back story can win you up to $10,000 for your favorite cause.
There are SO many more ways you can give back, so I hope this list helps propel you in the right direction and inspires you to be innovative with your time, talents and resources.