Giving Tuesday, the international day of charitable giving, is an international movement. Founded in New York in 2012 as a response to the commercialization and consumerism of the holiday season, the event has spread worldwide. Having a single day of concentrated giving has been important to nonprofits.
Last year, American nonprofits were given an estimated $1.9 billion on this single day—the largest single day of donations in the year. Giving Tuesday is an annual tradition, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and the humble alternative to the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On this day, you are encouraged to give to the nonprofits like EPIC that you believe are making this world a better place.
On this all-important day of Giving, I wanted to share with you why I care so deeply about the work we do at EPIC and why I believe EPIC makes a difference.
In 2010, EPIC became alarmed because population surveys of Humboldt martens showed that the population of this cute coastal marten was in major decline. So EPIC got to work. We submitted a petition to list the species under the Endangered Species Act and pushed for more protections for the marten.
It took 10 years and multiple lawsuits but we were successful in finally getting new safeguards for the marten just this year. But more than just new protections, the listing process has resulted in significant investment in science and conservation planning for the species, which will hopefully put the species on the fast-track for recovery.
This year’s Giving Tuesday will be more important than ever for making sure EPIC’s work continues for critters like the marten. 2020 has been tough for the local community and many of our area’s nonprofits feel the pinch as charitable giving has taken a hit along with the economy. If you have the means, consider doubling your annual donations this year to help make up for others who can’t afford to donate this year. There are also easy ways to increase your contribution. Your employer may have a matching donation program or other incentives for you to give. Facebook is also going to match donations on Giving Tuesday if you donate through the platform.
Not only will your donation sustain the nonprofit institutions, but it will make you feel better than if you spent the money on yourself. Seriously, there is hard science to back this up. A 2006 peer-reviewed study utilized MRI imaging to see how our brains react to charitable giving. Giving triggers the reward center of the brain, resulting in reaction similar to other stimuli like food or sex, and a flush of dopamine and oxytocin released—the donor’s high! Giving is also contagious. A 2010 study found that giving has a multiplier effect. You are more likely to inspire others to give. And it doesn’t end there. The correlation extends to three degrees of separation—your behavior can influence a third person’s behavior that you’ve never even met!
We all have a choice in how we spend our hard-earned money; during this season of thanks and generosity, please give to your local nonprofit organizations because you value and benefit from their mission, and because you believe in humanity’s ability to positively impact the world. As the Executive Director of EPIC, I’d be thrilled if you donated to support our work. But I’d be happy if you gave to any local organization that shared your beliefs. The point is to give—be generous, be larger than yourself.