Giving Tuesday is an international movement. Founded in New York in 2012 as a response to the commercialization and consumerism, 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 $400 million on this single day—the largest single day of donations in the year.
And filling that gnawing emptiness inside is also easier with giving. Research shows us that we obtain far greater happiness by giving than receiving and that giving to charity promotes greater inner peace than buying yourself another doodad. It’s true! Here’s the science.
Not only does Giving Tuesday help nonprofits keep the doors open, it is also helping to expose a new generation to charitable giving. The largest demographic who participates in Giving Tuesday are those 18-34. Of this group, 67% who are aware of Giving Tuesday participate in some way. This is the flip of the usual demographic of nonprofit organizations: the silver-haired and long in the tooth.
Thinking about giving? Ask about whether your company has a matched giving program. Or take advantage of any matched giving program sponsored by other groups. (All donations through Patagonia’s Action Works, for example, are matched between November 29 and December 31.)
Don’t have money? Give your time. Volunteerism is the backbone of most nonprofits, and whether it is petting cats (and scooping litter) at the Humboldt Animal Rescue Team or help with the holiday food drive at Food for People, local nonprofits would love to have your help. Volunteerism is linked to good health (people who volunteer actually live longer) and improved mental health (volunteering is a good kind of antidepressant).
As the Executive Director of EPIC, I think way too much about how to wrest money from supporters. And, duh, I’d be thrilled if you donated to EPIC. 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.
If you are giving to a favorite charity this week, join our community campaign and encourage others by using the hashtag #HumboldtGives. We know it may sound corny, but the light amount of social pressure that you get when you see your friend’s Facebook post is also linked to increased giving.