Following the infamous shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday, a global day of charity fueled by the power of social media to kick off the season of giving. Many of us focus on end-of-year donations during the holidays, with gifts that support education, healthcare, kids, hunger initiatives, disaster relief, animals, churches, and more.
Here, we’ve compiled some new ideas to inspire your giving based on your passions, during the holidays or any time. Because philanthropy is a year-round endeavor.
There is a seemingly endless number of charitable causes to support. And while it can be difficult to choose from all of the options, the good news is you should be able to find something very close to your heart. Just make sure to do your homework and check out the charity online before making a donation.
- For those who love to do downward dog: Give Back Yoga teaches people such as veterans, cancer patients, and inmates the benefits of yoga, including mindfulness, non-violence, and stress relief.
- If you’re crafty: Nest helps artisans around the world build businesses from their craft in order to empower women, alleviate poverty, promote peace, and transform local communities.
- Your “fur babies” come first: In addition to supporting your local animal shelter or humane society, you can help animals and their owners in times of crisis, such as natural disaster or economic hardship, through RedRover.
Gift of Time
Being charitable doesn’t have to involve writing a check or swiping a card. Giving the gift of your time is equally impactful, plus it connects you more directly with the causes you care about.
- If you’re social: Many nursing home residents don’t receive visitors, which can make the holidays a particularly lonely time. Contact some local nursing homes to find out about visiting hours, and get ready to brighten someone’s day. Even better: Bring kids and pets for added smiles.
- You enjoy a furry snuggle: Animal shelters are usually staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Go as a family, or get a neighborhood or school group together to take care of pets who are waiting for homes.
- You have a military background: Send holiday cards to military members through a local American Red Cross chapter that participates in the Holidays for Heroes program. Handmade cards are especially meaningful.
Give It Away
Many items you no longer use can benefit others, especially during the holidays. A quick closet or pantry raid can produce welcome donations for families in need.
- If you live in a cold climate: Coats, hats, and mittens that no longer fit (but are still in good shape) can be donated to winter clothing drives hosted by local churches, schools, and other organizations. Check to see if there is a “Share the Warmth” drive in your area.
- You have grown kids: They don’t play with their stuffed animals, dolls, or action figures anymore, so give gently used toys to kids who will enjoy them. There are usually drop-off areas in most communities during the holidays.
- You can bake (or not): Show military troops how much people back home appreciate and care about them as a member of the Angel Bakers Team, part of the Soldiers’ Angels volunteers. Whip up cookies, brownies, cakes, and other delicious treats or, if you prefer, fill care packages with store-bought goodies and healthy snacks.
Whatever your holiday giving entails this season, be sure to involve kids so they learn early the importance of helping others in need.