This is where my heart is. I recently learned about #GivingTuesday™ and love their mission: To create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year we support what we hope is an annual tradition, #GivingTuesday™, the giving season’s opening day.
On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.
It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.
And together we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter.
We started a “giving back” tradition in our family when our kids started receiving an allowance. Every December they empty out their piggy bank and divide up the money equally into 3 equal categories – spend/save/share. They choose how to “share” their money. Over the years they have supported different local non-profits they love along with the MS society helping to fund research.
Read below a list of Big Ideas for Families from Beth Teitelman, 92Y’s Director of Scholarship Services, and Fretta Reitzes, Director of 92Y’s Wonderplay Initiative and Goldman Center for Youth & Family. Beth and Fretta are the co-authors of Wonderplay and Wonderplay, Too!
- Honor the people in your community who keep everyone safe and healthy. Prepare a meal and deliver it to their place of work. Keep it simple, healthy and tasty. Include hand made cards, placemats, and thank you notes so that everyone in the family gets to contributes something. Deliver the meal together as a family. It is especially meaningful to share this moment together.
- Have a family conversation about your favorite foods and the healthy foods you having been trying to eat. Take some of those foods from your cabinets (non perishable) and bring them to your local food pantry.
- As a family, empty your pockets and your piggy banks once every month! Collect 10% (or whatever percent you decide) of the money, and decide together where you want that money to go in your community.
- Home Treasure Hunt! Look in your closets at home …kitchen tools, dishes, towels and sheets, toys, books, school supplies. Collect what is not being used, what hasn’t been used in a long time, and the extras you have, and donate to a program that sets up families in new homes.
- Keep your family’s commitment to giving alive throughout the year! As a family, take out a calendar and mark four days on the calendar (one in each season works well) that are not connected to traditional holidays. Donate food to your local food pantry on those days. Most places are flooded with donations of gifts and food around the holidays. It’s the other times in the year that are more challenging.
- “Change of Season” – At the beginning of each new season, think of one specific item that is needed. For instance, gloves and hats for winter, socks for fall, T-shirts for summer, etc. Do a collection in your neighborhood, building, or school for just that one item and donate. The younger children enjoy counting up the number of items that have been collected.
- Give up a meal as a family and donate the money you would have spent to your favorite charity.
- Hold a neighborhood yard or bake sale and donate proceeds to an organization in need.
- Talk as a family about causes that are important to you, perhaps one that has had an impact on your family. Research to find a walk, bike ride, or run supporting that cause and join in as a team. Get your family, friends, and neighbors to support you. Set a goal and raise it for your cause.
- For an entire week or two, everyone in the family skips the “extras” Take the money you would have spent on after school treats, a special ice cream, or coffees from your favorite vendor, and collect it all in a jar. Watch it mount and donate to your local food pantry to help others get the essentials foods they need.
- Matching Funds- two variations! For the weeks between Thanksgiving and the holidays, save a selection of the end of the year contribution requests arriving in the mail. Each person in the family chooses one cause that is important to them, and the other members make a joint contribution to that cause as a holiday gift. Another way to do this is to have each child chooses a cause, designate a personal contribution from allowance or birthday money, and parents and extended family match the child’s contribution. Lots of important thinking and talking involved in choosing both causes from the many solicitations that arrive, deciding how much to contribute, and learning how the non profit world functions.