What is Giving Tuesday?
Was the holiday season always so hectic? I’m sure many of us remember when Black Friday didn’t even exist, although it might have been a few decades ago. Now, we’re even familiar with Small Business Saturday, and some of you might even know about Giving Tuesday. For those of you who don’t know about it, Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday that comes after Thanksgiving, after Black Friday and after Small Business Saturday. It is a day designed for us to take some action for someone else and give back to the greater good. We’re always trying to help, but sometimes we need help with the how.
My family would be considered middle, or even upper-middle class, so we were always used to having plenty of clothes to wear. As my brother and I tried to donate many of our old clothes to a charity, we had some issues with the approaches that certain non-profits were taking. Large executive salaries, questionable budgets, an overall lack of transparency and a weak personal connection with the community drew us away from many of the bigger name charities. Who knew that it would be so hard to give something away for free and feel good about it?
While we ended up collecting bags of clothes, gathering a group of a dozen friends, taking them all onto the New York City Subway on one of the coldest winter days I can remember, and physically handing them to homeless individuals throughout the Bronx and Manhattan, we realize that opportunity may not be available to everyone. Whether it is a lack of extra clothes, the fact that you live far away from a city, or some other reason, it can sometimes seem challenging to find a good cause. Fortunately, there are actually people and organizations, everywhere, that are in need or your help.
Here are some of our reasons why we like to give and how we go about doing it. Some are very time-consuming and others are extremely easy, but all of them are rewarding. Feel free to add any of your suggestions in the comment section below; we’d love to hear about causes that are near and dear to your hearts.
1. Food Waste – We’re not going to throw real numbers at you since they’re easy enough to find, but we’re certain most of you have experienced some form of food being wasted. Whether it was throwing away leftovers from a restaurant trip, letting bread in your cupboard get so moldy that you tossed it in the trash, or one of the dozen other ways to let food go to waste, it happens all the time. The reason we care is because we’ve been to parts of the world where food is valued at a much greater level because it isn’t so readily available. Even more than that, we’ve realized that people are starving in some of the wealthiest cities in the world, right here in the United States. Resources being poorly allocated is one thing, but resources being wasted is another. When that costs people their lives, it is beyond unfortunate. One of our favorites is No Kid Hungry.
2. Animal Rights – Whether it is combating a proposed turnover on the ban of importing Elephant trophies or funding an effort to repopulate an endangered species, the animal rights (and welfare) movement goes by a lot of names and includes tons of ideas. While we may not be vegan, we certainly think that animals need champions to protect them from people who enjoy making themselves feel good by abusing their power over others. This is especially close to home when it comes to rescues that aid our most loved domestic pets, cats and dogs. We live in LA, where city shelters euthanize thousands (It’d be too sad for most of you to give you the real numbers) of puppies and kittens every year. There is so much to do to prevent this and while it might not come overnight, a much greater effort can be made. Some of our favorites include The Humane Society and Black Panther White Tiger
3. The Environment – If you’ve seen Kingsman, you might have heard the villain’s theory that essentially explained how our planet cannot handle our growing population. While this might not be entirely true, it certainly is having a hard time handling the way we are growing. Corporate greed and the wealth of the top 1% often don’t take their impact on the environment into consideration and others are suffering as a result. Whether an island is disappearing because of the rising sea level or an animal population is dying rapidly because their region is warming up too quickly, it’s obvious that something needs to be done to maintain balance in our growth. If not, the world our grandchildren’s children will live in most certainly will be less beautiful than ours. Some of our favorites include Heal the Bay and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Obviously, there are tons of human rights issues that can be addressed as well. There are populations that are treated far worse than others, and while we have seen progress over the past few decades, it has not been enough.
1. Giving Money – We’re also going to place giving goods here, because goods are money, for you. How? If you donate goods to a 501c3 non-profit organization, you can write the value of those goods off for a tax deduction, as long as you receive a receipt from the organization. Back to giving money… there are tons of different ways. You can make a one-time donation, usually with any form of payment, including credit cards. You can do it online, and we recommend you wait until the organization is having a promotion such as matching donations. You can also set up a plan where to make a monthly or annual donation, again, with your credit card. This money can really help organizations, as their budgets reflect donations, more or less, as revenue.
2. Giving Time – You might not be able to afford a “gift” in the form of money, but if you have time, you can help organizations fundraise by giving your time. Whether it is helping them place cards on cars, call past donors, send out letters to local philanthropists, or volunteer at an event, there are more options out there than you’d ever imagine. With over 8 years of experience working at non-profits between both Hungry & Fit, we’ve had volunteers help us with just about everything you can imagine. We could list all of those roles but you’d be reading for the next hour, so we’ll let you ask, if you’re curious!
3. Giving Anything – You might not have money to give or time to spare in order to raise money, but you must have the ability to at least press “Like” or “Share” on your social media. You’d be surprised how much one share can do. You never know when the right person will see the right thing at the right time. It is all chance, but your share will increase that chance, with the most minimal effort you can possibly do. The following more specific ways don’t require much time or money, but they can make a difference.
a. Amazon Smile – Did you know that there are technically “two” Amazons? If you use Amazon Smile, instead of Amazon, you can choose a charity to receive a percentage of every single one of your purchases. We chose “Kitty Bungalow” in Los Angeles, and since we do almost all of our shopping (other than groceries and some clothing) on Amazon, Kitty Bungalow receives a little bit every single week, at no expense to us. This is one of those “why not” situations.
b. Ralph’s Card – If you’re on the West Coast and shop at Ralph’s, you can go onto your account online and choose a charity to receive a percentage of every one of your purchases that is made through your Ralph’s card. You’re not charged anything extra and this also helps you, since it’ll remind you to bring your card to increase your savings. This takes five minutes and even if you don’t go to Ralph’s, there’s a really good chance your grocery store has a similar program. Again, why not? (We also chose Kitty Bungalow for this one!)
c. Rounding Up – Apps are slowly taking over the world as they provide nearly every service you can normally find in the yellow pages. Just recently, the Lyft app asked if I’d like to round up all of my rides to the next dollar, and give that change to the charity of my choice. We think this is a wonderful idea and an easy way to donate money to a cause! We hope more services start doing this.
While protecting those who have a hard time protecting or feeding themselves might be the closest causes to us, you might have other values that drive you. No matter what they might be, there’s a good chance that there are many ways for you and your family to be involved in helping others. While you might not be interested in doing it all year long, Giving Tuesday is a great chance for you to try it out. The best way to get involved is to figure out a cause that drives you, google search the options in your area and contact them immediately, letting them know why you want to help. If you need help, let us know! With our experience, we can probably help you find a way to give back, because helping others is an important way to stay hungry and fit!