I have a dream that one day Giving Tuesday will eclipse Black Friday. I've shared my dream of people camping out for a cause and have revisited last year's popular Black Friday confession poem for a local newspaper. I've also (happily) discovered that others share my vision! Check out this video of families lining up to donate the $200 they saved on Black Friday to a favorite charity on Giving Tuesday.
I hope you're inspired to join the movement. Let's spread some joy and make this holiday season truly a season of giving. I'm excited to share ten ways to get involved as a family and love that I'm sharing this as part of Kids Stuff World's inspirational blog hop: A Season of Giving: 31 Days of Spreading Joy. Enjoy my "Top 10" below and then tell me what you'll be giving.
1. I'll be obvious with this first one: Just Give! Yep, pick a charity, go to their website, click donate and give. It's super simple. Select the charity together as a family and ask everyone in the family if they would like contribute some of their personal money. Many organizations have large companies or donors promising to match donations today, so you're $10, $25, $50 donation can go a lot further. This can be encouraging for children who may think their money won't make a difference. You can share this simple (and real) example of how something that starts small can grow. Today, I'm donating $42.45 to No Kid Hungry, which will be matched by Tyson, so my donation becomes $84.90 or 800+ meals for children in need. Neat, huh?
But, that's just the start. Actually, my $42.45 is also being matched by my husband and my kids who raised that much through our coffee can challenge for Hunger Action Month, which is how I arrived at that amount, so my gift is really spreading its wings for a grand total of $254.70 for No Kid Hungry all because the boys and I collected spare change for one month. Not bad, especially when I consider that this will provide almost 2,500 meals for kids in need.
2. Do something cool! I have lots of friends who run for charity. Why not decide as a family that you'll do a run for charity in 2014? It could tie in well with a "get fit and healthy" New Year's Resolution. Need some other ideas? Take the plunge, like Stacy whose jumping into an ice cold pool on Saturday to raise $100 for the Special Olympics (if you click through you can support her). Another friend is cycling from Toronto to Montreal in support of Toronto People with AIDS Foundation (click through to support). You can also play games. Freerice.com is a favorite site of students I've worked with who love to show off their skills while also earning rice to be donated to those in need and dosomething.org has loads of ways for children to get involved and give back.
3. Cook - I love cooking and baking with my sons. When I heard from a fellow "giver" that their family always bakes extra homemade bread and pasta dishes to have on hand to give to tenants, friends, or colleagues in need, I was sold. Perhaps who know a family with a loved one who is ill or someone who recently lost a job, giving them a meal or even a batch of cookies made at home with love can go a long way. For me, Giving Tuesday is about showing you care and not necessarily spending money.
4. Commit a Random Act of Kindness - Buy a stranger coffee. Give candy canes to everyone you see until you run out. Take the time to acknowledge and respond to those you encounter in your day to day actions. Encourage your child to eat lunch with someone who is sitting alone. It matters. The possibilities are endless!
5. Invite others to give too - I love the way that Pennies of Time made one of their family service projects a community engagement activity by creating posters and asking neighbors to join them in supporting Captain Hope's Kids. It worked. This allows two levels of giving: 1) giving more to Captain Hope's Kids, 2) giving others the opportunity to give. (People really do enjoy giving and helping others. It is literally proven to make people happier).
6. Swap out the Elf on the Shelf for Kindness Elves like the Imagination Tree did (you have to pop over and see how cute her elves are too!) - These elves leave notes of kind acts that children can do and encourage kids to help others and to practice kindness and generosity. I personally prefer this emphasis on acknowledging good behavior, rather than threatening to tell on kids that are bad. Celebrating your children's kindness nurtures their interest in giving to others -- and you might be surprised at their own desire and ideas for helping those in need!
7. Hang Out - Join the Google Plus Giving Tuesday Hang-Out-A-Thon happening from 9 am - 9 pm EST to share ideas and ways to give and spread joy!
8. Volunteer - Even if you can't jump up and volunteer today, contact a local non-profit in your community and see how you can get involved and help. My mom is ringing the bell for The Salvation Army this year! (There are definitely organizations that can accept families and children as volunteers, so don't be shy to ask and find ways for your kids to be involved too). Also, think about your specific talents. My husband has taken photos and video footage of community events for free.
9. Shop - If you are a shop-a-holic, that's cool too. Check out this guide of Gifts that Give Back. I personally love TOMS shoes, one of my fave gifts that gifts back, and definitely see the joy in giving (and receiving) One Hope Wine. What I love most is seeing more and more companies committed to giving back. Another spin on this? If you have a child that loves to make hand-made items or create art, work together to arrange for a sale of their hand-made goods with the proceeds (all or a %) going to help others. I've been inspired by young people in my local community doing this recently.
10. Share - Sharing and giving go hand-in-hand. Children understand this. The Giving Library's Share to Give Campaign encourages giving through sharing. You share a video on Facebook or Twitter and the organization whose video you've shared will receive a donation. Simple! Don't forget to also share about the ways you're getting involved with Giving Tuesday because it will encourage others to give. Tweet/Instagram/Facebook share an #Unselfie - it's simple. Just take a selfie that includes a sign stating why you're giving, then share, share, share!
Bonus Idea: Go Global - If you have a child interested in the world/maps/geography, head over to the Global Giving site to find a project to support that is in a country or area of the world of interest to your child.
Need more ideas? Check out last year's Ten for Giving Tuesday post where I shared inspiring blogs about teaching children to give, follow my Season of Giving Pinboard, and check out and follow along with A Season of Giving: 31 Days of Spreading Joy for family service projects, inspirational activities and simple ways to make a difference this holiday season.
Before wrapping up, here's three quick picks. I'm supporting these organizations for Giving Tuesday: No Kid Hungry (as mentioned above), The American Cancer Society in honor of a brain cancer survivor who made a difference in my world this year, and p.h. balanced films because I truly believe that media matters. I'll also be tweeting and FB sharing and #SpreadingJoy all day too!