In 2009, I founded the Global Giving Circle and for a year I organized events to support underserved communities and fund creative and innovative solutions to alleviate poverty. The money we raised came from ticket sales to the events. What I discovered was that when you work in community with others, small contributions can add up and have great impact.
Sometime in early September of 2009 when I was preparing for our year-end event, I came across two statistics that shocked me. In 2009 the National Retailers Federation reported that $437,000,000,000 – yes $437 billion dollars – is spent on gifts for the holidays (this holiday season is forecast at $586.1 billion) and a survey by eBay from 2008 reported that, “of U.S. adults who receive gifts during the holidays, more than four in five (83%) receive unwanted items and almost half (46%) of those adults resell or re-gift, that is, give the unwanted gift to someone else as a gift.”
That means that $363 billion dollars was wasted on unwanted gifts in 2008! I couldn’t believe it! I started scheming up ways I could help consumers make better, less wasteful choices. I started thinking about my own family and how we had decided not to give each other gifts at the holidays anymore. There had to be others who also choose other ways to express love and appreciation in lieu of gifts. Cradle To Cradle flashed in my mind as did the website http://www.storyofstuff.com. Why not copy the Heifer International model where a gift given can “buy” a cow, sheep, a flocks of geese, that were given to people in the developing world which would enable them to feed their family (though the breeding and sale of livestock). I began to research nonprofits that were trying to make a significant impact on some of the most difficult issues. Why not encourage people to make a donation to honor those we care about and choose nonprofits focused on the causes they feel the most connected to?
The next questions was how to get New Yorkers to attend an event in December, the busiest month of the year, and compete with companies’ year end parties. Enter the Upright Citizens Brigade and ChrismaHanuKwanzakah: A Holiday Anxiety Spectatular was born.
The evening opened with an acrobat who warmed up the audience and then the Upright Citizens Brigade took the stage and performed improv skits inspired by audience members who were invited to share memories of the most awkward family holiday moments, worst gifts ever received, and other experiences that make the holidays, for some, cringe-worthy. At intermission and after the improv skits, the audience was invited to make purchases from the gift emporium I put together.
I selected 12 organizations, based on the issue their nonprofit or for-profit social enterprise, was addressing.
The event was a huge success and in 2010 we were invited to participate in FEED’s holiday emporium held at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen. In 2011 I joined forces with Diana Ayton-Shenker, the founder of Fast Forward Fund, and we gave a presentation on Social Impact Giving that was held at Green Spaces. We organized the presentation by gift categories and shared the story of each organization behind the gift we featured.
Shana Dressler is the founder of the Social Innovators Collective, an international network of emerging founders and professionals who work in the social enterprise and nonprofit sectors. An expert on ethically sourced cacao, she was recently appointed as a judge for the International Chocolate Awards as well as a judge for the Webby Awards “Start-ups for Social Good” category. You can follow her @sic_org and @shanadressler.
This originally appeared on Thirdeyemom.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston Churchill
I have always had a strong desire to give back. I acknowledge that my life on this earth is a minor blimp in time, a moment passed by the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. A piece of me has always wanted to leave a footprint behind. Make a difference and touch people’s lives.
Why do I feel so compelled to give back and spend endless hours fulfilling this desire and dream?
These beliefs and values grew over time, slowly forming, changing and molding through the years as I traveled more and begin to see the world and scratch my head in disbelief.
The first time I saw extreme poverty was when I was six years old.
I grew up in a leafy suburb, not living extravegantly but having everything a young child needed. Love, affection and a world to explore. We had a nice home with a beautiful acre of forest surrounding it. A loving family of five with a mother who stayed home to raise the kids, volunteer at school, serve a family meal each night and be there to help us, comfort us and guide us when we needed. This was my reality. A wonderful reality and a beautiful, memorable childhood.
Yet, a family trip through inner Mexico in the late 1970s opened my eyes. Opened my eyes to how good we had it back in Minnesota and how hard other people had it around the world. We drove by comfortably in our station wagon while glancing out the windows. Then we saw how people lived. In flimsy, filthy shacks along the steep mountainous road. One hard rain and it was gone. One mistep and you were hit by a car. That image has remained in the back of my mind for over 30 years and it won’t go away.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve been blessed with more than I can possibly imagine. I went to college, studied abroad, pursued a career and followed my dreams of seeing the world. I’ve been to places that I never imagined possible from the southern tip of Patagonia to the mountains of Nepal. Yet in the depths of my heart, I am constantly reminded of the inequities and injustice in life each time I travel. I can no longer turn blindly away from what I’ve seen. I’ve realized that travel is a gift and when you receive one, you must give something back in return.
Hence, I’ve dedicated my life to the gift of giving back.
I give my time…
Volunteering with Javiar at a nursing home in Costa Rica.
I give my mind…
Advocating for UN Foundation Shot@Life with my children.
I give my heart…
Volunteering with under-privileged children in Guatemala.
I give my soul…
Before going to Nepal to follow my dreams of hiking the Himalayas, I raised enough money to build a reading center as a gift in return.
I give myself…
Nothing is more important than my family. I give my love, my life and my time to them.
There could be no better thing in this world to give than to get.
Want to connect even more with the #GivingTuesday community? Check out our awesome online social community! Share, connect, earn points!
Wondering how some organizations are embracing the #GivingTuesday movement and getting involved? In this post, Sapphire Kharyzma, explains what she is doing for #GivingTuesday and how she is doing it, too.
The weather outside — will soon get frightful, but GIVING BACK…is oh, so delightful! As a Global Team of 200 & Mom Blogger for Social Good Ambassador– I often find myself floating on cloud 9! It brings a deep sense of satisfaction — whenever I am using my unique collective of quintessential talents and skill, to help bring awareness to the harsh and unbalanced “realities” — of the world we live in! My family and I, will indeed be celebrating #GivingTuesday, this November 27, 2012! So far — I’ve partnered with #GivingTuesday, United Way – as well as other invaluable nonprofits — to continue my coalition to bring social change to the forefront! But I am not alone…as my lovely triad (Jazz, age 17, Starr, age 16 & Ayden, age 21 months) will join me on the front line — as we battle injustice and poverty — worldwide!
As the many requests — continue to pour in, we continue to formulate creative campaign to help deliver our efforts to the people! My junior ambassadors are working with their high school and day care — in hopes of going from local to global! We are very excited to be partner with #GivingTuesday — even donating 20% (for the holiday season) of our income and allowance to fund causes! Our favorite charities have welcomed us with open arms, and thanks to beautiful people like Jennifer James and the amazing members of Global Team of 200 & Mom Bloggers for Social Good — we are far from alone! Since I was a little girl, I can remember my passion for helping others! Today — I am committed to living my life and career — with this goal in mind! Being a blogger/editor has allowed me to tap into many resources — that once seemed impossible before!
I make it my business, to donate clothes, money and other vital supplies — to the less fortunate! I devote my time and energy — to raising awareness and fund raising, or to even volunteer my expertise to help EMPOWER, entertain and educate! As a woman — a divine maker and shaper of life — I aspire to motive and inspire! Giving doesn’t have to have an expensive price tag attached, and personally — I view negativity as an excuse for ignorance! Giving — simply means — to DO something that might mean a little to you personally, but is PRICELESS to someone else!
I hope that you are encouraged to go the extra mile — for someone less fortunate than yourself, or even to cheer up a fellow friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker (your fellow human) — turning a faithless frown — into a hopeful smile!
Want to connect even more with the #GivingTuesday community? Check out our awesome online social community! Share, connect, earn points!
Wondering how some organizations are embracing the #GivingTuesday movement and getting involved? In this post, Matthew Towson, Senior Manager, Community Affairs and Media Relations of Discover, explains what they’re doing for #GivingTuesday and how they’re doing it, too.
1. Why did your organization decide to become a #GivingTuesday partner?
We think #GivingTuesday is a perfect way to tap into the true spirit of the holidays and kick-off the season of giving. By participating in #GivingTuesday as a founding partner, we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter by encouraging our cardmembers, fans and employees to embrace this campaign. It’s a simple – yet powerful – idea.
2. What is your organization planning for #GivingTuesday?
We’re helping our cardmembers to increase the impact of their donations on #GivingTuesday. By donating to one of the national chapters of our charitable partners with Discover card, Discover will add a 2 percent match to donations made that day. Our cardmembers will also be able to donate their cashback bonus to our charitable partners and receive a 2 percent match in return from Discover. Our charitable partners’ transaction fees will be waived for any donations made on #GivingTuesday.
We will also be launching our Employee Giving Program on #GivingTuesday to help employees give more. Our program gives a match and a bonus donation from Discover to employees who donate to their favorite charity on November 27
3. What are you doing to get your community involved in this initiative?
We’re generating buzz and excitement around the multiple #GivingTuesday initiatives we are implementing through Discover’s social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as cardmember, employee and partner communications. In this way, our full community will be engaged, informed and ready to give!
Want to connect even more with the #GivingTuesday community? Check out our awesome online social community! Share, connect, earn points!
In the two weeks since Hurricane Sandy ripped across the Caribbean and slammed into the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, we’ve all witnessed terrible destruction. But I’ve seen another picture emerge, too–as ordinary people have stood up to help those who need it most. Neighbors helping each other clean rubble out of damaged homes, restaurants handing out free meals, and businesses opening their doors to those in need of a shower or a place to charge a phone.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF has been the recipient of fantastic generosity, too. Our building was badly damaged in the hurricane, but this week we move into temporary quarters in a number of locations in New York City, thanks to the generosity of colleagues at UNICEF and other UNICEF supporters. “Now more than ever, we know that the U.S. Fund for UNICEF needs to keep its work going,” said Rick Levy, Partner and General Counsel at ICM Partners, whose company has loaned us 35 spaces for staffers. “This has been a reminder of how much the world’s children need UNICEF.”
UNICEF was created after World War II to help children living in war–ravaged areas. Although its work has grown exponentially over the past 65 years, it is still the leader when it comes to emergency and disaster relief efforts for children. Today, UNICEF serves the most-vulnerable children in developing countries–providing a global safety net when disaster strikes: Food, clean water, vaccinations, a safe, warm shelter.
With staffers on the ground all over the world, strategic transit hubs on four continents, and a 24/7 emergency operations center in New York, UNICEF provides children with the help they need, when they need it.
This holiday season, you can be a part of that safety net by making UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts part of your holiday tradition. These are truly gifts that give back–lifesaving products that are delivered directly to children most in need, including those caught in devastating natural disasters. Buy mosquito nets to protect a child from malaria, oral rehydration salts to combat diarrhea, measles and polio vaccines. All UNICEF Inspired Gifts are shipped from UNICEF’s supply warehouse to aid children in more than 150 countries.
It doesn’t take much to save a life. For example, just $28.60 provides enough measles vaccines to protect 100 children who are vulnerable to this deadly and highly contagious disease. Even better, every dollar donated for a measles vaccine through our Inspired Gifts program will be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor from now until #GivingTuesday, November 27.
As we give thanks for all the blessings in our own lives, let’s continue to help the most vulnerable among us—in our own neighborhoods and all around the world.
Caryl M. Stern is the President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She joined the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2006 as Chief Operating Officer. Previously, Caryl served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) after a ten-year career in higher education, most recently as Dean of Students at Polytechnic University in New York.
We are approaching the biggest shopping season of the year. Despite being in a recession, holiday spending is on the rise. Over a third of Americans will spend almost $800 this season on gifts, and the average American shopper will spend $107 on themselves! (statistics courtesy of Mashable)
I know my family is going to adopt the new tradition of Giving Tuesday and we are looking for more ways to give back. Why not consider funneling some of your holiday spending into gifts that give back? Here are almost two dozen ways for you to give back while gift giving.
If you need holiday gifts or cards, the UNICEF store has a wide variety of unique items. They carry non-denominational cards and fun educational toys.
At The Nest of the Sparrow Fund, you can purchase jewelry of handmade beads as well as animals stitched by hand by refugee women currently living in Kenya, women broken from war and HIV, caring for orphans in their community, but made whole together.They have a cute selection of jewelry and toys. All proceeds go first to the women in Africa who make the jewelry and then to The Sparrow Fund to support adoptive families here.
Have you heard of Plant A Fish? They empower and educate local communities through the action of “re-planting” aquatic species of plants and animals in environmentally stressed areas to make a positive impact. You can “plant a fish” as an unusual gift, especially for the recipient that loves water, fishing, boating or aquatics.
This fun and patriotic-colored bracelet will help support the Dup15Q Alliance, an organization that supports families and research for Dup15Q, a rare chromosome disorder that results in multiple disabilities.
If you still haven’t found quite what you’re looking for, visit DoGoodBuyUs, an entire website devoted to products that support charities. Groupon will also have similar promos running on their website.
Mikayla’s Voice is a wonderful little non-profit dedicated to sharing the benefits of inclusion and inclusive practices, so that the younger generations have a greater appreciation for and friendships with people with disabilities. The Mikayla’s Voice online store has very cute books and other items that helps promote this vision. There’s a book written and illustrated by third-graders, inclusion themed silly bandz and a very cute ladybug pendant with one different colored spot. “She may be different, but she’s just as beautiful as any ladybug!” What a great message!
When in doubt of what charity your gift receiver would like to help, give the gift of giving with GlobalGiving. You choose a dollar amount for a gift card, and your recipient gets to choose where they want that donation to go. You can even add Global Giving to your Amazon wish list!
Imagine being able to give the gift of employment! How cool would that be? With Benevolent, you can. Individuals with one-time needs post narratives and videos about themselves and their needs. Each of these needs has a correlating validating statement and video posted by a nonprofit professional who knows the person and his or her need. Many of the requests are job-related equipment or training, so you can potentially help someone find a job!
Water, it sounds like a silly holiday gift, doesn’t it? Yet millions of people go without safe, clean drinking water every day. Give a gift card and 100% of the proceeds will go to clean water projects.
Cathy’s Creations Cause Jewelry offers some really cute pieces of jewelry that helps bring awareness and remembrance to many causes such as SIDS, blind/visual impairments, foster parenting and Alzheimer’s just to name a few. Two of my favorites are the “Be Brave” sexual abuse awareness pendant and the “Just as I am” autism awareness pendant. And every year she helps raise funds for the Children’s Hospital of Boston.
DonorsChoose.org is always a popular choice. You can either donate directly to a project in remembrance or honor of someone, or they have cute shirts and totes that help the cause too. The best part is that you get to choose the educational project to fund!
For the oenophile in your family or circle of friends, introduce them to One Hope Wines. Half of the profits go to charity and the wines are crafted in cooperation with vintners like Robert Mondavi Jr.
Healthy Child, Healthy World is an organization dedicated to empowering parents to protect their kids from harmful chemicals. They have a gold or silver pendant that says “No one can do everything. Everyone can do something!” that makes a nice, inspiring gift for your favorite do-gooder!
Love animals? Then consider a gift to or from the ASPCA. They have items for both pets and humans, as well as symbolic gifts where you can choose the areas of greatest need.
What if I told you that you could purchase education costs including books, supplies, teaching costs and a safe school building for 18 students? You’d think I was crazy, right, you couldn’t afford a gift like that. Well, in some of the world’s poorest countries, like Afghanistan, you can purchase all of that for just $7.50 a month. Visit brac.org for more information.
If, after all of these suggestions, you still want to buy a traditional gift, there are ways to shop smarter and give back. There are websites like GoodSearch that rewards your favorite non-profit for internet searches. You can also sign up for Box Tops for Education and when you do your online shopping through them they give a percentage to a school that you choose. If you are shopping on Ebay, look for a seller that is giving a percentage to charity as that is an option on there. Many big retailers also offer special shopping days, where the customers make a $5 donation to a charity and then in return you get special discounts. Ask your favorite charity or department store if they participate. Or, ask your favorite local group if they are having a shopping night or “Mom’s night out” or similar event. These are usually held during the holiday season and they invite local artisans and crafters in to sell gifts, with a percentage going to the charity.
As you can see, there are numerous ways you can do social good while doing your holiday shopping. I hope you have a wonderful season.
Lisa Lightner lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, two sons and two dogs. In addition to working as a Special Education Advocate, she also writes two blogs. Smart Spending Spot is a frugal lifestyle blog that encourages families to adopt smart spending habits for both their money and their time. A Day in our Shoes is a resource site for parents of children with special needs to help them with the special education and IEP issues. She also is a member of the Global Team of 200, an international group of mom bloggers that uses their collective reach and power to make the world a better place for all children.
We have Thanksgiving. We have Black Friday. We have Cyber Monday. And now we have #GivingTuesday.
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 driving a national movement. And a vital element of any giving plan is a strong mobile component.
Think about it. Mobile phones are the most portable – and personal – communication devices available. People have their mobile device within arm’s reach 19 hours a day and text messages are typically read within 15 minutes. When was the last time you left the house without your cell phone? Mobile has become the hub for many people’s daily activities – including text messaging, social media activity, photo sharing, email and even the periodic “real” phone call.
At the core of it all, mobile changes the way people give, but not what they give. When people are emotionally invested in your cause, you want the ability to capitalize on their desire to give in that moment. The easiest way to do that is through text donations. Mobile technology brings the world right to your donor, so it’s a non-brainer to make mobile engagement a part of your donor’s world.
No matter where supporters are, who they are with, or what they want to donate, text provides a unified way for people to give. Launching a text campaign is an easy, effective and efficient way to fundraise. Share your #GivingTuesday mobile plans by leaving a comment on this blog post or tweeting us at @mGive!
Cassie Bair is the VP of Marketing at mGive, a Mobile Accord service. mGive is changing the way people give through our groundbreaking utilization of SMS (text) technology and is a proud supporter of #GivingTuesday. Text CASSIE to 50555 to get her mCard. Message and Data Rates May Apply.
Wondering how some organizations are embracing the #GivingTuesday movement and getting involved? In this post, Patrick Kitano, at The Breaking News Network, explains what they’re doing for #GivingTuesday and how they’re doing it, too.
#GivingTuesday is all about strengthening the community by celebrating good causes as the holiday season kicks off. As the only national media network devoted to community service, The Breaking News Network is well placed to support every local and national #GivingTuesday Partner across our 300 city network.
2. What is the Breaking News Network planning for #GivingTuesday?
As media, The Breaking News Network is creating awareness for the #GivingTuesday movement with continuous coverage of the latest news and developments around #GivingTuesday across 300 cities. In addition, The Breaking News Network will leverage the social media to retweet and post updates of #GivingTuesday partners in the cities they are located in. Our work with the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Chicago’s Beethoven Festival are two good examples of how we deliver their messages directly into their respective communities at a national and local level.
3. What are you doing to get your fans involved in this initiative?
The Breaking News Network has established a national loyal following simply by curating and delivering in real time the most interesting media and blog articles in 300 cities with no commercials. Our main mission is to give voice to the civic groups, arts organizations and good causes in all of our cities. We have over 1,000 contributors nationally whose messages we retweet as a community service, and we will add as many of the partners of #GivingTuesday to this program so they can get their word out.
In sum, we will continually broadcast breaking news about #GivingTuesday on a national level, and rebroadcast the messages of its partners at the local level. That way, we hope to not only build national awareness, but more importantly support #GivingTuesday partners’ efforts to get their communities to make contributions to great causes.
Wondering how some organizations are embracing the #GivingTuesday movement and getting involved? In this post, Thomas Duke, manager of membership and annual giving at the Tacoma Art Museum, explains what they’re doing for #GivingTuesday and how they’re doing it, too.
1. Why did Tacoma Art Museum decide to become a #GivingTuesday partner?
Tacoma Art Museum could not pass up the opportunity to be part of the inaugural year of #GivingTuesday. Our vision is to be a national model for regional museums by creating a dynamic museum that engages, inspires, and builds community through art. The Giving Tuesday movement allows us to realize that goal through our participation in this national movement with a focus on our local community. “We are thrilled to be a part of this new movement and to help put ‘giving back’ into the holiday shopping season,” said Kara Hefley, Director of Development at Tacoma Art Museum. “It’s a great chance for us all to make a real difference in the organizations that better our communities.”
2. What is Tacoma Art Museum planning for #GivingTuesday?
Tacoma Art Museum has been making “love connections” between the Puget Sound and art since 1935 as they care for their collections in order to share them with generations to come. The museum invites everyone to share in that passion on November 27 as they make history with this national call to action and strive to raise $25,000 in support of their “Forever Business.”
3. What are you doing to get your [customers/fans/members] involved in this initiative?
We have rolled out a multi-platform campaign of letters, postcards, and social media interaction encouraging our members, donors, and fans to make a meaningful gift to the museum to help support our art education, accessibility, and acquisition and preservation efforts.
This post was originally published on here on Mom It Forward.
This month, we are celebrating gratitude through our Daily Dose of Gratitude Photo Contest, showing thankfulness on Thanksgiving, and buying gifts for family and friends on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be adding one more special day to our calendar this month.
What’s #GivingTuesday? During the lead up to and during Tuesday, November 27, the collective power of charities, families, businesses, and individuals will create a moment around the holidays dedicated to giving. We all want to help make this season the biggest giving season yet. All 300+ partners are donating their time and resources to the cause. You can read more about #GivingTuesday and all of its partners and plans here.
The #GivingTuesday campaign will provide a framework for Americans to contribute to their community and help make this season the biggest giving season yet. It will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support, and help create a better world.
How can you celebrate #GivingTuesday?
We invite you to be part of this national celebration of our great tradition of generosity. #GivingTuesday will show how Americans can do much more with our wallets than just consume. Here’s what you can do to help make this initiative a success.
Help Promote #GivingTuesday on Social Media
Have a great idea on how to give back on #GivingTuesday? Follow #GivingTuesday on Twitter (@GivingTues) and use the #GivingTuesday hashtag. You can also like them on Facebook and share your #GivingTuesday idea.
Sign Up to Become a Social Media Ambassador
Are you a blogger or are you active in social media? Become a #GivingTuesday Social Media Ambassador and help make #GivingTuesday a real success! They invite you to join their online social community, which allows you to easily share #GivingTuesday content, submit your own content, and earn points! Go to their website and register to become a Social Media Ambassador http://www.givingtuesday.org/.
Host a Local Service Project in Your Community
Here are some ideas to help get you started as you plan your #GivingTuesday event. Remember, this event can be big or small. All that matters is that you are giving back and helping to spread the word about #GivingTuesday.
- Hold a neighborhood yard or bake sale and donate the proceeds to an organization in need.
- Visit a nursing home. Take some of your free time and visit a nursing home. Read a book with an elderly person, talk about topics in the news, play cards and bring a little joy into both of your lives. You will probably come out with a new friend!
- Clean up your community. Participate in a local environmental clean-up day or start your own with family and friends. Go to your local parks, beaches, or hiking trails and pick up litter.
- Give to a local food bank. You can donate a few of the canned goods you currently have in your pantry.
What are your next steps?
- Click on the “Participate” button below and fill out the form. We’ll be sure to send you a live event kit to help get you started.
- Plan a local service project — it can be big or small!
- Donate your time, services, or resources to the charity of your choice (a 501C3 or other qualifying organization) on November 24-27.
- Help generate buzz on Tuesday, November 27 using the #GivingTuesday hashtag.
Are you interested in hosting your own service project between November 24-November 27? If so, click on the button below to fill out the sign up form.
Jen Tilley is a Senior Account Executive and Project Manager at Mom It Forward, a social media community and worldwide network dedicated to enhancing the lives of women, their families, and the communities in which they live. You can find her online at How To: Simplify (her personal food blog), @HowToSimplify, and Jen Tilley Photography.