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How to fit Giving Tuesday into your budget

For those of you that don’t know the history, Giving Tuesday is in its sixth year of existence and was started by folks at the 92nd Street Y in New York and the United Nations Foundation to bring people together and celebrate generosity and the giving tradition in America. Situated just after Thanksgiving and two of the year’s biggest “shopping holidays”, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday acts as a jump start to the holiday giving season for non-profits and donors alike.

We now have this day each year that we can get all excited about - there is a lot of hype on social media and, of course, we all want to contribute and feel good about joining in on this philanthropic fun. But what about those who are tapped out financially at this time of year? Do you give all year long and another donation just isn’t in the budget? But you still want to participate and make an impact!

I thought it might be useful for some folks if we think outside the box a bit and get creative about what it means to give back on Giving Tuesday. I came up with an initial list of some less traditional ways to engage and make a difference (with a few links to get you started).

Today or any time during the holiday season:

  • Sign up to be a Salvation Army Bell Ringer

  • Find an organization to volunteer with AFTER the holidays and commit to a date (most non-profits are flooded with volunteers during the holidays but really need help when that warm, fuzzy holiday feeling goes away, like February and March!)

  • Donate new, unused pantry items, winter weather accessories, hygiene supplies, diapers, baby wipes and feminine products that you might have at home to shelters and group homes (think travel size shampoos and body washes you might have gotten in a hotel)

  • Give blood – there is always a need

  • Bring old towels and blankets you no longer use to a nearby animal shelter

  • Get a haircut and donate your ponytail to an organization that creates hair prosthetics for people suffering from hair loss

  • Volunteer to read to or visit elderly in a nursing home or tutor and read with students in a nearby library

  • Pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line at Starbucks (maybe it will inspire them to give back)

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