The reality of Giving Tuesday: An overwhelming day on which I cringe as my email inbox fills up with monetary requests from every organization I’ve ever driven past, heard of, or clicked on.
Created four years ago, Giving Tuesday is supposed assuage the mad consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a truly positive step in a self-centered world. But I can’t get rectify the theory of the day with its reality. In 2012, I gleefully whipped out my bank card and pledged tiny amounts to all my favorite non-profit organizations. 2015-me just hopes I won’t have to hit “delete” too many times.
Like so many other great things, this chance to balance capitalism against altruism has fallen to the wayside. When I realized today is Giving Tuesday, I thought, “What? Not again.”
I’m now brainstorming ways to bring the spirit back to this (admittedly made-up) holiday. Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to read every single email or give to every single Santa with a bell. GivingTuesday, like many other opportunities in life, should be about meeting you where you live. Here’s how I’m going to stretch my boundaries and get out of the premature holiday slump.
This year, I pledge to:
- Remember the people. Every one of those solicitation emails is carefully drafted by some sweet worker who is charged with raising X amount of money by year-end. Beyond that, every request represents a person (or creature) truly in need. Just because we are overwhelmed by the requests doesn’t mean those people (or animals!) need us any less.
- Give myself a break. Even though I really, really want to, I can’t help every organization on my “Nice” list. Seeing the quantity of need sometimes overwhelms me and I shut down altogether. This year I’m giving myself permission to give as much as I have, period. And I won’t let myself feel guilty about the rest.
- Spread the word. By acting as an ambassador for my causes, I amplify their signal and increase their message and (hopefully) their donations. I can use social media, in-person communication, or even leverage my company’s corporate giving program. Yes!
- Act locally. Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to be just for contributions. I’m reclaiming it for acts of kindness, too. I’ll bring in my elderly neighbor’s trashcan or deliver snacks to the teachers at school. Maybe I’ll stop by and stuff envelopes for a non-profit I love, or make calls on behalf of another. After all, giving time “counts” just as much as money.
What would you add to my list? How can I keep from becoming a Giving Tuesday Scrooge? Respond in the comments or on Facebook.