Let’s take a pause from getting the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for a moment and think of how we can use this Holiday season to give back to our local communities.
My life of travel has taught me that we’re more alike than different, collaboration is better than competition, it takes a village to raise a child, and authentic joy is exchanged when we reach out a hand to those who need it.
One of the many reasons I love living in Raleigh is the spirit of generosity I’ve witnessed and the level of care people have for each other. In our conversations with many leaders, entrepreneurs, and neighbors we’ve consistently found a common belief in “a rising tide that floats all boats.”
I’m not a full Utopian to be blind to the fact this is NOT everyone, but I do feel it’s the majority, and I like to focus on goodness and positivity, as my travels have also taught me there is more good than bad in the world. (Turn off the news and I promise you’ll see it more)
Sometimes we need a little push to remind us to get our head out of our own problems and goal striving to help others!
Especially at this time of year, it’s easy to get lost in consumerism and the constant messaging we receive. But, we can control what we listen to and where we focus our attention.
And we have days like Giving Tuesday to help steer us in the right direction.
- What is Giving Tuesday?
- Ideas for Giving Tuesday
- Share kindness with your neighbors
- Gather with friends at a place that gives back
- Donate to a local cause
- Shop through Amazon Smile
- Smile & Give Compliments
- Consider Giving Blood
- Support Raleigh Giving Tuesday Campaigns
- Advocate for a cause by sharing their Giving Tuesday campaigns
- Give Back to Mother Earth
- Do the self work
- Talk about generosity and kindness
- Volunteer your time
- Show gratitude to essential workers
- Host a gathering at your house
- Start an advocacy campaign of your own
What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is simply a day to encourage people to do good. It was created in 2012 in the USA to counteract the insane spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the day directly after Cyber Monday. This year it’s Tuesday November 29, 2022.
Thanks to the power of social media and the desire to give back and do better, it has now spread across more than 70 countries and is now the second-largest giving day of the year for nonprofit organizations to fund-raise, only surpassed by December 31.
This global movement inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
And yes, we can be – and hopefully are – practicing generosity and kindness everyday, but let’s be realistic: Life can be all-consuming, and sometimes we may even forget to smile at a stranger.
We can use Giving Tuesday as an anchor to help us remember life is better when we share it and that simple acts of kindness can help expand joy in all of our lives.
Ideas for Giving Tuesday
I know the pain and anguish that comes with having too much month left at the end of the money. When you’re living through that, it is very difficult to consider donating money – sometimes you just can’t dig that deep.
And that’s okay. We are all doing the best we can from where we are with what we have. But generosity can take many different forms. Even if money is tight, we still have time, love, and kindness to give.
Even if you don’t feel like you have the energy, you do have the ability to dig deep and give a smile, a hug, or a kind word. And that is enough!
So if you need a little help, put on your favorite tunes to get into more of a joyful mood. I reckon dancing with a friend (or stranger) is one of the best gifts you can give!
IMPORTANT: If you know of any local nonprofits not mentioned in this article, please leave a comment sharing more about them, what they do, how we can help, and any Giving Tuesday campaigns they have.
Here are a few ideas for Giving Tuesday. Let us know in the comments what you are choosing to focus on today.
Share kindness with your neighbors
Here is an easy one. Start with your neighbors. Can you wheel their outdoor trash can (wheelie bin) in? Or, collect their mail while they’re out?
How about help feed their pets when they’re on vacation (thank you to our neighbors for taking care of our two kittens while we’re in D.C.) And I’m passing that on in helping my friends with their pets while they’re away!
Maybe you could go one step further and organize a book club with your neighbors or start a regular monthly meetup. People more than ever are craving connection and community. Start with your own neighbors.
Gather with friends at a place that gives back
Here’s something for you, your friends, and an establishment that gives back to the community.
Gather for lunch or coffee at A Place at the Table, shop (perhaps for holiday gifts) at local stores that support causes such as The Green Chair Project, House of Swank, The Flourish Market, Designed for Joy, and Rose & Lee Co.
You can support the Minority and Women-owned businesses in the beginning stages of their business at the pop-up shops on Martin Street created to help increase the presence, inclusion, and equity of business ownership in Downtown Raleigh. Black Dollar Market has a similar mission in downtown.
What better way to give back to your community than using your purchasing power for local good.
Donate to a local cause
Why not take some of those savings you made on the Black Friday sales and give it to a charitable organization in your area?
Imagine if all 155 million Black Friday shoppers in the US (2021) donated just a few dollars to a local nonprofit? And imagine if a tiny amount of the $30-$40 billion dollars made in sales by businesses in 2021 were funneled into solving important issues like affordable housing, living in poverty, and climate change.
You could use the sales to buy in bulk some everyday essentials for women (think deodorant, feminine hygiene, soaps, toothbrushes etc) and donate them to No Woman No Girl.
Last year on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) we had a party at our house and invited our guests to bring something to throw in the donation box for No Woman No Girl. You could do something similar in your own communities with your neighbors and friends.
Start preparing your home for a 2023 clean slate by de-cluttering what no longer serves you and is taking up valuable space. You can take many of these unused items and donate them to local organizations that can pay them forward to those who will use and love them.
- The Green Chair Project is a great local nonprofit to pass over your gently used home furnishings. Here is their wish list of needed items.
- The Food Bank of Central and East North Carolina accepts non-perishable food items.
- Coats for the Children is WRAL’s major community campaign to support families in need. You can donate gently used, clean coats, hats and gloves to outfit children for winter.
- Helping Horse is a fabulous community program that offers group-riding lessons to people with physical, mental and emotional special needs, improving coordination and self-confidence. They accept donations of new or gently used saddles, bridles and grooming tools as well as monetary donations.
Shop through Amazon Smile
Here’s an easy one while you’re snagging those Amazon Black Friday bargains. Use the Amazon Smile Browser, for your purchases. Just be sure to select your Amazon Smile Charity.
Then that charity will receive 0.5% of all of your purchases. That can add up over the Holiday Season and it doesn’t cost you any extra money. Amazon covers that cost! I have mine set to A Place at the Table in Raleigh.
Smile & Give Compliments
While we’re talking about compliments, make an effort this Giving Tuesday, and every day forth, to smile at a stranger.
If you’re feeling a little braver, ask how they are. You never know who you might meet and interesting stories you may hear. Chance encounters with strangers have been known to transform lives.
Be intentional in paying someone a compliment. Look for something in every person you engage with that you can complement them on. It’s amazing how little things can raise a person’s spirit.
And once they experience how good it feels to be complimented, they’ll be more inclined to pay it forward too!
Consider Giving Blood
Support Raleigh Giving Tuesday Campaigns
- Raleigh City Farms has a fundraising campaign to upgrade the farm’s electrical system. IMPORTANT: If you wait and donate on Dec 3rd through their Facebook fundraising campaign, Facebook will match donations!!
- The SPCA of Wake County has a Giving Tuesday campaign where they’ll match all gifts up to $50,000. As we adopted our two beautiful kittens, Ivy and Mavis, from here, we’re proud supporters of everything they do for our animals. Why not adopt an animal while here?
- Designed for Joy have just hit a huge milestone of 100 women hired! One-time or monthly donations will help them hit their goal of their next 100! They are welcoming anyone who wants to visit their workshop for a tour on Giving Tuesday.
- Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is reaching for a $105,000 goal to help feed, teach, grow, and cultivate an end to hunger in our community.
- Haven House operates 11 programs that help more than 1,200 youth in need each year overcome their challenges and find a path to success. They have a variety of Holiday programs you can contribute to.
Advocate for a cause by sharing their Giving Tuesday campaigns
As you can see, I shared the above Giving Tuesday campaigns in this post. You can be an advocate for these causes by sharing as well. Tap into the power of your social connections by letting them know! You can use the hashtag #GivingTuesday
And you can share any we have missed in this article down at the bottom in the comments section.
Give Back to Mother Earth
Don’t forget she who sustains all. Choose at least one new sustainable action you can implement moving forward into 2023 and beyond. Here is a list with 27 easy ideas.
Yes. All the small things do add up. We personally use Compost Now. It’s the service for those who don’t want to or can’t compost themselves.
Once you register, the company drops off composting bins to you. You fill them up and every week they pick them back up and turn your food scraps into nourishing soil!
If you want, they can bring you back that soil to use in your own gardens, or you can donate to be used somewhere else. We donate ours to Raleigh City Farm. Register here to get 2 free weeks.
As we travel a lot, we make monthly contributions to Offset Earth, who plant trees to help offset your carbon footprint.
Keep talking to your local representatives so they can implement better public transport to help us all rely less on cars! And of course, you should hug trees daily.
Do the self work
Possibly the easiest, yet most hardest, and the most overlooked, is spending time each day to work on yourself. I believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The more we work on healing our own past traumas and learn to live in the present with hearts full of joy and wonder, the more we can give back to the world and create positive changes.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
Talk about generosity and kindness
Let’s drown the Constant Negative News from our media channels and change the narrative. There is so much good in the world, and many people doing kind things.
We all saw how Humans of New York became a phenomenon on Facebook. People really love hearing good news stories. So share them.
Who in your community has acted with generosity and kindness lately? Share their story on your social channels. Ask your friends and connections to share a story of their own.
Nextdoor is a great place for this as it’s so community focused and you can quickly help people in your neighborhood see how wonderful their neighbors are.
The Nextdoor Community was so helpful with their tips and insights when we adopted Mavis our kitten. So much so that they helped me understand how much better cats do when they are in pairs, so I returned to the SPCA to adopt Ivy, her sister. We love our kittens so much and are so so grateful we went back and got Ivy. That’s real JOY!
TRY THIS: Go on a media fast for a day, or better yet, a week. Notice how you begin to see your world differently. I started my media fast about a decade ago. It transformed my life. I only ever look at it if something important is happening, but generally someone will tell me what’s going on. My life feels so much better when the news is not turned on. OR, if that’s too difficult, then make an intention for every bad news story you hear, share one good thing to balance out the energy.
Volunteer your time
All of the organizations mentioned in this post have volunteer opportunities. This is a great time of the year to use a few of your holiday free time hours to help a local nonprofit bring joy to others.
As mentioned in our Christmas bucket list post last year, the girls and I helped to sort and pack Christmas presents for those in need with the Nog Run Club through the Wake County Holiday Cheer Program.
Think about causes important to you, and what particular skills you have. Can you mentor a young professional or business start up? Can you be a sister to a young lady in need? Do you have particular business or leadership skills?
I volunteer on the marketing and communications team for Designed for Joy, using the skills I’ve learned form 12 years of blogging and social media.
Show gratitude to essential workers
I love how Kenneth, our postman, delivers our packages to our front door with a bright smile and a wave. As the front door is near my home office, I see him coming and make sure to go out and collect the packages and ask him how he is and give him a big thank you.
It’s such a simple thing, but it brings a spark of joy to both of us.
Think of the essential workers who are helping to make your life easier everyday. Express your gratitude in person, or leave a note of thanks.
The pandemic showed us how important they are to all of our lives and how much they are willing to risk to help their community.
Thank a first responder if you walk past them, drop off some coffee or doughnuts to them even, help brighten a hospital with flowers, or a box of chocolates.
Host a gathering at your house
I know you may feel maxed out with your capacity to host or attend another gathering. But, if it’s in your wheelhouse, then now is a good time to do it.
The Holidays can be a lonely time for many, especially if it brings up difficult memories and emotions, or you’re an orphan – like we are. (By that I mean, living in an area where you have no family.)
I’ve been reading a lot lately about loneliness that many people are currently facing silently.
Reaching out to form friendships can be very difficult, especially the older you get. We know how tough it is as we lived as nomads for 24 years. We had to really get out of our comfort zones to form connections with strangers so we wouldn’t feel so lonely.
It’s one reason I love hosting gatherings and bringing people together, in what I hope is a relaxed and judgment free zone.
I hope helps others feel a little less alone and it gives them a chance to form new friends and fun memories.
Lesson the load by making it a pot luck and bring your own party! You could make it a themed party, a fire pit gathering, or choose something fun like a Murder Mystery party, card game night, board game parties – it can be anything fun and easy.
Start an advocacy campaign of your own
I‘m sure this is a challenging one and I have no idea on how you would go about this, but all great things start with an idea to solve a problem and a desire for a better world.
What really irritates you about society? How could you create something that brings awareness to that? What major challenges have you overcome that you could help others with?
Do the research to see what others have done.
I love the Holt Road Christmas lights story in Apex. He uses his wealth and privileged position to create a magical light show at his house every year with the intention to use that to bring awareness to other important issues.
At the moment it’s the Ukrainian crisis, and his humanitarian efforts are helping to relocate and welcome many refugees to our community.
We all hold so much power within us to do acts of good. There is no act of giving that is too small.
How will you choose to use this power for Giving Tuesday and all the days from now on?
Comment: What ideas do you have for Giving Tuesday? Share in the comments, including any other nonprofits or campaigns you know of!