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5 Easy Ways to Celebrate #GivingTuesday

November 25, 2012

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 27) is taking on a new meaning for thousands across the country and around the world. This year we celebrate #GivingTuesday, a movement that has charities, businesses, and individuals alike excited to volunteer and give back, both online and off. Quite frankly, it’s the Super Bowl among Super Bowls for armchair advocates. It’s an excuse to motivate our friends and families online to do some good offline.

I hope you join us this year for some good old-fashion giving. In case you need some motivation, below we offer 5 ways to give back this #GivingTuesday.

Share a Meal – There is nothing more reminiscent of Thanksgiving then the act of sharing a meal among family and friends. If you are like me, that includes an extra heaping pile of mashed potatoes and gravy. But the reality is nearly 1 billion people around the world do not have enough to eat. We can change that. Consider visiting a local food bank this #GivingTuesday to donate goods or volunteer your time. If you are in the United States, you can find a local food bank using FeedingAmerica’s fantastic list. If holiday travels or the busy work day bogs you down, consider taking a moment to advocate online in support of FeedingAmerica by telling lawmakers to protect anti-hunger programs. Or if you are still catching up on Cyber Monday bargains, check out Future Fortified’s online store – a campaign of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition – to “give the gift that keeps kids growing.” 100% of their proceeds go towards improving nutrition for pregnant women, new moms and young children.

Invest in a Child – They say that our children are the fruits of our future. Well this #GivingTuesday, be the cornucopia of fruitful giving by investing your time and treasures in a child. If you can invest the time (and I assure you it’s worth it), sign up to be a child mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. If time is not your friend right now, don’t fret. There are plenty of great organizations that will accept your treasures. You can virtually sponsor a child with Save the Children for less than $1 a day. With your help, you can make lasting change in a child’s life by helping provide nutrition, healthcare, childhood development and education.

Organize an Environmental Clean-Up – Before the snow hits the ground this winter, take a moment to help tidy up your Community Park, neighborhood or river. Trust me: Mother Nature will be thankful. Band together with friends and family to pick up trash and recycle proper waste. If your home, school or community does not have a recycling program, consider starting one with these four easy steps by RecycleNow. If you’re pressed for time, consider “adopting” an endangered furry friend. From pandas to sea-turtles, tendrics to toucans, the World Wildlife Foundation allows you to adopt an animal by providing donations to help protect the species. [Note: I never knew what a tendric was before – but gosh darn it, they’re cute.]

Give Blood – Did you know that blood supply typically declines during the holiday season? In fact, every 2 seconds in the United States, someone needs a blood transfusion. Sign up online to give blood with the Red Cross today. Or go the extra mile and host your own blood drive. Representatives from the Red Cross will show you the way. Don’t forget to “check-in” on Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter when you’re at the blood bank. Your act might just serve as a reminder to friends and followers to do the same.

Donate Your Sky Miles – As always, Thanksgiving promises to be one of the busiest travel weeks in the United States. While you are stuck in traffic or in the terminal waiting for your flight, consider using your miles to make a real difference in someone’s life. With Delta’s SkyWish program and United Airlines Charity Miles Program, you can donate miles to The Salvation Army and join in supporting their worthwhile programs, such as moving personnel quickly in time of disaster, or providing travel for those in need of emergency medical care or who have social service emergencies outside of their area.

These are just a few ideas. How are YOU celebrating #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. The campaign was incubated by New York’s 92nd Street Y and developed with the support of the United Nations Foundation and hundreds of other companies and charities.

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