Today is #GivingTuesday. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 for one reason only: to inspire people to be generous. It’s evolved into a day that many nonprofits and associations rely on to meet their fundraising goals for the end of the year––this year it’s that much more important. Nonprofits and associations were, like many, hit hard by the pandemic. Giving Tuesday may be critical for these participating organizations. It’s their opportunity to receive adequate funds and support to continue their mission-driven work into the new year. If there’s a cause you’re passionate about, read on for inspiration on how to support them this year (and the positive effects giving does for your health!).
While we know it’s important to give back to our communities, it’s important to understand the impact giving of any form––not just monetary donations––can have on both your community and yourself.
Apart from doing the right thing and paying it forward, there are real psychological benefits to the individual when giving back. Giving in any form this holiday season could mean better sleep, lower stress, increased self-esteem, and improved mood––giving is in a way, a form of self-care. Self-care in any sense is crucial for all of us as we continue to live through the pandemic. Giving back to your community is equally important, given the increased stress and hardship endured this last year.
Giving is a win-win situation, one that benefits both parties involved, the giver and the receiver. It’s worth investing time, kindness, goods, and talent to benefit deserving organizations during this giving season.
1. Giving releases endorphins––it’s called a “helper’s high”.
The same kind of feeling you get after exercising you can receive after giving back. When we give, it activates parts of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating that feel-good feeling. It’s an instant mood booster to give, just like a run is for your body. So skip the run, and get to giving! Or, consider doing both at the same time.
Opportunity #1: Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run
Say yes to two servings of endorphins –– participate in a 5K to get your exercise endorphins plus support a cause with your registration fee. The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a great way to do so this holiday season. Virtually run or walk your 5K to help 75% more people with arthritis this year than ever before get the help they need. Your virtual registration fee and donations fund vital resources and programs for the millions of adults and children challenged by arthritis.
2. Giving creates social connection.
With our world shifting virtually and implementing social distancing, finding connection is more important than ever. Maslov knew what he was talking about––we human beings need a sense of belonging and socialization to survive. Studies show social connection is essential for our health, wealth, and happiness. Give your time, creative talent, and build a network of other volunteers at this year’s virtual Merry Mail Social, a community event to handcraft holiday cards for those who need a little extra joy this holiday season.
Opportunity #2: Merry Mail Social
We’re giving our time and handcrafting holiday cards from home together with attendees from all over to benefit Cards for Hospitalized Kids, Operation Gratitude, and Sunrise Senior Living. This virtual event is our way of giving our time and our creativity to do good and brighten a kid, resident, first responder or service member’s day.
3. Giving is contagious.
Once you give, it creates a positive chain reaction where others will want to do their part to give back in any way they can. Start the domino effect, no matter how big or small your giving act may be.
Opportunity #3: Random Acts of Kindness
Donate a toy with Toys for Tots. Eat local to support small businesses around the holidays. Write a handwritten holiday card to a loved one. Pay for someone’s peppermint mocha in line at a coffee shop. Participate in #VirtualVolunteertism and donate items to deployed troops from home. Donate canned food or volunteer at a local food bank. These are just some ways to give back to those this holiday season, we encourage you to get creative and think of other ways to spread kindness!
The holiday season can be stressful, but 2020 has opened our eyes to the fact it doesn’t have to be. It’s simple, giving should always be the focus of the season, and especially this year.
This year was a great year of hardship for many, and we’re doing our part to give back in more ways than one. We hope you find one opportunity to get into the holiday spirit this year––it not only will have a tremendous impact on the recipient but it will also be good for you. Keep your spirits high this holiday season and indulge in the best version of self-care out there: a little bit of giving.