Give Your Favorite Charity Love This #GivingTuesday

By Laine Himmelmann

Laine Himmelman
Laine Himmelman

It’s common knowledge in the world of dating that one night stands pale in comparison to the fulfillment that comes from a committed, long-term relationship.  (When it comes to matters of the heart, the goal is obviously commitment not clandestine encounters.)

So why is it that we so often take such a different outlook when it comes to another matter of the heart – charitable giving?

This Tuesday, November 29th marks the 5th annual #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday and was designed to combat consumerism by inspiring people to donate through impactful charities and causes they support.  

#GivingTuesday was designed to not only encourage charitable giving but officially launch the 5-week holiday giving season when 30% of all charitable donations are made in the US.

I feel that it should go without saying that everyone should be taking part in #GivingTuesday and/or contributing back to the world in some capacity this holiday season. Whether it’s animals or children or yoga or changing lives through housing, if you can’t find a cause you’re passionate about that’s worth donating a night’s worth of boozing to – it might be time to re-evaluate (so if you haven’t made a contribution this calendar year – there’s no time like the present!)  

But rather than try to sell you on why you should donate to help support the incredible work that goes on in our local community (which I feel is a given),  I would challenge you, NOT to make a donation this #GivingTuesday, but rather make a COMMITMENT.

(After all, one time donations are great, but you wouldn’t want to hit and quit it with your favorite tinder swipe – why would you want to with your favorite charity?)

Here’s why I would ask you to consider giving your favorite charity more than just a one-night stand this #GivingTuesday.

Getting individuals to make a commitment, rather than a one-time donation is actually the real goal of events like #GivingTuesday and Big Day of Giving. Days like #GivingTuesday and Big Day of Giving (the large scale local 24-hour giving event held every May) were actually made to be points of entry for recurring donations- not just one-day, one donation giving events.

Jeannie Howell, Community Impact Officer for the Sacramento Regional Community Foundation (the organization responsible for our local Big Day of Giving Event) said, “Big Day of Giving is a fundraising event that aims to expand individual giving in our region and to build year-round capacity for our nonprofit community.  Our messaging has always been that Big Day of Giving is much, much more than just a day.”

Making a commitment to a nonprofit doesn’t have to mean a lot of money, but it will mean greater impact and sustainability for a cause you care about.  

As Kate Towson, Director of Development at Women’s Empowerment, recently said, “There is no homeless season.” and as nonprofits run 52 weeks out of the year (not just the 5 weeks when 30% of all giving happens), making a commitment to your nonprofit(s) of choice, regardless of the amount, will mean greater impact and stability of services for the 501(c)3 you care about.  

Though the word “donor” can be intimidating, conjuring up images of Bill and Melinda Gates and heavy hitter political elitists, donors come in all shapes and sizes and you would be surprised how much even a contributing just $10 from each paycheck can add up to make a big impact for a nonprofit. (There’s a reason so many nonprofits give the “1 latte a week” analogy when talking about donation amounts and impact)

Being a “donor” doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact with most nonprofit recurring donation programs, whether you go through United Way or a workplace giving program to have a donation taken straight from your paycheck (pre-taxed!) or you sign-up for a recurring online donation through a nonprofit’s website, chances are you won’t even notice it’s gone.

Take for instance the Bohdi Tribe at the Yoga Seed Collective – their recurring monthly donor program, which funds community outreach programs and brings accessible yoga to Sacramento, has giving levels starting at $15 a month (less than you pay for the large bag of Pete’s coffee at Costco.)  

At Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento, recurring donations can be set up online for any amount starting as low as $1.    

When you donate monthly, chances are your wallet won’t even notice – but the nonprofit you’re supporting sure will.

I recently asked one of our monthly donors at Habitat why he and his wife opted to make a recurring monthly donation rather than just donate once a year.  He replied that by giving smaller amounts over the course of the year rather than one donation all at once, he and his wife were able to not only make sure their wallet doesn’t take a hit but actually give MORE and feel more impactful.

It’s the same reason I personally donate monthly to my various charities of choice (Habitat included of course).  I wouldn’t be able to write a $300 check to a nonprofit – but I feel proud when I look at the sum of my various monthly $5-$10 donations automatically taken from my checking account that add up at the end of the year.  Plus it’s worth noting that at the end of the year, it doesn’t matter how you sliced and diced it throughout the year, you get the same full tax deduction for the total amount given.  

Amber Lovett, Senior Vice President of Resource Development and Marketing for the United Way California Capital Region, confirmed, “People always give more when they give consistently.  And, it helps nonprofits budget and plan if they know they have recurring donations coming through.”

Says Julie Bornhoeft, Chief Development and Marketing Officer for WEAVE, “We work hard to educate donors about the need for ongoing funding and to create multiple opportunities for donors to give. This has included focusing on building our monthly donor efforts. We have seen a 42% increase in those giving monthly or quarterly since 2014 and these loyal donors are very important in our ability to know we have reliable funding coming in to support our programs.”

Julie admits, “I think the overarching theme at WEAVE is that we want to give donors a lot of opportunities to support us when it works for them. If that’s on December 31, I will make sure they can give with ease but hopefully, it means they will also choose to give at other times throughout the year. We do this to bring as much stability throughout the year as possible.”

Lastly, give your nonprofit more than a one-night stand because they deserve more than a one-night stand

Nonprofits are the ones who reach out to the disadvantaged, heal the sick, educate the young, keep our parks clean and beautiful, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, teach us about how to keep our bodies healthy through exercise and food literacy, heal the abused, help keep our Veterans and elderly in their homes, offer services we otherwise couldn’t afford, cure diseases, find loving and safe homes for animals, and much more.  

They are the ones who work to build strong communities and bring people together for good.  

They are what keep the hope alive and, following a very contentious election and time of uncertainty going into this holiday season, I have to believe that hope and goodness is something worth making a commitment to.  

So in closing, I hope you will join me this #GivingTuesday and holiday season in making a recurring commitment to a nonprofit close to your heart….I promise it’ll be worth the sacrificed weekly latte. 🙂

#GivingTuesday donations should be made directly on the individual nonprofit websites.

Not sure where to give?  Visit https://givingedge.guidestar.org/ – a free online tool to help you learn more and connect to nonprofit organizations that match your interests or visit www.charitynavigator.org to sort local charities by category and financial responsibility ratings.

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