03 December 2013

Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday. Apparently, this is a real thing. It was started last year following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

According to the Giving Tuesday website, New York’s 92nd Street Y gets credit for the idea. Then the United Nations Foundation got involved. Based on the number of emails I got today from non-profits using Giving Tuesday as a hook to solicit funds, it has been wildly successful. More than 2,500 charities participated in  Giving Tuesday last year with donations exceeding $10 million. I can only imagine what the number will be this year. 

But what if people pledged not just one Tuesday out of the year to give back? What if people said “I’m going to give on the first Tuesday of every month?” What if people pushed themselves and gave just a little bit more than they felt comfortable doing? 

That’s what a lot of this year has been about for me... pushing myself to give more than I’ve given before and realizing that it takes sacrifice, but it’s been relatively painless and the benefits have far outweighed any hardship.

 At the start of my year of giving daily, I wanted to see how my relationship with money changed and I realized that it definitely had the other day through two things: Without going into detail, I’m looking at the possibility of having to lay out a large sum of money next year while I wait for a financial transaction to go through. Normally, I’d be very concerned and already fretting about the money I may lose. Instead, I’m staying calm and realizing that no matter what happens, I’m going to be OK. Even if I take a partial bath. That’s the big way I’ve changed. But I’ve changed in small ways too. There have been a number of times that I’ve picked a charity and written about it and then when I’ve gone to the website to donate (sometimes I get behind, especially if I’m traveling, and don’t do the give on the day I write the blog), the organization will have a $20 minimum instead of my daily $10. I now cough it up without a second thought. By year’s end, my initial commitment of giving away $3650 will be more like $4,200 and I’m OK with that. I’m better than OK. 

So even though we’re at the tail end of Giving Tuesday, I’d encourage people intrigued enough by the idea to think about expanding their giving beyond today and figure out a way to dig just a little bit deeper. It won’t hurt. I promise. 

Today I’m giving to the non-profit that started it all, 92nd Street Y. I went to a number of their programs when I lived in New York. What a wonderful cultural partner the Y is to the city. 

Dec. 3: 92nd Street Y

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