Sustainable Viewpoint

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By Jennifer Suri

Do you feel like you would like to give back after the four days of overindulgence of food and shopping during the Thanksgiving holiday?

Maybe that’s why the 92nd St. Y in New York City created Giving Tuesday in 2012 as “a day that encourages people to do good.” (About - GivingTuesday)

This simple idea has had quite an impact. In its first year alone the day generated $10 million in online donations. In 2021 both off and online donations reached $2.7 billion (10 Years In, GivingTuesday Has Become a Day Charities Can’t Afford to Sit Out). Additionally, there is a spillover effect into the weeks afterwards. A poll conducted by Ipsos in 2016 found that “62 percent of those aware of the day say it inspired more giving” (The Atlantic). Just spreading the word on Giving Tuesday can have an impact. Use #GivingTuesday in your social media posts to inspire others to donate.

Give Time
Doing good can be a simple act of kindness.. Years ago I was at an outdoor event waiting for my husband and son outside the porta-potties. A woman approached with a young girl in one hand and an unfinished drink in the other. As I imagined what she would do with that drink once inside the porta potty there was only one thing I could do. I asked her if I could hold her drink. She was a little bemused, but gave me the cup. I don’t think the full impact of this act hit her until she was in the confines of the toilet. When she came out she was effusive with her thanks and said she was going to look for the opportunity to do the same thing for someone else.

There are all sorts of things you can do to pay it forward. My neighbor organizes a gift drive for a senior care facility every year. Locally based organizations like CommUNITY SJP have events throughout the year which include donating sandwiches, care packages and blankets to communities in need.

Give Money
Your one-time gift to a charity can have an impact. A monetary donation doesn’t have to be huge. Collectively even small donations can make a difference. According to Helaine Olen “The majority of the day’s donations are made by “small-dollar” donors”. (Giving Tuesday’ Is No Match for Black Friday - The Atlantic) When you give to your favorite NPO, however, check with your employer or the organization itself to see if they will match your donation to get more bang for your buck. The donation vehicle might even get in on the act. Emily Haynes in The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes that “In 2016 …Facebook covered $500,000 in gift-processing fees and arranged for a matching gift of the same value from the Gates Foundation.” So your $25 donation can become $50!

Shop Softly
Everyone has to shop and at this time of year our shopping increases exponentially as we move into the season of giving. Why not do good when you shop? This is something Softly strives to do with its browser extension that helps you find sustainable products that are in line with your values.

Softly Cofounders Kathryn Decker and Mollie Hughes want to make shopping a kinder activity.

“Our vision when we founded Softly was to make it easy and rewarding for everyone to contribute to a better tomorrow. Our first step was the launch of the browser extension this year. The addition of a rewards system that allows our users to give back to the community is on our roadmap for next year.” (Kathryn Decker, Softly Co-Founder & COO)

Softly also wants to donate on your behalf.

“As Softly users make better purchasing decisions, not only will they be rewarded, but charitable contributions will be made on their behalf.”

A TREE WILL BE PLANTED ON YOUR BEHALF for every download of the SOFTLY extension on Giving Tuesday 11/29.

“Our hope is that everyone will use Softly to make more conscientious purchases, and if each of us can do just a little better with our purchasing decisions, collectively we will make a huge impact.” (Mollie Hughes, Softly Co-Founder & CEO)

Here are four simple ideas for #GivingTuesday

  • Promote your favorite nonprofits on social media using #GivingTuesday

  • Smile at a stranger

  • Make a donation off or online

  • Download the Softly extension on your browser and get a tree donated on your behalf


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