#GivingTuesday: How You Can Participate, Even If You Don’t Have Extra Cash

A young woman donates blood.
Briana Dodson, donates blood on her lunch break in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2017. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

I rarely participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but I’ve always been excited about the day that follows: #GivingTuesday.

Rather than spend money on things you may or may not need, this international movement asks you to donate to causes you care about.

The day started in 2012 and, with the help of social media, it spread quickly. Last year, it raised more than $274 million for charity.

I love #GivingTuesday because it’s a reminder to support the organizations that work tirelessly to make our world a better place.

And you don’t need to give a lot. If everyone gave a few bucks — or a few hours of their time — to their favorite cause this #GivingTuesday, it would go a long way. Plus, you’ll get a tax deduction!

How to Participate in #GivingTuesday

Want to get involved in this warmhearted movement? Keep reading for step-by-step instructions.

Find a Cause to Support

What cause speaks to you? Perhaps you already have an organization you love, or perhaps you just know you’re passionate about homelessness or animal rights.

Once you’ve determined which cause you want to support, look for an organization that works in that field.

Choose an Organization

Charity Navigator is my favorite website for finding and vetting new organizations.

It allows you to search by cause, location, size and keyword — then, more importantly, it displays ratings for each charity based on its finances, transparency and accountability.

It’s an easy way to see which charities are responsibly effecting change with the money they receive.

Don’t skip this step; make sure you’re giving your hard-earned money to a worthy cause.  

Keep Records for Your Taxes

If and when you decide to donate, keep a record of your contribution.

Donations to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization are tax-deductible — meaning if you donate $100, you can reduce your taxable income by that same amount.

Giving to a good cause and saving on your tax bill? Win-win!

Think of Alternate Ways to Give

Even if you’re broke, don’t worry; you can still get behind #GivingTuesday.

Though the day’s goal is to raise money for good causes, remembering its altruistic inspiration is just as important.

If you don’t have any money to spare, here are a few ways to participate without opening your wallet:

  • Look for a local or virtual volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch.
  • Give blood.
  • Donate used clothing or goods to a charitable thrift store.
  • Simply strive to practice kindness and gratitude with everyone you meet.

And if nothing else, you can spread word of the movement on your favorite social media site using the hashtag #GivingTuesday!

Susan Shain is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

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