December 2, 2014

Make #GivingTuesday Into #GivingRegularly

By: Roger Custer

givingtuesdayToday is #GivingTuesday and you’ve probably already received emails, texts, and tweets from your favorite organization asking for a gift.  You can give to AFF here.  In 2013, giving was up 162% on #GivingTuesday and the average gift increased by 39%.  While this is helpful for nonprofits around the country, I challenge you to change #GivingTuesday into #GivingRegularly.  How much time, talent, and treasure do you give throughout the year?

Giving Makes You Happier.  Arthur Brooks cites research that shows “it is a fact that givers are happier people than non-givers.”  This is true for monetary givers but also volunteers and time givers.  He shows that giving affects brain chemistry and charitable activity “induces endorphins that produce a very mild version of the sensations people get from drugs like morphine and heroin.”
You Will Make Others Happier.  I used to volunteer at a Hispanic organization teaching English to immigrants on Saturday mornings.  I have rarely seen people so happy and thankful as a group of Latin American immigrants practicing English so they can improve themselves and their families.  They were always laughing and having fun with basic conversations and joking around with their volunteer teacher.
You Will Stand Out.  When interviewing candidates for jobs, I am always impressed when the person has gone out of his or her way to be involved with a volunteer organization.  That usually indicates that the job candidate is a compassionate person who uses his or her free time more productively than someone who doesn’t volunteer or give.  Of course, there are exceptions – but the most attractive job candidates usually have some kind of outside volunteer work that has given them special skills.  More than likely, they will go above and beyond as your employee too.
It’s Easy!  There are more than a million nonprofit organizations around the country that do all kinds of excellent work.  You can find a group that works on an issue you care about and get started right away.  You can volunteer once a month or even less if you don’t have time.While #GivingTuesday is a great idea and a fun social media activity, I encourage you to make giving your time and money a regular activity.  You and your community will be better off as a result! 

Roger Custer is executive director of America’s Future Foundation.