How to take part in #GivingTuesday 2016

#GivingTuesday 2016 is quickly approaching. This year falling on November 29, #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement which kicks off the holiday charitable giving season. After the media has whipped people into a shopping frenzy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is something of the calm after the storm. We are reminded that the holiday spirit of giving should reach beyond our loved ones and out to those suffering and in need.

#GivingTuesday.org asks that on November 29, 2016 you “help others through the gift of your time, donations, goods or your voice.” The ways you can choose to help are limitless. Below are some simple ways to join the movement this year.

1) Volunteer. Charitable organizations can always use the help of volunteers. Utilize GivingTuesday.org’s searchable database of What's Happening Near Me to find a volunteer project nearby that works for you. And, enlist friends and family to join the cause. If you are unable to travel to a site to volunteer, consider virtual volunteer opportunities. Contact your favorite nonprofit and discuss the skills that you could lend them to help their organization. Working from your home computer you can volunteer skills like accounting, marketing, website design and data entry.

2) Donate goods/Run a drive. People love the transparency of donating goods – when you donate diapers you know exactly how your donation will help. You can go the traditional route and use collection boxes or you can take advantage of new technology to run your drive. For example, YouGiveGoods.com, a free drive service that enables you to support any cause with minimal time and effort by running an online drive for most-needed goods. Simply share your drive link with family, friends and coworkers via email and social media, they shop online and all goods are delivered to your favorite local charity at the close of the drive. And, the holiday season is a great time to run a toy drive for area children in need. See how Northrop Grumman raised over 700 toys for Operation Homefront branches across the country.

3) Donate funds. A monetary donation to charity is a great way to make a difference. If you are unsure about where to start, we suggest you focus on a cause close to your heart. Then use a service such as Charity Navigator to research reputable charitable organizations in your area.

4) Advocate. Not everyone is in a position to donate goods, money or even time, but you can STILL help. Use your voice to bring awareness to a cause. Members in your community may not even realize suffering in their own backyards. Unfortunately, hunger, homelessness, abuse and more lurk in most communities. Social media has made it simple to lend your voice to a cause. Building awareness will help to increase compassion and hopefully people will be called to action to help.

We can make a difference in our communities and in the lives of people just like us who are struggling. Running a YouGiveGoods drive is a simple, effective way to help. Whatever you choose, don't let #GivingTuesday 2016 pass by without making a commitment to improving your community in some way this holiday season.

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