Corporations Make an Impact on #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement which has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2012. Hundreds of companies from around the world representing every industry have taken part in #GivingTuesday. With the holidays approaching, a corporate #GivingTuesday campaign can help build a sense of community within the company and increase employee engagement.

Although the date, November 29, is quickly approaching, there's still time to get your company involved. Your employees will appreciate the ability to take part in this nationally recognized movement and make a larger impact as part of your corporate campaign.

Tips for your corporate #GivingTuesday campaign

1) Kick-off on #GivingTuesday. Begin a 2 - 4 week corporate campaign raising goods or funds for a local nonprofit organization. Since time is of the essence, a YouGiveGoods online drive is a great option since YouGiveGoods handles the digital campaign set up and all the drive logistics for you. See how Baxter kicked off their holiday giving campaign on #GivingTuesday 2015 which supported multiple causes and charities across the country (and offered a matching gift, but more about that later). And, remember to register your campaign with givingtuesday.org.

2) Utilize social media. #GivingTuesday is a movement built on social media. Be a part of it all by creating a hashtag for employees to follow and use in addition to #GivingTuesday. Post throughout the day. Include updates on the campaign's progress, call out employees who have shown extra effort, and share details of #GivingTuesday's global campaign so employees can recognize the scope of the movement and be proud of their participation. Check out the great digital and social media toolkit provided by givingtuesday.org.

3) Include online shopping in your campaign. #GivingTuesday follows the massive shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Employees will be spending a lot of time shopping. Offering the opportunity to shop for a good cause is a fun way to encourage employee engagement. Online shopping allows all employees, including off-site, part-time and consulting employees to take part. Besides convenience, another benefit of an online drive versus a traditional, collection box drive is that employees can track results in real-time, and management can track results and engagement down to the number of donors, items purchased, pounds raised and retail value. The benefits of an online drive make it a clear choice for corporate social responsibility programs.

4) Offer a matching gift on #GivingTuesday. The matching gift accomplishes a number of goals. First, it is a great incentive for employees to participate as the match makes their donation go even further. Second, it shows corporate support of the program. And third, it creates a sense of excitement around the day and around the campaign.

5) Have an on-site event on #GivingTuesday. Invite a representative from your selected nonprofit organization to speak about the community's needs, their programs, and the projected impact of your drive. Or, seek out some employees to speak about their favorite local charities, the causes close to their hearts and their volunteering experiences. Then encourage an open discussion and create a list of suggested corporate social responsibility programs for the future. Order in some pizza and cookies and call it a #GivingTuesday celebration! Be sure to set up a table where employees can make a purchase or donation for your #GivingTuesday campaign.

6) Offer a #GivingTuesday participation gift. This is a global movement. Let your employees get some recognition from peers, family and friends by offering them a small gift for their participation. Think "I gave on #GivingTuesday" buttons, stickers or t-shirts. (Run a YouGiveGoods drive and we will provide you with "I gave on #GivingTuesday" rubber bracelets.)

7) #GivingTuesday thank you and wrap up. Employees and management alike will be interested in the results of the corporate campaign. Release as much information about the day's work as possible. Share results with the recipient nonprofit and ask if they have a message for you to share with employees. Finally be sure to thank every participant. From the person who helped set up a table, to the person who made the largest donation, everyone who contributed to the success of your campaign should receive a thank you.

Companies of all sizes have embraced the idea of being good corporate citizens and have established their own unique corporate social responsibility programs. By not missing out on the #GivingTuesday movement you show employees, consumers and the community that your company is fully invested in corporate philanthropy and community involvement.

Now, it's time to get planning. Good luck on your 2016 corporate #GivingTuesday campaign.

You Gave School Supplies

The lazy days of summer seem a distant memory as kids and parents alike fall back into the familiar school day routine. Unfortunately, the back to school season can bring stress for families who are struggling financially as they wonder how they will afford all the necessary supplies for their children.

It is estimated that parents will spend an average of $674 on school supplies to prepare for the 2016-17 school year!1 When you consider this staggering figure it is easy to understand how this could be a financial burden to many families.

YouGiveGoods offered a new way to help when we added school supplies to our service in 2013. Our online school supply drives have grown in leaps and bounds over the last three years. In fact, 2016 YouGiveGoods’ drives raised 267% more school supply items than 2015. We are happy to share some more fun facts about our busy, school supply-filled summer.

During the summer months of 2016, YGG ran 110 individual school supply drives for nonprofits and schools in 26 states. Roughly 40,000 items in total were purchased and distributed in time for the start of school. Our best-selling items included packs of pencils at 13,000 (that’s 130,000 pencils!), 7,000 folders and 6,000 notebooks.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The success of our school supply season was based largely on the efforts of our amazing corporate partners. Thanks to the employees of Northrop Grumman, Aetna, Fidelity, TIAA, Tauck, Datapipe, Ohio National Financial Services and Newport News Shipbuilding for making such a positive impact on the young people in their communities.

We’re thrilled that thousands of children across the U.S. were able to start the 2016 school year off right thanks to the generosity of strangers and the technology and service of YouGiveGoods. We look forward to helping even more children succeed in school in 2017!

1Williams, Geoff. What If You Can't Afford Your Kids' School Supplies. U.S. News & World Report. 8/26/16

How will you help during Hunger Action Month?

Did you know that September is Hunger Action MonthTM? The goal of Hunger Action Month is to shine a light on the pervasive problem of food insecurity in the United States and to call citizens into action to help raise awareness, food and funds.


The economic and financial crisis of 2008 hit Americans hard and a byproduct of the slow road to recovery has been increased food instability and a change in the perceived face of the hungry. In fact, 41% of households utilizing a food bank include a person with a post high school education.

The scope of hunger in America is shocking. According to a 2014 study by Feeding America, 1 in 7 people, that’s 46.5 million, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors, utilize a food bank.

A final statistic to consider is the fact that 1 in 5 American children are food insecure. Childhood hunger is especially worrisome since empty stomachs stand in the way of children growing, learning, developing and simply enjoying childhood.


The statistics are staggering and may leave many feeling their small efforts simply won’t make a difference. But the truth is that every little bit helps someone who is facing hunger. This sentiment is best expressed in the famous words of Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed 100 people, just feed one.”


Will you help feed just one person? Below are just a few ideas of how you can get involved in Hunger Action Month:

  • Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.

  • Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.

  • Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use YouGiveGoods.com to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.

  • Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.

  • Donate food. Don’t just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises keeping in mind those words from Mother Teresa.


Finally, keep in mind, hunger will continue way beyond Hunger Action Month. Show your support to food banks, pantries and soup kitchens all year long. Your persistence can increase your impact exponentially as your actions may encourage friends and family to do the same. You can help one less person go to sleep hungry tonight.

* Photo credit Feeding America

Ideas for Summertime Giving

Today is the first official day of summer! Many of us are looking forward to traveling to a vacation spot and reconnecting with family. Some will be very happy to enjoy some R&R during a “staycation”. But, for some families, summer brings a new level of stress. With kids home from school families may struggle with childcare as they head to work. And many who rely on subsidized school meals may be scrambling more than ever to put food on the table.

Summer is a hard time for nonprofits. Demand is high and supplies are low. As businesses and families enter summer-mode, donations to nonprofits come to a frightening halt. For three months there will be no school drives for the local food pantry. Businesses also slow down their charitable work as employees head out on vacations. Now is the time for individuals to step up and lend a hand. Is there a way to enjoy summer AND help your local nonprofit? We say, absolutely yes! Here are some ideas to get you started.

1) Get the kids involved. Kids are home and looking for something to do. They have loads of energy, creativity and enthusiasm. Talk to your kids about ways they can make a difference in your community this summer – they are never too young to start. Fun activities like a car wash or lemonade stand can collect money for a cause. A summer food drive is a great idea. Kids love using the technology at YouGiveGoods.com to run an online food drive. They can tap into their social networks and learn how to use social media for good. Setting up a drive is simple, free, fun and most importantly, gets much-needed food items delivered to local food pantries.

2) Get the grandparents involved. Retired people are a great resource for charitable work. Many welcome the responsibility and interaction that come with volunteer work but don’t know where to start. Recruit your parents, grandparents, older neighbors, and senior center patrons to help support your cause.

3) Collect donations at your next family or business event. Is your business holding a summer picnic? Are you planning a graduation, birthday party or just fun get together? Why not ask each attendee to bring a canned good to your event? Set up a table to drop off and showcase the goods you’ve collected. We promise this donation table will be a happy topic of conversation at your event.

4) Make a difference as a family. Family time is important to many over the summer months. What better way to motivate and bond a family than to work together for a greater good? Studies show that kids that see parents and grandparents volunteering are more likely to volunteer and donate to charity as they get older. Animal lovers, call your local animal shelter and set up a time for the whole family to go in and volunteer. Families of book lovers can run a book drive for area kids’ summer programs. Outdoorsy families can grab gloves and a garbage bag and clean a local park. Active exercise enthusiasts can organize a neighborhood run or fun walk benefiting a cause. Choosing your cause, organizing and planning the event, no matter how small, will be some of the most rewarding family time you’ve ever spent. Imagine how you will all feel when you have accomplished your goal, together.

5) Virtual volunteering. If it's hard for you to commit to a scheduled time and place to volunteer, virtual volunteering is a relatively new option for you to consider. Contact the nonprofit that is close to your heart and discuss virtual volunteer opportunities. A few hours of your time using your home computer can make a big difference to a nonprofit. Offer your expertise in accounting, marketing, graphic design, party planning, logistics, and more.

Let’s not forget that simple acts of kindness count too. Consider helping an elderly neighbor with yard and home maintenance – another great opportunity to get the kids involved.

So, enjoy summer 2016 and make it a momentous one by making a conscious effort to add in at least one act of philanthropy. Like sleep, exercise and eating well, philanthropy is proven good for the mind, body, and soul. Enrich your lazy days of summer with compassion and action to help those in need in your community.

Honor the Fallen on Memorial Day

The unofficial start of summer is here and the celebrating is underway. TV commercials are busy touting Memorial Day sales, bathing suits and barbecues. It’s easy to forget the real meaning of Memorial Day: remembering and honoring every U.S. soldier that has given his or her life to secure our freedom. Let’s help keep the solemnity of the day by educating ourselves a bit on Memorial Day.

The earliest commemoration dates back to 1865 and the end of the Civil War when a group of roughly 1,000 people consisting predominantly of recently freed slaves gathered to honor and consecrate the burial site of hundreds of perished Union soldiers.

In May 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of the Union veteran’s group called the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 should be a national day designated to honor the 620,000 soldiers killed in the Civil War. He called it Decoration Day because he suggested that people decorate and lay flowers on the graves of those fallen soldiers. Although Decoration Day quickly became an annual tradition across the country, it wasn’t until 1971 that it became an official federal holiday, renamed Memorial Day, recognizing the roughly 1.1 million U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in service.

The history of Memorial Day is worth learning more about. A great place to start is USMemorialDay.org and 8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day on History.com.

In addition to telling the story, we can also commemorate the holiday by participating in local parades that honor our current military members and veterans. This visible and enthusiastic show of support for our military helps everyone embrace the importance and the sacrifice of their service.

A tangible way to support our troops is to start a drive collecting goods to benefit military members and their families. Organizations like Operation Support Our Troops America exist purely to offer this kind of support. The mission of Operation Support Our Troops America is “to support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families both while they are deployed in harm’s way and after their return.”

Consider starting a YouGiveGoods drive to benefit Operation Support Our Troops America or any other charity supporting the military. It is simple and you can enlist the support of your friends and family online to make a real difference in the lives of those who are sacrificing daily for our safety and freedom.

A quick way you can make a tangible show of support to our military families is by purchasing goods for donation to a military drive. Shop our current YouGiveGoods military drives and purchase much-needed goods online. All goods will be shipped directly to Operation Support Our Troops America at the close of the drives. We know it is a busy weekend, but this purchase will take only minutes.

SHOP CDW's Care Package Drive benefiting Operation Support Our Troops America

SHOP Shelves Are Empty but Troops Still in Need benefiting Operation Support Our Troops America

Finally, perhaps the most profound way to show our gratitude for those who made the ultimate sacrifice is to work everyday to uphold the unique and founding qualities of our country. By embracing and celebrating the diversity of the American people, showing strength and compassion at home and abroad, and celebrating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we do our part to uphold the values that so many laid down their lives to protect.

Happy Memorial Day from YouGiveGoods.

Photo/Image Credits: USMemorialDay.org and Operation Support Our Troops America

How You Can Support and Donate to an Animal Shelter

May is National Pet Month! There is no denying that we Americans love our pets. In fact, an astounding $62.75 billion dollars is forecasted to be spent in 2016 in the U.S. pet industry.1 Most pets are considered treasured family members and enjoy lots of love and affection. In stark contrast to the lives of our pampered pets is the plight of the tens of millions of strays that roam across the U.S. Many animal lovers are left wondering what they can do to help.

We rely on animal shelters to do the hard work associated with caring for strays. There are approximately 13,600 independent community animal shelters in the U.S. that exist to rescue, nurture, protect and ultimately find homes for as many animals as possible. Their job is an exhausting one with about 7.6 million companion animals entering shelters nationwide every year.2

Aid to animals also comes in the form of pet pantries. More and more pet pantries are popping up across the country to help families who struggle to afford food and supplies for their pets. Without these pantries, many of these beloved family pets would end up in animal shelters.

Pet pantries and animal shelters operate largely on donations from the community. So just how can you show your support? There are four main ways you can help your local animal shelter:

  1. Cash donations. Without cash donations most shelters and pantries would be unable to run their operations. Any amount large or small can make the difference in the life of an animal.
  2. Volunteering. Contact your local animal shelter and schedule time to help out at the shelter.
  3. Donating items. Every item donated frees up cash for other areas of the shelter’s operation. While individual animal shelters have specific needs, the following are top items that are generally in high demand at all animal shelters: cleaning supplies (bleach, laundry detergent, soap, garbage bags), treats, toys, and pet beds and linens.
  4. Virtual volunteering. This simply means using the internet to support a charity. Perhaps you can do some bookkeeping from your home computer or help with their website or run an online drive.

A YouGiveGoods drive is a great option for you to support an animal shelter. It is a form of virtual volunteering since you don't ever have to leave your house! And, it is the most efficient, engaging way to get most-needed items delivered to the charity. Start a drive today in honor of National Pet Month and be a source of aid and comfort to countless animals.

1 APPA (American Pet Products Association)

2 ASPCA

How to Incorporate Charitable Giving into Your Business

There is much written about the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Reasons that companies benefit from CSR include attracting and keeping the best talent and instilling positive public opinion. But, the idea of creating and executing these programs can be overwhelming, especially when staffing at many companies is already stretched.

Our president, Lisa Tomasi, offered up some simple, concrete suggestions for companies looking to start a CSR program in an article written for CBS Small Business Pulse in February 2016. Below are her four top suggestions from the article:

Keep it Local

Look within your community and you might be surprised to discover many wonderful charitable organizations right in your own backyard. Ask for employee feedback about what causes and local charities are close to their hearts. Consider food pantries, boys and girls clubs, battered women's shelters, homeless shelters, diaper banks and animal shelters.

Use Technology

Emerging technologies are available that enable you to engage busy employees at a time and place most convenient to them. You can do an entire giving event online or incorporate it into a physical event for maximum participation. Using an online component allows you to engage all your employees at multiple locations, including contractors, off-site and part-time employees.

Make it Fun

Use social media to create excitement and encourage employees to do the same. Gamify your program by creating a friendly contest and measure results in real time. Get top management involved in the fun to show that the giving program is an important part of the corporate culture at all levels.

Celebrate Your Success

Have a goal and make it measurable. When your initiative is complete, share the results with employees and convey the impact the company has collectively made on the community. Recognize individual employees who showed extra effort, leadership, creativity and just plain enthusiasm. Finally, celebrate a job well done with a volunteer event at the charity or a simple party at the office.

We're going to add one final suggestion, and we can't stress this one enough: just go for it. Some of our best drives were built around the idea and enthusiasm of one employee. A comprehensive plan is ideal, but the fact is that from one person and one event a really wonderful program can eventually evolve.

Check out the full article on CBS Small Business Pulse.

Spring Food Drives Aim to Stock the Shelves

Spring has (finally) sprung! For some, spring means budding trees and flowers. For others, spring means baseball and barbecues or spring cleaning. But, for food banks and pantries across the country, spring means Spring Food Drives.

To food banks, spring means that just around the bend children will be home from school for the summer and will no longer have access to the free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch that many families rely upon. Also, the large holiday food donations that helped feed clients all winter long are typically running low in spring and food banks are looking for renewed sources of support.

food drive

How big of a problem is hunger in the United States? Unfortunately, the facts and figures of hunger in America are startling:

  • 1 in 7 Americans have sought food assistance1
  • 46.5 million Americans, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors, utilize a food bank1
  • 69% of Feeding America client households have had to choose between food and utilities1
  • More than 20% - 1 in 5 – children live at risk of hunger2
  • 1 in 8 American households receives benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps)3

Acts of generosity and the kindness of strangers helps feed those struggling to put food on the table every day. You can make a difference in the lives of the hidden hungry in your community. Monetary donations, food drives and volunteering are the best ways to support food banks and pantries. Corporations, individuals, groups and schools can make an impact by running a spring food drive using YouGiveGoods. YouGiveGoods online drives break the geographic barriers of a traditional collection box drive – now employees, friends and family all over the country can donate food to support your drive.

A simple way to lend your support is to donate to an existing YouGiveGoods spring food drive. With the click of a button you can donate needed food to the St. Patrick’s Spring Food Drive, Food for Freedom Food Drive, St. Peter’s Prep Replenish the Pantry Shelves (Jersey City, NJ), and Food Drive by Koshish to name a few.

As you enjoy the beauty and renewal that spring brings, remember that with a simple act you can be part of the renewal of a struggling family by offering your support to a food bank today.

1FeedingAmerica.org, Hunger in America 2014

2USDA.gov, Household Food Security in the Unites States in 2014

3Bread.org, Facts on Hunger and Poverty in the United States

Two CSR Conferences, One Common Challenge

We are feeling very invigorated after attending two great conferences in March. We love taking a step back from our daily operations and connecting with the people and organizations that we aim to serve with our online drive system. Tapping into the needs, frustrations and new opportunities of corporate social responsibility and giving professionals has been the impetus for us to change, expand and improve YouGiveGoods year after year.

Corporate social responsibility

Interestingly, one common challenge resonated throughout both conferences: how to create programs that are mutually beneficial for the nonprofit and the corporation and that truly meet both of their needs. Corporations ultimately want to offer creative, rewarding engagement opportunities for their employees that are accessible to all, regardless of their location. Nonprofits aim to provide the maximum amount and highest quality of services to their populations. These two goals don’t always make for a seamless relationship.

Nonprofits welcome the support of corporations but not if they feel the relationship is one-sided. YouGiveGoods is uniquely positioned to understand both sides and be able to offer solutions to all members of any giving event – the employee participants and donors, the nonprofit and the corporation. YouGiveGoods works with corporations and nonprofits every day and are well versed in the disparate needs of each group. We work as a conduit between these worlds and offer a platform that is measurable, simple and inclusive of all employees and a service that caters to the tangible needs of the nonprofit. And, we keep expanding our technology to meet the changing needs of this growing field. For example, our latest offering is a new, free mobile checkout app that makes purchasing on YGG drives faster than ever. Our corporate partners can’t get enough of this easy-to-use, hassle-free system for supporting their favorite charity.

So, how did these insights come to light? Let’s give credit where credit is due and talk about our first conference, the ACCP (Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals) in sunny San Diego, CA. Attendees here were enthusiastic, knowledgeable Corporate Social Responsibility executives looking to share common stumbling blocks, solutions, successes and innovations. Topics of discussion included increasing employee engagement, utilizing technology, and methods for measurement and reporting of the positive social impact businesses are making in communities everywhere. We met some amazing people that we look forward to working with in the future. We’ll definitely be signing up for next year’s ACCP conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Next we were off to Charities@Work in the heart of New York City. Here we mingled with more movers and shakers of the CSR and nonprofit world. We are always inspired by the good that gets done daily by this group and this conference reminds us that all that good takes a lot of elbow grease. These professionals were on the lookout for innovations that could help them expand their employee engagement opportunities and function as efficiently as possible while still meeting the needs of their nonprofit partners, and not “painting the same wall seven times.” They were in search of keys to creating lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with nonprofit partners all over the world.

The lively exchange of ideas at these conferences was energizing. YouGiveGoods drive system continues to be well received by both groups. We are listening closely and adding new features and improvements to meet your evolving needs. We were reminded again of how much we love what we do. Thanks ACCP and Charities@Work – see you next year!

Bottled Water Drives for Flint Michigan

Click Here To Start A Bottled Water Drive For Flint Residents Today

Today residents of Flint remain in daily crisis-mode while they await a long-term solution to the problem as well as the long-term health consequences the lead exposure may have caused, especially in young children.

It’s hard to watch this tragedy unfold. Many people across the country are left asking, “What we can we do to help?” A great place to start is the website helpforflint.com. This website will help you direct your efforts.

There are a number of organizations that are collecting funds to help residents of Flint by purchasing water, filters and test kits and supplying emergency support services. Organizations that are collecting funds to directly benefit Flint include The Salvation Army of Genesee County and the United Way of Genesee County.

The Community Foundation of Greater Flint has set up a fund to help with the long-term health needs of the children of Flint and the American Red Cross of East Central Bay-Michigan is accepting volunteers for distribution of water and supplies to the residents.

Guidelines for the donation of water bottles can be find here. Donations of cases of water bottles are being received by Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties and donations of more than 100 crates of bottles water is being accepted by the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

YouGiveGoods makes it easy to start a drive for the residents of Flint. You can simply pick a charity in Michigan from our database, like Catholic Charities or Salvation Army locations near Flint. After picking your charity, you can populate your storefront with bottled water packages. Then all you have to do is finish up and share your drive with friends, family and co-workers! All bottled water purchased in your drive will be shipped directly to the Michigan charity you chose, and they will distribute the bottles to the residents in Flint for free!

Please consider starting your own drive today. We hope that YouGiveGoods makes supporting our neighbors in Flint, Michigan so simple that even more people are able to help.