Happy Thanksgiving

We here at YouGiveGoods are thankful for many things this Thanksgiving. We are thankful for friends, family and good health. We are thankful for a year that brought many laughs and milestones. We are also thankful to be a part of YouGiveGoods. Not only are our colleagues wonderful, but pretty much every person we come into contact with is actively working to help others. Especially in a time when the headlines are so disturbing, we are grateful that when we come to work everyday we are reminded of the inherent goodness of people. Every person who starts or donates to a drive and every nonprofit volunteer and administrator offers a helping hand to someone who needs it most. The goods they supply bring tangible aid and their desire to help lifts up those feeling low and alone just by extending the notion that someone out there cares. So, we are very grateful for you, our YouGiveGoods community, for all that you do and for including us in your service. Happy Thanksgiving!

#GivingTuesday Countdown

As the holiday season arrives, it often brings with it mixed emotions. We love the anticipation of those delicious holiday meals and the opportunity to make a special someone smile with a thoughtful gift, but there is another, more cynical side to the holidays; the over-commercialized, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, "spend, spend, spend" side. It's an unavoidable part of the season, but every year it seems to be more intrusive.

According to one survey, up to 40% of shoppers purchase for themselves on Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t much better. Self-gifting as it has been coined is a practice on the rise and an understandable one. And men, you’re guilty of it even more than women! (Women tend to purchase gifts for others more often than men.) Not only do we all work very hard for our wages which have been close to stagnant for the past decade, but we also have access to so many unique things right at our fingertips on sites like Amazon.com, Pinterest, TouchofModern, Etsy and countless more ways to spend that hard earned dough. Not to mention going out to eat & travel expenses. You can see, it is easy to talk ourselves into indulging a bit during the holidays.

Chris O'Meara/AP Photo/File from CSMonitor.com
Photo credit: Chris O'Meara/AP Photo/File

It was only less than four years ago that some very creative thinkers at the 92nd Street Y in New York City hoped that they could harness the excitement of the opening of the holiday season for good, by creating a new movement, one that celebrated service and giving back. Hence #GivingTuesday was born. It is observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and kicks off the charitable giving season. Of course, they couldn't be sure how their idea would be received. #GivingTuesday encourages you to resist the urge for self-gifting and instead give to a charity or organization that supports those in need all year long. Would it catch on?

The answer has been a resounding, "Yes!" According to #GivingTuesday.org, approximately $13.5 million was raised for nonprofits in #GivingTuesday's inaugural year (2012), $28 million in 2013, and a whopping $45.7 million supporting over 15,000 nonprofit organizations last year. That's a 240% increase from its inception. It seems that even in the face of the media and cultural push for consumerism, as expected, people have it in their hearts to help others. A movement like #GivingTuesday gave many the means to contribute to the comfort and care of the needy during the holiday season.

In addition to donations, #GivingTuesday also encourages volunteerism. Community clean-up projects, tutoring sessions, and plain-old small acts of kindness all have a place in #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a viral sensation. A hashtag is in its official name, so you know social media plays a key role. #GivingTuesday.org urges supporters to post "UNselfies" to grow the movement. Simply hand-write a sign about your reason for giving and your cause, and post to social media using the hashtags #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday. What an incredible idea: to turn the inherent self-centeredness of a "selfie" completely upside down with the selfless UNselfie! An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy that recapped the 2014 #GivingTuesday campaign, noted that there were 698,000 #GivingTuesday tweets on the day in 2014, up from 269,000 tweets in 2013! And, from Usher to President Obama, celebrities and public figures have gotten involved and tweeted their UNselfies and #GivingTuesday endorsements.

We here at YouGiveGoods celebrate the spirit of generosity every day of the year. But during the holiday season, we are even more excited as giving itself becomes a national topic of conversation. We were built on our belief that when giving is made easy and accessible, then more people will give.

#GivingTuesday fall on December 1 this year and we are counting down the days! And since #GivingTuesday is like our Superbowl, it is also our biggest Giving Day; we will donate an additional 10% cash to the chosen charity on purchases over $50 to any YouGiveGoods drive on December 1. It's our way of giving back on this day that kicks off end-of-year philanthropy.

YouGiveGoods makes it simple to give a gift of much-needed goods to a charity on #GivingTuesday and beyond. Just like your online shopping spree of Cyber Monday, simply shop online at YouGiveGoods on #GivingTuesday to be a part of the movement. You can purchase goods for donation to an existing YouGiveGoods drive or start a drive of your own for your favorite charity. Learn more about how you can use YouGiveGoods to support your favorite cause on #GivingTuesday.

This year, we've made it easier than ever to quickly give tangible goods to charities all over the country with our #GiveNow option. All you have to do is click the #GiveNow button and your shopping cart will be populated with an item for donation to one of the hundreds of active drives on YouGiveGoods. So, we dare you to close that "Big Box Store" shopping cart and instead fill a food bank, animal shelter or charity's shelves with much needed food, clothing, toys or supplies. Share your experience with your friends and family to help move the #GivingTuesday momentum forward and feel good about giving back this season. Try out our #GiveNow option below!

YGG in the News

YGG is in the News!

YouGiveGoods has had a very busy couple of weeks in the media. We couldn't be more excited! In the course of two weeks in October, YouGiveGoods has appeared in three great publications.

We were featured in an article on Bisnow on October 20 entitled, "The Web is Still a Great Place to Raise $$, If You Can Keep Up." The premise of the article is that nonprofits need to employ new and creative methods to engage donors online. The article explains YouGiveGoods' concept, highlighting it as an innovative online marketplace where people can purchase supplies for their favorite causes. In terms of benefits, the story notes that YouGiveGoods, "has been successful because it speaks to the convenience and love for online shopping. And donors get the transparency they want when donating to a charity." Well said, Bisnow!

Our next media mention came in none other than USA Today. The article is titled, "New Charitable Zeal Grips Tech Billionaires" and it was included in both the online and print editions (10/23/15 and 10/26/15). This was rather overwhelming for a couple of reasons. First, the shear number of people who USA Today introduced to YouGiveGoods -- we're talking a daily print circulation of 2.5 million people and almost 30 million unique online visitors per month. Second, we were mentioned alongside Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Bill Gates. Gulp! Gasp! What the?? It looks like we are taking this to the next level!

The article notes that YouGiveGoods epitomizes the intersection of tech and philanthropy. We are thrilled at this designation and hope that the ease, simplicity, and convenience of our technology will indeed encourage more people to give goods to charity. But, sadly, while we would love to rub elbows with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, we have to admit, there is not one billionaire among us.

The final part of our October trifecta of media coverage came on 10/26/15 in the Daily Record (print and online) with its article, "Mendham Woman Helps Givers Give," featuring an interview with YouGiveGoods' CEO and Founder, Lisa Tomasi. The article reveals that the impetus to create YouGiveGoods came from her frustration over trying to get much-needed supplies to Haiti following the massive and tragic earthquake of 2010. Lisa comments, "We do everything online, why couldn't I do that (purchase and donate goods online)? I felt this was something we should be able to do. So we've been moving forward ever since."

The piece goes on to discuss how YouGiveGoods first started by providing fresh produce for food pantries and food banks, and then quickly expanded to offer personal care products, animal shelter items, clothing, toys and more. The article states, "YouGiveGoods gives anyone the tools to create, customize, promote and manage their own charitable drive."

Looks like YouGiveGoods is really starting the catch the eye of reporters across the country. We hope as more and more people discover the benefits of YouGiveGoods, more goods will get into the hands of those who need them.

As we head into the busy holiday season we anticipate even more media coverage. Stay tuned!

Make A Difference Day Is Around The Corner!

Make A Difference Day Is Coming!

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to think about what you can do on Make A Difference Day, Saturday, October 24th, 2015. #MDDAY is the largest volunteer day in the US and it grows larger every year. We challenge you to be a part of the solution.

A positively remarkable annual event is about to take place and it is coming up quickly. Doesn't it seem surprising when the weeks go by so fast? Nevertheless, we are in the grips of autumn and can enjoy embracing the season of giving. #MDDAY or Make a Difference Day, now in its 24th year, has become a staple in many communities around the country. It follows the growing trend of volunteerism, which is an integral thread in the fabric of this great country. USA Today, Gannett, Points of Light and Newman's Own Foundation have teamed up to encourage folks from all walks of life to give back!

Unfortunately, as much as we would like to, not all of us are able to get out and perform an act of community service on October 24. We live busy lives. You can still be a part of this important national movement by starting an online drive to support your favorite local charity.

We here at YouGiveGoods give back whenever possible, and Make A Difference Day is one of our favorite Giving Days of the year. In an effort to support the volunteer and service activities of the day, YouGiveGoods has marked Make A Difference Day as a Giving Day. On October 24th, YouGiveGoods will gift an additional 5% cash to charity on donations of $50+.

The coupon code to activate our Giving Days donation on this day is "IWill" and it will work on any order totaling $50.00 or more!

We encourage you to start a drive through YouGiveGoods and take advantage of our Giving Days Program. Be a part of the solution! It's easy to start a drive. Our support team is always here to help if you have any questions. It can be a great way to encourage giving or service within your group of friends, your family or your workplace. Simply start a drive for your favorite non-profit, church or charity, populate the online storefront with the goods that are requested by that charity (think Thanksgiving meals or winter coats), then share it on social media and watch the donations pour in! Real Goods, Delivered Directly to the Charity for FREE.

If starting a drive isn't an option for you at the moment, you can easily give to any drive that is currently active on YouGiveGoods.com/explore and feel good about being a part of this national initiative.

Thanksgiving Food Drives & YouGiveGoods

Thanksgiving, in its very nature, is a time for giving.

Sharing a meal with family, friends and neighbors is a wonderful thing, but this holiday represents compassion between people of all types. Giving to those less fortunate, caring for the elderly and sharing resources are attributes of the message of Thanksgiving.

Now is the time to create a buzz for your favorite food pantry, soup kitchen, food bank, church or homeless shelter by starting a Thanksgiving food & supply drive on YouGiveGoods.com. We exist to make giving easier! Create a drive online, populate the YGG web store with the products of your choice, then share the drive with your supporters, volunteers, family and friends! When your drive ends, YouGiveGoods will deliver, free of cost, all of the goods purchased directly to your nonprofit recipient. Learn more here and #HAPPYGIVING!

Fall Is The Season of GIVING

The summer transition into fall is often bittersweet. We say goodbye to beach days and camping trips and welcome comfy sweaters, hearty meals and the holidays. For families that are struggling, those simple pleasures that help make life worthwhile can become lost in the their consistent financial and emotional stress. For those of us fortunate enough to have stability in our lives, it’s important to think about what we can do to improve the lives of those in our community and across the country who are not as fortunate.

We’ve all been doing a better job at helping to increase the quality of life for those that are needy, with 2014 being the largest year for charitable donations to date! Communities, corporations, organizations and individual volunteers all over this country have consistently contributed more time and resources to philanthropy every autumn in particular. This year, we’re looking to break more records.

To quote Winston Churchill;

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

This sense of compassion is contagious and only beneficial for us all. We’ve taken a little time to list some prominent days for giving and service as well as some ideas to spark a charitable light within you this fall. Check it out below!

Make A Difference Day, October 24th, is the largest single-day of volunteering of the year. With the goal of having everyone do a charitable deed on this day, the sponsors USA Today, GANNETT, Points of Light, Newman’s Own Foundation and NBC News do a great job of spreading the word and getting large portions of the community involved. This will be it’s 24th year! A testament to the ongoing and growing charitable spirit in this country. For more info, click here. YouGiveGoods participates in this day by pledging 5% cash donations on all purchases of $50 or more made on 10/24. It pays to use YouGiveGoods on giving days!

Also, don’t forget that the 9/11 Day movement does not stop after 9/11, however it is meant to be a platform for volunteering, donating and creative philanthropic ideas year round! Their website can match you with a cause in your area so you can help make a difference at any moment!

Of course, Thanksgiving is approaching, and with that comes a great need from many local food pantries to be able to provide the best possible holiday meal to those less fortunate. It is as easy as typing “Thanksgiving 2015 food drives” into a Google search to realize that there are a lot of folks out there preparing for this important holiday meal rush. If you would like to start your own food drive for Thanksgiving supplies, we can help. Whether it is for a national nonprofit, a local church, food pantry or shelter, you have the power to help by setting up an online food drive for them through YouGiveGoods. All items purchased during the drive are shipped for free to the receiving charity. Real goods, delivered.

Then there is #GivingTuesday, December 1st, 2015. This is arguably the most social media intensive of the fall giving days. What a wonderful trend to spread via social media! Like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the goal of #GivingTuesday is to have it be a staple of the holiday season, but instead of it being a shopping day, it is a giving day. Every year, YouGiveGoods participates in #GivingTuesday more and more. Being a web based platform for giving, our goals line up nicely with the #GivingTuesday movement. Use YouGiveGoods to easily contribute to this charitable day and YouGiveGoods will donate an additional 10% cash on purchases of $50+ made on December 1st to the charity your are supporting.

We are looking forward to a great fall season of giving. It is our busiest time of the year, and that is thanks to the generosity of people like you, willing to take a moment to make a difference in the life of a person in need of a helping hand. It can be a simple act, but out of small acts of kindness can come great things.

The Third Annual Donnie Farrell Memorial Food Drive Has Begun!

Donnie Farrell made an impact on so many people during his tragically short life. The Rowan University student was attacked outside of a convenience store in 2007 and died from his injuries. The crime has still not been solved, but that hasn’t dissuaded the community and his family from honoring him for his contributions and spirit. As a founding member of Rowan’s Lacrosse team, he was passionate about the sport and bringing it to his school. Donnie was a kid who loved getting involved. Like most 19 year olds he wasn’t perfect, but he was a good person with a kind heart and a strong love for his family, college, and his sport, lacrosse. His memory continues to inspire others to do good in their communities and live life to it’s fullest. It has been 8 years since the world lost Donnie, and his impact and giving spirit is going strong.

Rowan University holds a huge annual lacrosse tournament “LAX for Donnie” in his memory. They’ve also created a scholarship in his name as well as have plans for a memorial on the campus. It doesn't stop there though!

"Helping others is the greatest way to honor this special young man and keep his memory alive."

This year will also be the third annual Donnie Farrell Memorial Food Drivea on behalf of the Interfaith Food Pantry. To honor his giving spirit and support the community, his family works with the Interfaith Food Pantry and YouGiveGoods to bring much needed food and supplies to the pantry. Being that it is also #HungerActionMonth, now is a better time than ever to show your support for the Food Pantry and to show those who knew and loved Donnie that his positive, charitable spirit lives on in his community. All items purchased through the YouGiveGoods drive will be shipped directly to the Interfaith Food Pantry.

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

“9/11 Day is the largest annual day of charitable engagement in the United States.” - 9/11day.org

Every year, the number of people getting involved on 9/11 Day grows. With a wonderful message of unity and compassion, this day is meant for peaceful service to your community and to those less fortunate. It is a day meant to deepen our understanding of empathy and humanity. It’s something people bring with them through the days and weeks after.

This year, there are more ways than ever to be a part of it! Volunteering through the search on 911day.org to find a local event, or giving blood through the Red Cross are just a couple of options for giving on this day of service. There are many inventive and creative programs taking place on and around 9/11 as well. Here are a few noteworthy causes:


Taproot+ 9/11 Skills Service Day: Developed to help nonprofits receive pro bono help from skilled volunteers. Volunteer your marketing, design, consulting, and software development skills to a nonprofit’s project. Any number of projects need all types of skilled volunteers. See how you can help here.

Think It Up

Another clever program is the Think It Up movement which is designed to “support the nation’s young people, teachers and schools, to create a culture of excitement about learning everywhere in America."

There's also the National Anthem Sing-A-Long, brought to us by the American Public Education Foundation. This activity is a light hearted way to spread joy and connect with your friends, family, neighbors and the country on 9/11. Learn more about it here.

It’s obvious, there are endless ways to volunteer your time, expertise, or energy to the 9/11Day movement. From making sandwiches for the hungry to donating skills or time to a community center, your service is needed. If you’ve had a philanthropic idea for your local community center, church, animal shelter or food pantry, why not take action?

If you don’t have the time to donate, then giving tangible goods through an online drive may be a convenient way to contribute to this day of service.

In honor of 9/11 Day of Service, use code HERO on donations of $50+ and YouGiveGoods will gift the charity an additional 5% cash. Check out our explore section and pick a cause you’d like to donate goods to. Simply click the “Shop Now” button within any drive, and all goods purchased will be shipped directly to the charity recipients. Real goods, delivered. We are passionate about our mission. YouGiveGoods is a way to use technology to create a tangible change in your community!

Join us, and millions of people all across America as we take positive action in our communities to honor those who sacrificed everything on 9/11. By creating an atmosphere of unity and compassion, we can make a real difference.

Nationwide Supply Shortages for Food Banks and Shelters

The Associated Press’s Scott McFretidge wrote an eye opening article about the lack of supplies compared to demand in food banks all across the US. Read the full article here. He brings up many intriguing points and possible reasons for this struggle to meet rising demand. Interestingly, though the economy is healthier than it has been in years, the need for food and supply assistance is still rising.

“U.S. food banks are expected to give away about 4 billion pounds of food this year, more than double the amount provided a decade ago, according to Feeding America, the nation's primary food bank network. The group gave away 3.8 billion in 2013.” -Scott McFretidge AP

July 29, 2015 photo, volunteer Peggy Bragg, of Des Moines, Iowa, unloads donated baked goods
at the Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Many conditions within the US could contribute to this increase in need, from income inequality growing wider, to the amount of folks out there who lost everything during the recession and have not rejoined the workforce. One reason could have to do with the prices of food and goods rising while wages stayed stagnant for so many years. Regardless of why, it is obvious that more food banks, community centers, shelters and charitable organizations could use a boost.

When we read articles like this, they get us fired up because we know we can help. YouGiveGoods is often used to help boost local food drives, pet supply drives and other types of drives. Any charitable organization or nonprofit can use our free online platform to receive donations of actual goods online, from anywhere! With more and more things taking up our free time and the line between work life and home life blurring, volunteering or creating charitable events may seem impossible, but you can still help. Connect with your local community centers, nonprofits, or animal shelters and ask them what they are in need of. Of course, the list may be long, but YouGiveGoods can help! Learn more in our How it Works section, and see how simple it is to make a tangible difference in your community. And, if you already know how you want to help a charitable organization, click the start a drive button and get ready to do great things!

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What We Do

Our goal at YGG is to help you help your community. Our online drive system makes it simple to collect donations of goods for any cause. Whether you start a food drive, or run drives to help out a church cause, homeless shelter, women & children’s program or a local animal shelter, YouGiveGoods’ online drive system is the platform with resources that will help you succeed.

It’s free, easy to use, and most of all, easy to share with friends and family. Give it a try, and get pumped about giving back to your community!

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