Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two days devoted to receiving, about getting the best possible deals for yourself. But the upcoming holidays are really about giving. So Dec. 3 is Giving Tuesday.
Last year, 92nd Street Y, a New York-based cultural and community center, launched the movement known as #GivingTuesday, in which people devote a day to giving to charity after two days of spending sprees.
This year, GivingTuesday.org is providing a few helpful ideas to celebrate the spirit of helping others.
Food • Have a conversation with your family about the foods they like to eat and those that are healthy and then take some of that food to the local pantry.
Raid the closet • Pore over things you don't use in the house kitchen items, bedding, toys, books, school supplies and more and donate them to a program for underserved families.
The seasons • At the beginning of a new season, think about the kinds of items or item that people will need most that time of year, such as winter gloves or hats. Take up a collection of that item to donate to a local program.
Neighborhood sales • Hold a local bake sale or yard sale and donate the proceeds to a neighborhood charity.
Cutting back • For just a week or two, have your family cut back on extras such as ice cream or other treats, going to the movies, or renting a video, and instead save that money in a jar. At the end of the period, donate the collection to a local food pantry.
Finally, when donating to a charity, it's wise to research who you're giving your money or goods to. Ken Berger, the CEO of Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities worldwide, offers these three tips to help determine if a charity is worthy of your money.
Finances • Check out the financial health of the charity. You want to make sure you're giving your money to a financially strong institution. Charity Navigator's site already has done much of that work for you.
Accountability • Research on how well run the organization is. How transparent is it? Who governs it? Is it independent? And how much information does it share with the public? Those that share the most information are more likely to be ethical in their behavior.
Results • Evaluate the results of the charity. Look into the data of how much the charity has affected others for the better.