A Celebration of Giving – #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday

It is valuable to ourselves and our communities to learn to be giving, not just with our money, but also with our time. I am a firm believer that you reap what you sow and am fortunate to work for a company that encourages its employees to give back. This year I’ve joined the Brown Paper Tickets Not-Just-For-Profit Team, where I facilitate company donations and group volunteering. Additionally, I use our company sponsored Paid Time-On hours to volunteer in my community. I am excited to share with you one of the newest Thanksgiving traditions that has gained popularity over the past few holiday seasons.

Giving Tuesday is a movement that was started by a team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact (https://www.92y.org/innovation), a cultural center in New York City in 2012. It is celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is a socially responsible addition to the popular shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This movement celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy to events throughout the year.

According to GivingTuesday.Org, Giving Tuesday has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back—#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

Here are my 3 steps to getting started this Giving Tuesday and holiday season:

1. Heart Check

Why are you giving/volunteering? What are your motivations to do so? I believe there are motives behind everything we do. I always like to keep my self-grounded and make the most impact there is a need. When looking to do some volunteer work or donate I ask myself, ‘am I doing this because I want something in return?’ or, ‘am I sincerely looking out for the well being of others?’. Wherever you feel called to volunteer or donate this holiday season, check in with yourself, and share what you can. If you find a cause that speaks to your heart, you will likely stay involved and make a direct impact.

2. Research

Look for opportunities to serve your community or places to give. Whether you love helping people, animals or the environment, find a good cause that speaks to you and needs help. Feel free to get creative as well! I remember one Thanksgiving my family made sandwiches, bought a large tub of hot coffee and some donuts, then drove around and shared them with some of the homeless people in our neighborhood. On another occasion, some of my friends and I set some time aside on a Christmas morning and distributed “lunch bags” to the needy in the Far Rockaway community in Queens, NY.
*Disclaimer: A food permit is needed to handle food. Please look up any restrictions in your local area.

3. Have Fun

Whatever you decide to do make sure that you enjoy every second of it. Know that whether you are donating money or volunteering you are making a difference. I think it is important to not get wrapped up in our own lives and fail to see the need around us. We might not be able to change the world but we can make a difference in our communities.

Infusing the practice of giving and being open to receiving can bring joy and affect every aspect of our lives. I have learned from both sides of this practice. Several years ago, my family benefited from the giving. Here is my account:

Ever since I moved to the United States, I have lived with my paternal grandmother. When I was 15 years old, she and my aunt got together and bought their first home. Oh, the excitement! However, years passed and they never paid a water bill. I am not sure why but they never got a water bill, it just never arrived and no one ever realized.

One day, the homes that did not pay their water bill were published in a Mayor NYC Newspaper and there was our address. The embarrassment!

Of course, my grandmother freaked out and made payment arrangements with the company right away. After several months of making payments towards the amount due, we stopped getting the monthly payment slips. Grandma asked me to call the water company on her behalf and inquire about it. I remember this like it was yesterday, it was during my lunch break at my previous job, my jaw dropped when I heard the agent say,

“I am sorry ma’am but you currently do not owe any money, which is why you haven’t received a bill from us.”

“No! That cannot be right. We owe close to $10,000 and I know for a fact that payment for the complete amount has not been made,” I responded.

The agent placed me on hold to investigate, then came back on the line and told me that not only was the balance paid, but we had extra funds to cover the bill for a few more months. To this date and we are still not sure how this bill was paid, but one thing is for certain we reaped what we have sown for so many years. Over the years many similar things have happened to us, this is the story with the most financial impact thus far.

It is worth to mention that since this my family has become a giving family, not only with finances but also with time. Giving has been something that we have done in our house on a weekly basis; because of this example I’ve learned to be a giving person, and hope to pass on these traits to my daughter. My purpose is that through these lines my passion to help those who cannot help themselves be transmitted to those around me, and yes that includes you too!

Happy Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, and Holiday Season!

Good Causes >

12 Ways of Giving and a Message of Gratitude

giving-tuesday-blogThis Giving Tuesday (and everyday), Brown Paper Tickets is grateful.

Before we get to the season of turtle doves and French hens, we’re taking a gratitude pause to reflect on the little things that aren’t little at all. Food and water. Speaking without fear. Reading, writing, dancing, singing. Health. Safety. View our UNselfie video or see it posted below.

Read on for 12 ways of giving and find charity and fundraising events in your area.

1. Give Time

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and 2013. Volunteering may not require an intensive time commitment—there are walk-a-thons, community gardens, outreach and all kinds of one-day activities.

Volunteers often come away from the experience with lasting friendships, perspective and maybe even improved health. The Corporation for National & Community Service reports that those who volunteer have lower mortality and depression rates and feel more connected to the community.

Check out Volunteer Match to find a volunteer opportunity that matches your interests and schedule.

Throw a Fundraiser

Or put the fun into fundraising—organize an amazing, out-of-the-box, knock-their-socks off concert, performance or dinner to raise money for causes. Learn how you can use our Fee-Free Donation Tool to set up your page and collect funds with or without selling tickets.

Some examples of creative fundraising:

2. Have a Wine Competition

Put your palate to the test with competitive wine tasting. Form teams and have them bring two identical bottles of wine then do a blind taste test. Proceeds go to a good cause.

3. Laugh Out Loud with a Comedy Cabaret
Your charity event doesn’t have to be a bake sale or a black-tie benefit. You can make people laugh and raise money like this comedy cabaret that helps Team Towanda Foundation, a non-profit that provides women in need with funding for mammograms and other health services.

4. Stir Things Up with a Cook-off

If you’re planning a food-related charity event, stir things up by adding a competitive element. In Holiday Chefs Challenge, an event in North Carolina that benefits food banks, chefs compete to create delectable appetizers, desserts or entrees based on a list of everyday items distributed by the food bank.

5. Dance-a-Thon

Want to get physical with your charity fundraiser? Think outside the 5k. Shimmy, shake and move for a good cause with a dance off or dance-a-thon. You could even theme it to the dance like Zumbathon.

6. Treat a Veteran

Give military members a well-deserved night of entertainment. Brown Paper Tickets Salutes is a partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation that donates event tickets to active military men and women, veterans and family members of those who gave their lives.

Giving-Tuesday7. Give Tickets to a Charity or Holiday Happening

Tickets make great gifts. They are more personalized than sweaters, almost guaranteed to be used and don’t clutter up the house. Buy your friend or loved one tickets to a charity or holiday happening and give back with your gift. Some ideas:

8. Broads for Bones
For your friend who loves to laugh, give tickets to see some of Los Angeles’ funniest women and help raise money for Ankylosing Spondylitis, a crippling bone disease. The hilarious line-up includes top-tier comedians, directors and television writers.

9. Green Generations Holiday Party
Send your favorite environmentalist to a swanky celebration with a signature cocktail and silent auction. Proceeds help Green Generations, Inc. an organization that teaches NYC children about sustainability.

10. Meowy Catmas Cat Circus
Surprise the cat-lover in your life with tickets to see acrocats walk tightropes, perform death-defying jumps with the greatest of ease and yes, rock out on keyboards and drums.  A portion of ticket sales goes toward cat rescue and the organizer strongly advocates adoption.

11. The Nutcracker
Bestow the gift of holiday ballet magic and sugar plum fairies while supporting the Alameda Civic Ballet, a non-profit and charitable organization.

12. Happy Giving
Who doesn’t love happy hour? When it’s for a great cause, it’s even happier. Enjoy wine, beer and appetizers while benefiting the Head Start program. Bring a toy and take joy in the act of giving.

We hope you enjoy our video. Feel free to share.

Good Causes >