New for the holidays: Focus on giving, not receiving

After giving thanks on Thursday and shopping for deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we can turn our focus to giving to those in need on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 27.

A new concept looking to gain momentum as a holiday tradition, #GivingTuesday is “intended to open the holiday season on a philanthropic note and put heart back into the holidays,” said Sarah Renusch of World Vision. “It is about community not commercialism, giving not receiving.”

Here in the Mid-Willamette Valley local nonprofits have an opportunity to remind their patrons that the holidays have traditionally been a time “to work together for a greater good,” in the words of Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of Women Online.

Just as retailers rely on holiday shopping to pull their profit-and-loss statements out of the red and into the black, nonprofit organizations depend on generous donors to give of their time and resources to keep goods and services flowing to the needy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone was as enthusiastic about giving for the greater good as they are about shopping in stores and online for the best gifts on sale?

From coast to coast, nonprofits are struggling. The Great Recession has hit them hard. Americans gave about $298 billion to nonprofits in 2011, but that is down from $310 billion in 2007 before the recession hit. Needs have increased while resources have decreased.

Mid-Valley Development Professionals joins hundreds of associations and nonprofits across the country that are cooperating in #GivingTuesday. That’s part of the beauty of this: We’re not just advocating for one cause. More information about this idea is at

There are lots of ways for donors participate in #GivingTuesday.

  • Volunteer. Call your favorite nonprofit and ask what you can do to help.
  • Give clothing and household items. Many nonprofits collect donations and sell them at retail to raise operating funds.
  • Write a check or donate online. Case Foundation and are matching gifts made at
  • Teach your children and grandchildren by example. Show them the importance of generosity, especially during this season of giving.

#GivingTuesday is a brand-new idea. It is the perfect antidote to the scrum of post-Thanksgiving shopping mania. Henry Timms, who imagined the idea, said, “We have two days that are good for the economy. Here is a new day that is good for the soul.”

Arminda Lathrop, president of Mid-Valley Development Professionals, encouraged each person to pause long enough during the mad dash for holiday gifts to either write a check to his or her favorite charity or log on to the charity’s website and make a contribution. The time is anytime but especially on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 27. Let’s make it a longstanding tradition in our communities.

To take advantage of this opportunity, include #GivingTuesday’s message in your emails, Facebook posts and tweets in the next few days. For more ideas, see the #GivingTuesday Facebook page or Twitter at #GivingTuesday.

This entry was posted in donors, fundraising, online giving, philanthropy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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