At World Vision, we’re big fans of Giving Tuesday. This “global generosity movement,” started in 2012 as a day for doing good, occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year, that’s December 1. It’s a day to flex those generosity muscles and support your favorite nonprofits or charities. Think of Giving Tuesday like an extension of that moment when everyone around the Thanksgiving table shares what they’re grateful for — a day for not only counting blessings, but also passing them on to others in need. Ready to give back as you give thanks? Read on for five reasons why Giving Tuesday’s the perfect day to do so.
Reason #1: Double your joy
Lots of organizations, World Vision included, have donation matches on Giving Tuesday, so your gift goes even further. Any gift to the World Vision Fund on Giving Tuesday, December 1, will be matched, up to $1 million. That means when you give $5, we get to send $10 to the field. So mark your calendars: This Giving Tuesday, we could send millions of dollars straight to work that empowers kids and families to create lasting change in their own lives! Knowing that your money can help extra people with no extra effort is a great feeling.
Surrounded by our own comforts and needs, it can be hard to prioritize generosity toward others who have a lot less than us. To keep generosity central, my family has our own “matching gift” program: When we spend a certain amount on a home or lifestyle item, we donate the equivalent amount to a charity or nonprofit. The point isn’t to make ourselves feel good, but to remember that “… life does not consist in the abundance of [one’s] possessions,” as Jesus tells us in Luke 12:15 (ESV). It’s a tangible reminder that our money is God’s and that He can do more than we imagine with what we have.
Reason #2: Check off Christmas shopping
It’s as inevitable as It’s a Wonderful Life reruns all December: You make your Christmas list, jotting down gift ideas for your sister, your roommate, your kids. Then you get to that one person who’s tough to shop for. You know who it is. For me, it’s my dad. He’s not big on gifts, and he still happily wears clothes from the mid-’90s. But I found a solution to this Christmas conundrum: a donation in his name to a poverty-fighting fund.
We all have that person in our life we want to find a just-right gift for. Whether it’s through a donation or a handcrafted item to treasure, empowering kids around the world to create lasting change — in Jesus’ name! — sounds like the perfect gift. (Now if only I could give that gift of lasting change to my dad’s wardrobe …)
Reason #3: Get sustainable
A sustainable lifestyle is becoming fairly common. We’ve got our reusable shopping bags, our cloth coffee filters for our fair-trade coffee, and our metal straws. For Christians, though, caring about all kinds of sustainability isn’t just ethical, it’s also spiritual. Part of our Genesis 1:28 mandate, set up by God from the beginning, is a responsibility to care for the earth and its products, and, of course, people who make those products.
That’s why holistic community development work is one of the most sustainable things to give to. “Community development” is a fancy way to talk about poverty-busting projects that leave entire regions better than they started. As Christians, we want to make sure the way we spend our money upholds the dignity of all people — how better to do this than to equip them with the tools to break out of extreme poverty? (See Reason #5 for a real story of how this works!)
Reason #4: Spread gratitude
Giving Tuesday’s all about keeping those good Thanksgiving vibes going, recognizing how much we have to be grateful for and sharing it with others. An easy way to do that? With automatic donation services that give a portion of your shopping to charity. Large retailers such as Amazon offer this option. (In fact, World Vision is one of the top charity partners with Amazon Smile!)
Automatic giving is a simple step that does lots of good with our dollars. Pausing to consider my own abundance motivates me to infuse the smallest parts of life with generosity. Even buying dish soap and sponges can have a ripple effect of blessing for kids and families in need around the world with automatic giving.
Reason #5: Join something bigger
Let’s take a trip to Yamaranguila, Honduras. Remember when I said community development is sustainable? This region is living proof of how people can transform their circumstances with the right tools. Only a couple decades ago, deep poverty, discrimination, and despair kept people in Yamaranguila down. But today, every family has clean water piped to their home. The Lenca Institute, a local high school, promotes Indigenous cultural values, including the importance of protecting the environment. Teenagers get support for university rather than dropping out of school. Kids are healthy, and their parents’ businesses are succeeding. The mayor, a former World Vision sponsored child, is dedicated to serving others, even receiving a national award recognizing Yamaranguila’s transformation.
Community members’ ownership of their development leads to lasting change like this. It’s work that’s possible with partnerships from generous donors and child sponsors who supported people in Yamaranguila. These donors have received the rare gift of seeing an entire community go from extreme poverty to health and hope in their lifetime. Who wouldn’t want to keep that gift going?