#GivingTuesday has become a national day where organizations seeking support for their causes appear on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else they can promote their charity.
In other words, today is one of my favorite days.
With so many organizations asking for assistance, I highly encourage donors to really look into their hearts and the organizations to determine what their best route is for giving donations. Charity Navigator has helped me evaluate where some of my money goes, but there’s so much more than money to giving!
Most Likely to Tug at the Heart Strings: Bracelets for our Brothers (No stars since it’s an adoption agency)
In case you’re looking for the six degrees of separation, I can make it in three! (This charity was almost awarded the Kevin Bacon Charity but it sounded corny.) Genny Nelson, a teacher at a school I’ve previously worked at, adopted two girls from Bulgaria. The experience has been bittersweet when they found out they were leaving behind the two brothers. Despite asking to also adopt the brothers, they were denied and have to restart the adoption process and try to raise the money in six months. With the help of their new daughters, they have created their website and cause. Here’s how to help:
1. Buy bracelets or keychains for $5 that the family has made
2. Donate directly to the adoption with leftover money going to help others
Best Personal Experience: Cassie’s Tu(No)Mor Team for the American Brain Tumor Association (3 stars on Charity Navigator)
One of our favorite people in this world is Cassie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago. While my sister and I will be participating this year (and you’re welcome to as well), the donations should go to support Cassie, who is brain tumor free and works closely with the association to provide funding for brain tumor research. Since we heard Cassie’s story, our family has heard of three additional friends affected by brain tumors. Here’s how to help:
1. Join the Tu(No)Mor Team
2. Donate to support the Tu(No)Mor Team
Most Likely to Excel in English: Literacy DuPage (Does not show in the database)
This is a great charity in DuPage County in Illinois even though I doubt most people have heard of it. I stumbled across this at my library and opted to join this organization rather than the Cook County one due to simplicity of trainings. I’m so glad I did this! At the training, Literacy DuPage teaches about helping non-native speakers learn English or learners that maybe didn’t receive the education they should have in their childhood. After the 18-hour training, they pair you with a student, whose level and ability are provided. For me, I now meet with my student from Turkey once a week for two hours and I prepare for our lesson for roughly an hour. That’s it; three hours that could be spent playing on the computer or watching television have been transformed. I’ve learned more from her than I ever expected and she is so thankful to have someone willing to help her. There are warm fuzzies all around on this experience. Here’s how to help:
1. Become a teacher
2. Donate to support the learners and teachers
Most Likely to Teach Women to Kick Ass: WINGS & Pillars (Tie) – Both receive 4 stars from Charity Navigator
WINGS is an organization based out of Palatine, who is trying to end the cycle of domestic violence by providing shelter, education, and long-term assistance. Ways to help:
1. Donate financially to their cause
2. Purchase survivor art, which survivors have created to express their emotions
3. Give time by volunteering at their crisis hotline, in their office, or in their resale shop
Pillars has been based out of LaGrange Park, IL since the 1920’s and supports women and children affected by domestic violence in multiple ways. They’re also providing mental health services in the area. Ways to help:
1. Donate financially to their cause
2. Volunteer by donating a meal on a Saturday, becoming a sexual assault advocate, supporting grieving children through Buddy’s Place, host a fundraising party, support/donate to Hope Chest (their resale shop)
Most Likely to Impact the World: Save the Children (4 stars on Charity Navigator)
The cycle of poverty is vicious. The natural disasters impacting lives is continuous. War creates unexpected victims. Save the Children is looking to help children from around the world improve their position in life from the early years on. Whether donating money once, sponsoring a child in the US or around the world, or creating a fundraiser to provide much needed supplies, Save the Children uses 87% of their funds for their programs.
Most Likely to Create a Fun Experience: Playworks (3 stars on Charity Navigator)
Playworks is a fun organization focused on creating a place for children to have playgrounds around the US. I have a friend, who works in the Salt Lake City location, and this organization seems to have fun…all the time. Since play time is vital to the human development, Playworks looks to provide these experiences for children. Interested in donating? Here are some options:
1. Donate financially to the cause
2. They always need volunteers in the cities to watch recess, run groups, coach teams, etc.
Most Likely to Horse Around: Silver Lining Riding (Not ranked since it doesn’t make enough money)
Just outside of Phoenix stands a stable with two horses providing therapeutic horseback riding programs. This small organization has only been open since 2011 and they rely heavily on their volunteers, of which our father is one, to coach and lead as each rider requires three adults’ assistance. Offered to students with physical, mental, emotional, or cognitive challenges, Silver Lining Riding helps students overcome obstacles by increasing their life skills through riding as well as caring for the animals. They have an equestrian team for the Special Olympics and offer adult programs. If you do not have the time/live too far away to help out, please consider financially supporting this impressive organization.
What are you doing to participate in #GivingTuesday? What is your favorite cause or organization? Share with us!