Dec. 1 is Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) — a day dedicated to simply encouraging people to do good around the world by giving their time, talents and treasure.
But that might be a bigger challenge this year as millions deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As unemployment has risen, so many people who have given to the Salvation Army in the past are in fact coming to us for help," said Kenneth Hodder, the Salvation Army's national commander.
A Gallup poll conducted during the coronavirus pandemic shows the percentage of Americans donating to charities hit a new low of 73%. In prior years' polling, the percentage is usually more than 80%.
"We're seeing demand absolutely skyrocket," said William Stoudt, executive director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a national nonprofit which focuses on necessary home repairs and renovations.
"People are out of work and they have literally no way to make a home repair," he told CNN.
"It could be a small leak, or it could be a massive renovation, pipe break, you name it. They have no resources and they have no one to turn to."
In May, the #GivingTuesday organization launched #GivingTuesdayNow as an emergency response to the pandemic, but the need remains great worldwide.
"I think we're all suffering in a collective way, and I think #GivingTuesday will actually be extra special this year because we can respond to that collective, universal suffering with universal generosity," said Asha Curran, CEO of #GivingTuesday.
"While we celebrate charitable giving, #GivingTuesday is not a fundraising day," Curran explained. "It's a day of generosity and we celebrate generosity in all of the many ways that it manifests, both monetarily and non-monetarily."
Here is how you can make a difference this #GivingTuesday.
Make a donation or start a fundraiser
Throughout our communities, nonprofit organizations are working tirelessly to make a difference. Consider making a monetary donation to a cause important to you.
Impact Your World has compiled a list of donation opportunities to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Simply select your area of interest and click the support button to donate.
A more hands-on way you can help is by starting a Facebook fundraiser for a nonprofit of your choice.
"The number one reason that people give is that they're asked to by someone that they trust," said Curran.
"So, if that community is on Facebook, great. If that community is on something else, then go there."
Give your time
"#GivingTuesday was founded on the idea that everyone, everywhere has something to give," said Curran.
"Philanthropy is not the exclusive province of people with millions or billions of dollars — generosity is a value that literally anyone, anywhere can express."
"We're seeing increasing demand, but we have no volunteers," said Stoudt. His nonprofit, like most, relies heavily on the efforts of volunteers for projects.
You might want to consider creating a mutual aid network. This is a type of self-organized volunteerism that connects those who want to help to those in need. During the pandemic, these types of groups have thrived across the country.
For all volunteer opportunities, please keep in mind the safety recommendations outlined by the CDC.
Lend your voice
You have the power to transform your community by lending your voice to advocate for the causes and issues you care about.
"There's so much power in people using their collective voice to inspire generosity," said Curran.
You can start a forum to discuss and address community issues, tweet support for your favorite nonprofit or even send thank you notes to those making an impact.
"I think that that brings a lot of hope and inspiration and optimism to people," Curran said.
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