Remember being a kid?
Remember when the holidays seemed, like, a million years away? And when you’re all grown up all of a sudden it’s BAM. They’re here?
Well the other day we were going over the staff calendar and realized BAM. Thanksgiving was just around the corner! We started prepping and planning our end of year giving strategy. Many of our donors like to make their gifts as the calendar draws to a close; it is, after all, a season of giving. Giving thanks, giving gifts, giving back.
Unless you live under a very large, comfortable rock, you probably know all about Black Friday: it’s one of the biggest, busiest shopping days of the years. With the advent of e-commerce came Cyber Monday, a frenzy of Amazon-ordering full of dangerous deals that offer the ease of one-click buying. But in the last few years a new trend has emerged: Giving Tuesday, the day to give a more special gift. To give back to the community by supporting those charities and nonprofits that are solving real problems, saving lives and strengthening our cities, towns and neighborhoods.
I didn’t realize that joining the Giving Tuesday community (or #GivingTuesday if you’re on social media) made us an important part of a local, national and international movement of philanthropy at it’s finest—giving back, plain and simple. If you were anywhere online on Tuesday—Facebook and Twitter, reading the news, caught in a deadly chain of YouTube videos, wherever—you probably saw a little of the Giving Tuesday frenzy. It was overwhelming, yet phenomenal, to see so many people giving back. Sharing their stories, spreading the love, donating what they could.
First, thank you to our donors: you freakin’ rock. We got gifts of $4 and $400, and every single one of them will have a tremendous impact on the arts. Thank you, thank you!
But more than that: thank you to everyone who participated in some way. Even if you weren’t giving to the Arts Council, it was amazing to see the swell of support for our local nonprofits. It wasn’t just about giving to us; it was just about giving—from the ASPCA to the YWCA and every acronym in between. On behalf of a sometimes frustrated, often inspired non-profit administrator, thank you. Here’s a hug.
Epilogue: A Staff Story
Sometimes we get a little too competitive. Occasionally, there’s an us versus them mentality in fundraising as different causes and organizations “compete” for limited resources from government, corporations and individuals. Everyone has a bottom line to meet.
But participating in Giving Tuesday brought an unexpected gift: the reminder that it’s not about one organization, one charity, or even one cause. It’s about ALL of them! It’s about the arts. It’s about social service agencies. It’s about family aid, healthcare, housing coalitions, education reform and human rights. Just like a jigsaw puzzle, no one piece is more important than the next: but you need all of them to complete the picture.
In preparing for our own #GivingTuesday campaign, I read an article about UNselfies. You’re probably familiar with the “selfie”: a picture, usually a headshot, of oneself posted on social media, usually on Facebook or Instagram. The UNselfie was an interesting new trend—unlike a selfie, an UNselfie isn’t about you. It’s about the charity you support, the cause you love. Remember giving back isn’t about the individual—it’s about the community.
So I talked to the staff, and asked them to share their own UNselfies. Besides the arts, what organizations and causes are important to them? Where do they give back? Because the arts are just one piece of a very deserving pie. Turns out, they all support so many worthy causes. So thank you again to my amazing co-workers who give back to the community every day in so many ways—and who agreed to let me snap an UNselfie of support.
Disclaimer: The staff UNselfie idea came out of a very selfish need to kick-start our new Instagram account. Check it out and see what we’re up to!