Charitable giving always seems to be a little more top-of-mind during the holidays. We’re reminded of the many things we take for granted and the sufferings of those who are less fortunate. However, this awareness often fades just as quickly as our New Year’s resolutions. Imagine the impact we might have if we practiced accessing the generosity of our Holiday Spirit at other times throughout the year.
This past Tuesday was #GivingTuesday, a movement that started in NYC by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in 2012, and has now spread around the world. While this year’s totals have not yet been compiled, the 2017 numbers are impressive:
- $300 million raised online on Tuesday, November 26, 2017, with approximately 15% of that total coming from folks donating through Facebook
- Gifts came from 150+ countries
- 50 countries have their own #GivingTuesday movements
- 5 million online gifts
- Average gift size of $120
According to a national survey by the John Templeton Foundation in 2015 “… only 18% of people know about #GivingTuesday vs. 93% of people who know about Black Friday.” Though not part of the survey, Cyber Monday is also likely to be more widely known than #GivingTuesday. This is a relatively new movement and over time, I hope that the awareness about it will continue to increase.
At Abacus, one of our core values is to serve others. We strive to put the needs of our clients, employees and our local communities ahead of our own desires, and we do this in a number of ways.
Recently, our Abacus Philadelphia office hosted a group of young women (pictured right) from YearUp, an organization that provides a one-year training program for under-served 18 to 24-year-olds. The program includes coursework for college credit, mentorship, corporate internship and a living stipend. YearUp was started in 2000 in Boston and is now in 18 states with 28+ locations.
The women that we hosted were primarily interested in business. They came with questions and took notes. They wanted to see what our office looked like and learn about our work histories. Over pizza and soda, we had a 2-hour conversation that covered everything from what it’s like to be a female in the work place to interview preparation and asking for a raise.
Not surprising to us, the topic that generated the most conversation had to do with personal finance. They wanted to know about building credit, establishing good financial habits, and educating their families around money. It was an incredible way for our team to provide valuable knowledge and experience and required simply our willingness to make a connection and share.
This opportunity opened a door for us to continue making an impact. We hope to have this group return to our office in the future and we also hope to establish a mentor relationship with one or more of the women.
Giving doesn’t have to happen on a Tuesday and it doesn’t have to be solely monetary. When we generously share what we have, whether it’s our time, knowledge or dollars, we just might begin a movement of our own – like #GivingTuesday, which started as a simple idea and a hope that others would follow.