Mayfield: Giving Tuesday is your chance to make a real difference

Nov 28, 2023, 11:35 AM | Updated: 3:32 pm

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)...

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Open your email, listen to those voicemails, check your DMS or your text today, and it is tough to miss. Every nonprofit out there is reminding you that today is Giving Tuesday.

It’s a holiday that started back in 2012, as just a hashtag on social media. It was an attempt at the time to divert some of your spending from Black Friday and Cyber Monday to help others.

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It has grown into one of the single biggest donation days of the entire calendar year for many charities. But this year, it could be a day that makes or breaks a lot of not-for-profits.

This morning, the Associated Press is reporting that donations are way down across the board. In previous years, organizations have made Giving Tuesday the extra gravy to their Thanksgiving meal, so they have room to breathe. But not this year — they do not have room to breathe.

At the same time, the need has grown exponentially. Visits to food banks across the country are way up. Locally, at the University District Food Bank, for example, the Seattle Times reports that demand is up 47%. That’s just compared to last year.

Eviction rates at the same time are climbing as well. Pandemic aid has dried up, rents are going up, inflation is climbing, and homelessness rates are up 11% year over year, that’s nationwide, according to The Wall Street Journal.

I could go on and cite more and more stats, but the point is, the number of people and families who need help is greater than it has been in a long time.

This leads me back to Giving Tuesday. You’re going to hear these stories of need and say a prayer of thanks that it isn’t your family, and that’s a beautiful thing. But if that is you, this message is for you, please put that prayer on the memo line of a check or in the message bubble while you’re filling out an online donation pledge sheet.

Think for a moment about how grateful you are, and then try to share some of that gratitude with a charity or two that you believe will make things better. It might be a food bank or an organization helping the unhoused. Or maybe it’s a grief support group or a shoestring arts organization. Maybe it’s all of them, today is the day to do it.

Because today, a lot of charities have rich donors willing to match the amount of money you’re donating. So it could double or triple what you’re giving. And if you work in the tech sector (or any number of companies really), you can also get them to match your donations.

So think about that, and do the math really quickly. If you gave today, you gave through your company, they doubled it. And then a nonprofit donor tripled that amount. That makes a difference.

If we all gave a little more this year, knowing the need is much more, than we could make a real difference.

So, spend some time today looking at those emails. Listen to those voicemails, read your DMS and texts from the nonprofits that you know and interact with.

And please make a donation.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Mayfield: Giving Tuesday is your chance to make a real difference