My (liberal) opinion

#Hashtag for good

These days it’s all about trending. Grab a catchy hashtag, throw in a few celeb friends, and you’re set! We are a society of sharers. From our first heartache to our first baby bump, we’ll tell you everything. And we want to be a part of it all – we are a nation of FOMOs. Fear-of-missing-outters. Well now that sharing, coupled with desire to never be in the dark is doing something GREAT. #Givingtuesday.

Our bellies are no longer stuffed with turkey. The midnight madness has come and gone. Our CYBERMON promo codes are no longer valid. And now we go back to the ho-hum of our daily lives. But what’s this? Something’s trending? #Givingtuesday is here and it’s the best trend ever.
How do you make the most of this trend? Be a part of it, but wait! Don’t donate… just yet. To make the most of this – make sure you do it all for the right reasons. There are so many tweets, so many messages, telling you who to donate to. I know it’d be so easy to donate to Ellen’s “fav” charity, then you can reply “Hey Ellen, I totally love that charity, glad we both donated!” and wait anxiously for her to reply… please recognize me!!
No – this trend is one trend that is bigger than you. Bigger than Ellen (gasp!)
Even though the trend only comes once a year, your charity should be an on-going thing, it should be a relationship. One in which you give and then receive great karma and good feelings. Even though this is just one day and you may not have the money to donate every day – consider donating your time and goods throughout the year.
“But it’s called #givingtuesday, how do I make the most of this Tuesday?!” Start with some passion, add in some research, donate, and finish with a hashtag, 4 simple steps:
Close your eyes (and your laptop)
What is your PASSION? Think for just a second. What gets you upset? What change do you want to see in the world? The injustices against minorities? Kids on the street? Our rising obesity? Your mother’s cancer?
Alright – now you’re thinking about your passion, the problem you want to help solve. You may be angry, you may be in tears, let that emotion help you in the next step.
Open your computer and your mind (woah)
You’ll need that emotion, that fire, to get you through some research.
Step one: FIND A CHARITY. Maybe you just don’t know who addresses these issues. Maybe you just give to the Symphony because your friend does. Or you donate to a charity because you saw an ad. Now is the time to look for a charity that speaks to you. Don’t just google. Search your neighborhood, your friends, your family – look for any organization that aligns with your passion. In fact, find a couple, because you may need a backup after step 2.
 Step two: Alright, you found two charities that address your cause. Your friend told you about one and the other you found through google (it’s probably a big name to get a top spot). So now you go directly to Guidestar.org and you research them more, check out their financials, see where your money is being spent.
Still not sure? Call them up. Talk to them. Maybe you check out their space. Ask them directly, “where does my money go?”
Pull out your plastic
Time to donate. Anything you have. $5? Great! With the money everybody else donated today, it may mean making $500 or even $5000 for that charity which is great for one day. Maybe you only have $5 but your budget for your brother’s gift is $40. Go ahead and give $20 in his name, they’ll send him a card and then you can get him something great and small for the rest (don’t worry, he’ll be so touched that you donated that any other gift will pale in comparison)
Remember, you can donate time (read to the elderly), skills (balance the shelter’s books for free), goods (they’re always looking for something)  – don’t be discouraged by your budget. Give what you can, money or not.
Get your tweet on!
Well, you did it. You were a part of #givingtuesday. Go ahead and brag! Get your credit, relish the good deed you did today. It may seem vain. I volunteer and don’t tweet because it seems like bragging.  But, you know, if I inspire just one other person to volunteer, it’s worth it. We have followers, let them follow you not only online, but also in life. Enjoy your moment and make it count. Tomorrow you’ll return to using twitter to retweet cat videos and catching up on “news” from the Kardashians.
Even if you don’t give on #givingtuesday, but give on #randomthursday – let people know. Or maybe you donate your time in April and a some canned goods in June, great! TWEET it! share it! You may end up starting a new trend.

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