It’s #GivingTuesday. I challenge you to give half of what you spent shopping this week.

It’s #GivingTuesday, the icing on the cake to #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday; it’s the day that we give en masse because really, all this spending and spending on material items is fine, but it’s better if paired with giving back.

But where to give? I asked some people their ideas, which I am excited to share with you along with a few of my favorites.

  • From Jess in Los Angeles, CA, there’s Campfire USA, an organization that emphasizes leadership and service with youth. Fun fact: their motto is “WoHeLo,” an acronym for Work, Health, Love, which embodies the welcoming and supportive camp spirit.
  • From both Daniel and Kent (independently!) in Queens, NY, there’s Child’s Play a nonprofit that donates video games to children’s hospitals. Says Kent, “While I cannot cure a single disease or injury, by donating to this charity I know that I can, at the very least, make some children happy, and forget about pain and needles and examinations and boredom, if just for a little bit.”
  • From Jenni in Boston, MA, there’s a service learning immersion trip to Nicaragua in January 2013 for Boston College undergraduate students that you can donate to here. Jenni also makes jewelry and donates 15% of profits from those with pink beads to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  • From Amber in Washington, DC, there’s Mobilize.org, an organization that empowers and invests in Millennials.
  • From Brady* in Brooklyn, NY, there’s Natural Resources Defense Council, which works to protect wildlife and wild places and to ensure a healthy environment for all life on earth, and the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people.
  • From Jess in Norwich, CT, there’s Jane Doe Inc, which is the Mass. Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. 
  • From Davin in Santa Monica, CA, there’s Innovations for Poverty Action, which uses research techniques to develop and test solutions to real-world problems faced by developing countries.
  • From Carolan in Boston, MA, there’s Last Hope K9, an animal rescue organization.
  • From Doug in Washington, DC, there’s Congressional Chorus, which provides musical education to youth in the DC area.
  • From Margaret in Brooklyn, NY, there’s Our Time, which helps kids who stutter to gain confidence while exploring artistic expression.

My personal favorites: LIFT (one stop social service agency empowering community members through employment, public benefits, skill development, taxes, and more), City Harvest (food rescue and distribution in NYC), New York Cares (powerhouse hub of volunteer opportunities in NYC), Artistic Noise (helping juvenile delinquents grow leadership skills and process experiences through art), and Health Horizons (improving health and healthcare in communities in the Dominican Republic).

And, if you don’t know exactly where to give, check out sites like donorschoose.org (thanks Oriana!), onepercentfoundation.org (a favorite of mine), networkforgood.org (the hub of online giving), and of course givingtuesday.org.

*A thought on giving that Brady shared that I completely agree with:

While it’s great that lots of people have given lots of donations for Hurricane Sandy recovery, I’d encourage people to dig a bit deeper and remember the charities that *aren’t* Sandy related. I feel that most people sensibly have a set amount of charity they typically contribute in general, and something like Sandy obviously is a headliner that requires a lot of help. But I think that might actually hurt some of the smaller charities that rely on donations but don’t get a piece of the Sandy stuff….

Happy Giving!

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