Today is Giving Tuesday. As I try to rid my inbox of all the emails that flooded in trying to sell me stuff for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I worry that Giving Tuesday might pass us by in Australia with barely a whimper. And that is a shame.
Giving Tuesday is a movement started in 2012 with a simple idea; to create a day that encourages people to focus on doing good. While one point of view might suggest it is sad that we should need to do this, I suggest that unless we particularly focus on the act of giving, it can too easily get lost in the busyness of our lives.
I witnessed that first-hand this year. Our heartstrings were pulled by a gorgeous little girl called Sarah and her Mum, Amanda. Amanda is the most resilient, kind and loving parents you could meet. Sarah is a survivor of shaken baby syndrome who suffers now from the effects of cerebral palsy. At Bright People we decided that we could do something to help Sarah by raising funds for a car that would allow her to move around more freely and safely, something we all take for granted in our daily lives. I am so very happy that we were able to achieve this goal before Christmas and that Sarah now has a new Kia Carnival with all the conversions that she needs.
When we started our campaign to raise funds for this car, I was encouraged by the positive words of support from so many people. There’s no doubt that we are all moved by stories like Sarah’s, but what I’ve come to realise is that we are not all moved to “give” when the time comes. Converting goodwill into “doing good” is a far more complex equation than I ever appreciated, and I take my hat off to all fundraisers. Frankly, I think it’s one of the hardest jobs around.
I’ve since discovered that for all the immensely successful campaigns we hear about on fundraising sites, the majority don’t reach their goals. In fact they fall far short, with the average collecting only 19% of their goal.
I’m incredibly grateful to those who did participate and contribute when we reached out for Sarah. I hope they feel the high that comes from helping others. Generous people live more satisfied lives and I think we all know that Winston Churchill was right when he said “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
So if Giving Tuesday can help us all to pay a little bit more attention to being generous, giving and doing good, I’m all for it. Children like Sarah cannot live a full life unless we all occasionally share our good fortune. One of the most beautiful donations was for $2, from someone who read about Sarah’s story and had grown up as a student in special schools. This person apologised about not having much to give… to me it was the biggest and kindest donation of all! And it’s is not all about giving money. Sometimes we can help better by giving of our time, or our voice, or our talents. Whenever you feel moved to give, don’t hesitate. Not only can you change someone’s life, giving is an act that will enrich your own life.
https://www.givingtuesday.org – Original US site
https://www.givingtuesday.org.au – Australian site
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-17/gofundme-folau-factor-helped-marko-but-not-raaf-vet/11696444 – reference for the 19% figure