Nov 18, 2020

In times of crisis, community-organized movements have become the default response. Communities and individuals have stepped up to fill the gap left by the government’s late response to keep affected areas and families safe, warm and fed. 

While acts of kindness and bayanihan aren’t timebound, a day filled with generosity and doing good can remind us to keep going despite facing struggles both big and small. 

That’s what #GivingTuesday aims to accomplish this Dec. 1. 

 

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is an international generosity initiative that centers around a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. No, donations are not accepted but organizations and individuals are given a boost with word about their generosity. Giving Tuesday started in the United States in 2012 and has since been adapted by countries all over the world.

 

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If the name sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because you’ve probably already heard of it. Famous names like former United States first lady Michelle Obama, the British royal Meghan Markle, Chris Evans, Heidi Klum and Bill Gates have taken part in this initiative. 

The movement found its way to the Philippines by way of Coey Lorenzana. Coey was looking for more creative ways to give back to the community online when she stumbled upon Giving Tuesday. “When I was looking online, there were so many references to Giving Tuesday. I reached out to them and they said it wasn’t in the Philippines yet and for me, it was just a good opportunity to bring it here,” she said. 

According to Coey—who is now Giving Tuesday’s global leader for the Philippines—the entire initiative’s idea is rooted in uniting ourselves in expressing generosity. “I think we all have the capacity to give. We are all givers. In sharing stories of people around the world and also locally, we are able to give people opportunities to express different forms of generosity,” she continued.

 

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Although the movement’s local presence is only about a month old, it’s already setting its sights on big goals. “Our [goal] is really to spread generosity [to] over 7,000 islands and to unite us all in this one day of giving,” Coey said.

Some companies and organizations that have pledged to take part in this movement are The World Wildlife Foundation Philippines, Zonta Makati, Environs, Zalora Philippines, Asia Society, Shi Lin and Childhope Philippines. 

“Here in the Philippines, we have [charitable] programs year round. You hear about the campaigns of corporations for their CSR, and individual givers who also embark on their own programs to help those in need. Our goal is really just for one day, to unite all those efforts under this umbrella [movement] of Giving Tuesday,” she added.

 

Where can I sign up?

Participating in Giving Tuesday is easy. You just need to do at least one good deed. 

“Generosity doesn’t always have to come in the form of monetary donations. Generosity is an opportunity [for people] to give back in a way that [they] are able to. I always say everybody has the capacity to give back, and we want people to give smarter. We want them to celebrate this spirit of giving,” Coey said. 

 

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There are different ways individuals can take part in the movement. According to her, it doesn’t have to involve money at all. “There are many ways to manifest generosity without pulling out your wallet. It can be as simple as calling a friend, or letting someone go before you while you’re in line for something,” she said. 

There are also tons of ways for businesses to take part in the movement. One of the simplest ways businesses or brands can join is by pledging a portion of sales to an organization that reflects the company’s culture. Matching donations made by customers or staff to a cause that’s important to the organization or their employees is another idea. 

“Giving Tuesday is really just the first step on a journey towards being kind. It’s like forming a habit. [When] you’re generous, you feel good. It kind of becomes a part of your everyday life. And after a while, it comes (naturally). I think that’s the transformative power of generosity.”

For smaller or newer non-profit organizations or foundations, Giving Tuesday can be an opportunity to make their cause known to the greater public. These charitable groups can campaign for their cause under the banner of Giving Tuesday. 

“It’s like running a Mother’s Day campaign [for brands],” Coey said. “If you post about it just once, people might not see it. But if you put in the work and come up with promotions and really just get the word out there, there’s a better chance of getting noticed. If you put the work in, it’ll give just as much—if not more,” she added.

Another way to join Giving Tuesday is by giving the movement a signal boost on social media. Word of mouth is still the most effective way to reach people, and by using the hashtag #GivingTuesdayPH on Dec. 1, the message of kindness and generosity online is amplified. 

 

Cultivating a culture of kindness and community

In the end, it’s a movement that’s built on community. According to Coey, “The collective power of partners—nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—will create unity by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.”

“Giving Tuesday is really just the first step on a journey towards being kind. It’s like forming a habit. [When] you’re generous, you feel good. It kind of becomes a part of your everyday life. And after a while, it comes (naturally). I think that’s the transformative power of generosity,” Coey concludes.

The world—especially of late—has not been very kind. Calamities batter us from all sides, and we’re basically left to our own devices for survival. That being said, we should still strive to be as kind and giving to each other as much as we can.  

As the saying goes, “It costs nothing to be kind,” and Giving Tuesday is here to make sure we all remember that. 

To learn more about the Giving Tuesday PH movement, follow them on Instagram at @givingtuesdayphils or like their Facebook page @GivingTuesdayPH. 

 

Header photo courtesy of Tim Marshall on Unsplash

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