12 Ways To Celebrate Giving Tuesday This Year & Give Back To Your Community

If Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't your jam, consider contributing to social good during 2017 holidays instead. You can give back this holiday season with these 12 ways to celebrate Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. While it can be hard to summon gratitude during the dumpster fire we're calling 2017, if you have a roof over your head and clothes on your back you're already doing better than a lot of people. And, it's important to remember that there is always something to be thankful for — even if it's just being grateful that 2017 is almost over.

If you're not familiar with Giving Tuesday, it began six years ago as global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. According to the Giving Tuesday website, this annual day of giving was created by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y — a cultural center in New York City that has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back since 1874.

Giving Tuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving. If you want to fuel social good this holiday season, these ways to celebrate Giving Tuesday can get you started.

1. Download The Social-Impact App Beam

If you have to shop anyways, Beam is a new social-impact app that can help you find retailers that support causes that matter to you so you can be sure your holiday gift purchases are doing double duty. When you shop at places on the Beam app you can choose a non-profit that has partnered with that business, and a portion of the sale will be donated for you.

2. Buy Your Breakfast From The Soulfull Project

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Since you have to eat it to keep yourself fueled for the upcoming 2017 Holiday shopping and socializing marathon, why not buy your breakfast from The Soulfull Project, an organization that donates a serving of its cereal to a local food bank in your region for every serving you buy. Basically, by eating breakfast you're ensuring that someone else gets breakfast, too. And, all of the products are non-GMO, so you can feel good about both eating it and giving it to someone else.

3. Low On Funds? Give Your Time

If you're cash poor this holiday season, you can still give back on Giving Tuesday. The Giving Tuesday website can help you find organizations in your area that are looking for volunteers. Take the time Nov. 28 to sign up to volunteer for an organization that needs your help because giving time helps just as much as giving money, and you'll have the opportunity to see just how much of an impact you can make by donating your free time to a good cause.

4. Support Organizations Fighting For Your Rights

Organizations that are fighting for women's rights need your help more than ever. Consider committing a monthly donation to one of many groups that actively fighting for women's rights, or an organization fighting for LGBTQIA equality. Even if you can only give $5, every little bit helps.

5. Give To The Born This Way Foundation

Being a child and teenager is hard. While some people look back on these years as some of the best of their lives, other are continuously working to overcome trauma from bullying. Additionally, millions of teens struggle with mental health issues. Consider giving your time or your dollars to The Born This Way Foundation to help empower today's youth so they can become tomorrow's leaders.

6. Commit To Being Kind

Being kind to one another is something everyone can do every day, however I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in your own problems and to take your frustrations out on others. This Giving Tuesday, commit to small acts of kindness all day long. Whether it's paying for a stranger's coffee, or letting someone merge while you're stuck in traffic, kindness is contagious. And, a little goes a long way — do you part and pass it on.

7. Foster A Shelter Pet

If you have the time and space to foster a pet, this is a great way to give back on Giving Tuesday. Unfortunately, pet surrenders spike during the holidays, which means that homeless pets are in need of a safe space to stay until they find the fur-ever homes. If you can't commit to adopting, being a foster pet parent is a perfect way to help socialize animals to get them ready for adoption. If fostering is too much of a commitment, most shelters are looking for volunteers to walk dogs and spend time with other animals. Some places even let you bring a pet home for the weekend so they can get some good lovin' in a real home. You can go to the Shelter Pet Project to find pet shelters and rescues in your area.

8. Share Your Story To Raise Money

According to the Giving Tuesday website, #MyGivingStory is a social media storytelling contest created to foster a public conversation about giving and to inspire more people to give. By sharing your giving story you could win up to $10,000 to donate to the nonprofit of your choice.

9. Get Informed About Giving

If you're not sure where to give your time, money, or resources this Giving Tuesday to ensure your donation does the most good, you can get informed about great giving through this Giving Tuesday campaign. Learn about which kinds of giving make the most impact, how organizations spend the money you donate, and which companies will match your donation.

10. Clean Out Your Closet

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of what you own and decide what you really need so you don't get buried under all of your stuff. Take some time this Giving Tuesday to clean out your closet and donate all of the items you no longer need to Goodwill or a local homeless shelter. If there are things hanging in your closet that you haven't worn since the '90s, those items could help someone else make a fresh start. Many shelters also accept books and household items, and by giving your items a second life you're also keeping your unwanted stuff out of the waste stream, which is good for the environment.

11. Volunteer To Cuddle Babies

If you love babies, but aren't ready to have your own, many hospitals have volunteer cuddling programs where trained volunteers spend a few hours snuggling premies and other babies who need special attention because human contact is a key component in helping babies thrive. "Human touch is more powerful than people realize. When preemie babies are held, they feel secure and loved, and it also helps them to grow and recover from their physical problems,” Gail Hill, who cuddles premies in California said on UC Irvine Health. "It’s satisfying to know I’ve played some small part in such a tiny person's life." If you're interested in learning more, check with hospitals in your area for volunteer opportunities. While you may not be able to starting cuddling on Giving Tuesday, you can use this day to learn more about how to get involved.

12. Snap An UNselfie To Promote Giving Tuesday

While it can sometimes feel boastful to talk about giving time or money to worthy causes, Giving Tuesday is one day where you're encouraged to let everyone know why you're giving. Seriously, this is the one time that posting a selfie is not a selfish act. Post your #UNselfie to social media on #GivingTuesday to let everyone know which organization you're supporting and why. Then, ask your friends and family to join in to help make a difference, because giving to others is really what the holidays are all about. Need some inspiration to get started? These Giving Tuesday stories will give you all of the feels and get you excited to create your own Giving Tuesday narrative.