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9 Ways To Give Back This Giving Tuesday

With or without $$.

Margaret Flatley/Bustle
Updated: 

Early last week, Black Friday probably felt like it was five hundred years away. But then you blinked, and now it's Giving Tuesday. Everything feels more than a little different this year, but yes, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is still the day you get all those emails asking you to donate. But breaking out your wallet is only one of the many ways to give back on Giving Tuesday.

Starting on Dec. 1, Giving Tuesday will kick off the official charity season, prompting people to connect with an organization or cause that needs help. Once you pick a place to donate time or money to, you can share the news with #GivingTuesday to spread awareness and inspire others to partake in the spirit. Charities can sometimes be overwhelmed with volunteers during this season — so if places nearby you don't need any extra physical hands, ask if there are supplies you can buy for them, or if they'd prefer donations to help with their operating costs. If this has been a difficult year for you financially, you can still support your favorite causes by raising awareness on social media, signing petitions, and educating yourself and those around you on important issues — all for free.

With so many dire causes and amazing organizations, it can be overwhelming to wade through it all and find your perfect match. When in doubt, you can always check the efficiency and rating of a charity you're interested on CharityNavigatory.org and evaluate the organization's ethics with trans activist Dean Spade's guide to assessing charities. If you're looking for ways to spend your money and time on important causes today, here are nine causes to support on Giving Tuesday.

1
Support Environmental Justice

Just because the weather is getting nippier doesn't mean climate change isn't still very real and devastating. Consider that the most destructive wildfires in California history raged just two and a half months ago, which might inform how you give this Tuesday. PODER is a San Francisco-based, Latinx immigrant and youth-led organization dedicated to racial justice through promoting affordable housing, public parks, and urban gardens. Donating to PODER helps fund leadership programs and directly supports community organizing for urban environmental justice. You can also donate to the Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint, which is working to train community leaders to advocate for shaping urban land-use policies and help residents of Flint, Michigan, understand and push for their environmental health rights.

Can't donate money right now? Get educated on local climate justice issues to find out how you can be an advocate in your community.

2
Support Mutual Aid Efforts

One way to continue your Thanksgiving observance is to donate to the Radical Indigenous Mutual Aid Emergency Fund, which is distributed to different Indigenous-led mutual aid groups that support their local communities. (Mutual aid is a form of community care that involves a reciprocal exchange of resources and services.)

If donating isn't in the cards for you this year, learn more about how mutual aid is essential to community survival, and get involved in a group near you (a quick search of "your city + mutual aid" will help).

3
Help Reduce Food Insecurity

Sometimes, there's more to donate than just money. You can give the gifts of both time and canned goods to local food banks that need your support, especially as the holidays continue to roll in.

If COVID-related or other circumstances mean that food banks aren't your best choice this year, you can stick to helping reduce food insecurity from your phone or computer. Join the National Black Food And Justice Alliance in advocating for Black farmers with petitions like this one on Color of Change.

4
Support Mental Health Awareness

The holidays can be a tough season, perhaps especially if people can't be together in person. To help promote mental health education and advocacy, you can donate to the New York Coalition for Asian American Mental Health, which has continued to host virtual events to promote mental health awareness and support (and for folks to enjoy themselves playing Among Us) during COVID-19. You can also donate to GirlTrek, a movement to promote the physical and mental health of Black women and girls. Want to focus on promoting youth mental health this holiday season? There's always The Trevor Project, which offers crisis intervention and support to LGBTQ+ youth in crisis.

5
Help Cancel Student Debt

It might seem like the only way to fight student debt financially is to pay for your own. But if you're able, you can participate in efforts to #BuyBackBlackDebt, which enables people to donate towards relieving Black students' debt. If you're not in a position to donate money, sign this Move On petition encouraging Congress to cancel student debt in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

6
Support Disability Justice

While the inequities facing people with disabilities across the U.S. are far from new occurrences, the pandemic has brought these issues front and center. The National Black Disability Coalition (NBDC) promotes disability justice through civil rights movement-inspired advocacy, and with unique opportunities like scholarships for Black high school students with disabilities. Donating to NBDC can help keep their virtual COVID-19 programming afloat, including anti-racism trainings for other disability justice organizations.

Looking to donate your time rather than your cash? Consider volunteering for Protest Access, which needs help with transcribing, captioning, and providing video support to anti-racism and Black Lives Matter media materials so they can be accessible to all folks.

7
Support Immigration Rights

The Immigrant Defense Project works year-round to help defend communities from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and supporting lawsuits that seek to protect immigrants from deportations. You can donate here to support justice in immigration policies.

You can also sign this American Civil Liberties Union petition encouraging Congress to divest from ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

8

Support Anti-Racist Education

Giving Tuesday doesn't only have to be about "giving" to organizations (although, that too). You can also give the gift of anti-racist education to your dad (who's been trying but still isn't quite there yet). By donating to the Anti-Racism Daily newsletter, which features actions to take every day against white supremacy, you can support the newsletter and encourage better holiday meal conversations all at the same time.

Don't worry if you can't spare the cash. It's always free to sign yourself and your friends up for the newsletter on its own.

9
Support Community Alternatives To Policing

2020 highlighted so many structural problems in the U.S., with racist police killings chief among them. This reckoning prompted a call for defunding or abolishing the police, which really just means empowering people in communities to take care of each other. To support community-based alternatives to policing, you can donate to JusticeLA, which combats the construction of new jails in LA and works to create alternatives to incarceration.

You can also go the non-monetary route of supporting efforts (both online and IRL) to pass the Breathe Act, which would divest federal funds from incarceration and policing. The Breathe Act would redirect resources into counseling and trauma-trained interventions instead of police in schools, domestic violence, or mental health crisis situations.

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