Giving back on Giving Tuesday

Last year you might remember we tried something new on Giving Tuesday: Instead of asking, our small but mighty staff gave back by volunteering for causes we care about.

We love the concept of Giving Tuesday, but to be honest, our local United Way has struggled a bit with how to engage in a meaningful way. Giving Tuesday is the ‘opening day of the giving season,’ but falls smack dab in the middle of our community-wide United Way Campaign, a time when our donors and volunteers are hyper-engaged and hearing from us a lot already.

So taking off our fundraising hats and rolling up our sleeves seemed like the right thing to do.

What a great day we had! I got to serve dessert to a room full of under-six-year-olds participating in the Family Education and Support program at Mennonite Community Services, a United Way partner agency in Aylmer. Kids at this program participate in pre-school readiness while their Moms, mostly newcomers, learn English as a second language.

Just being around all that energy and excitement (I know, it was mostly for the pudding) filled me with gratitude all day.

I heard similar stories from our staff team too. They loved the opportunity to take a few of hours out of their day to volunteer for a cause that’s meaningful to them.

One group made reindeer-inspired hot chocolate bundles and delivered them to local agencies who work with our community’s most vulnerable every day. They told me about a staffer who was so touched by this small kindness, she just about burst into tears. This simple gesture was a bright light in a very tough week.

Other staff volunteered in their kids’ classrooms, tidied and organized donated goods, prepped and served meals, or provided admin support—all at local non-profit organizations, some funded by United Way and some not. You can see our team in action in our video from the day here:

This is the second year we’ve given back on Giving Tuesday instead of asking. Does that make it a new tradition? I think maybe it does.

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