Keep the spirit of Giving Tuesday in your heart this holiday season. Give what you can in whatever form that takes, because no contribution is too small: here are some creative ways you can spread the love.
In 2012, in an effort to refocus this season of gratitude on some… well, gratitude, Giving Tuesday was developed at the 92nd Street Y and became a global movement, coming on the heels of Thanksgiving, Black Friday (for shopping), Small Business Saturday (also for shopping, but at small businesses rather than national chains), and Cyber Monday (also for shopping, but online).
The day is dedicated to doing good. This year, in the midst of a global pandemic that’s made essentially everything virtual, it’s largely relegated to Facebook fundraisers and donation drives. Facebook itself matched contributions made on its platform up to $7 million.
As a content creator, it’s easy for me to start feeling jaded this time of year. We all blast our messaging as loud as we can, hoping our virtual voice is louder than everyone else’s, that our plea for donations will come through strong enough to convince a public who is still reeling in the midst of a global pandemic that seems poised to take an even darker turn this winter to part with their hard-earned dollars — if they’re able to earn at all right now — and give them to a nonprofit who seeks in its own unique way to try to make the world a little bit better. 2021 is predicted to be one of the most difficult years nonprofits will ever face, and everyone is trying to set themselves up to face that challenge in good shape.
But whether you’re out there working to try to encourage donations on this day, or deciding where your donation should go — there are so many deserving equine and equestrian causes — the point of this day is not to burn you out or steamroller you with constant pleas for attention. The point of Giving Tuesday, especially in this year that has been so hard for so many, is to think of others first — to give, to put a little gratitude in your heart as we head into the December holiday season.
And there are so many ways to give. Donations don’t just have to be in cash (although there is no nonprofit out there that will refuse your donation on this day, or any day). Here are some other things you could give this season:
- Time. Volunteering for your favorite equine/equestrian charity can look like many things: mucking stalls, serving as a side walker, grooming rescue horses, hand-walking rehab cases, painting fences, weeding the garden, manning an information table, cleaning the office, working a phone bank, stuffing gift bags. For some tasks, horse experience isn’t necessarily critical.
- Supplies. Ask at your favorite charity and see what they need. A therapeutic riding center may need a new mounting block; a horse rescue may need its first-aid kit refilled. Everyone needs basic office and cleaning supplies. On your next feed run, throw a few extra bales of hay or few extra bags of grass pellets into your order for the local rescue.
- Services. Your unique set of gifts can go a long way to helping a nonprofit if you’re willing to donate your time or offer a reduced rate for your services. Accountants, lawyers, electricians, handymen, diesel mechanics… to system administrators, graphic designers, social media managers and more. Think outside the box and figure out how you can apply your professional skills to help your favorite nonprofit thrive.
Want to make a monetary donation? Here are a few equine/equestrian nonprofits with national reach:
AAEP’s Foundation For the Horse: disaster relief, veterinary relief in developing countries, veterinary scholarships, and equine research
Brooke USA: US-based arm of The Brooke, which provides relief and assistance through education and resources to working equines around the world
EQUUS Foundation: dedicated to ensuring the welfare of America’s horses and fostering the horse-human bond, through aiding horse rescues, equine-assisted services, and equine retirement
Retired Racehorse Project: market-based approach to increase demand for Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in the equestrian industry
Thoroughbred Charities of America: grantmaking organization dedicated to Thoroughbred aftercare, backstretch and farm employee programs, and equine-assisted therapy programs
Keep the spirit of Giving Tuesday in your heart this holiday season. Give what you can in whatever form that takes, because no contribution is too small.