SHOPPING! No seriously, I mean it. Or put a different way, our daily purchasing power. In the United States alone our GDP is around $17 trillion, and somewhere between 65% and 72% of that is consumer spending. When it comes to discretionary spending focused on wants versus needs, the role of the holiday season is particularly huge. For 2015 it was estimated that retail sales reached $630 billion USD, and if that number holds true for 2016, that’s a lot of spending power that can be used for good.
It’s often the case that in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and oftentimes the rush to find a gift, any gift, it can be easy to forget that every time you spend a dollar, that exchange is an exchange of power. Financial power. Companies understand this well, and they spend billions of dollars every year trying to convince you to give them your purchasing power. When I give talks about how to use all the financial resources you have in alignment with your vision and values, purchasing power is where the most lightbulbs go off. We are trained to think of our charitable dollars as what we do for good, but that is so limited. Total philanthropic giving annually in the US is around $360 billion, and as per above, that number is only half of the spending during the holiday season alone. Of course, we should all give more to charitable causes,…
Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would also add Food Hangover Saturday and Airport Dash Sunday to that list. All in all it’s a busy weekend. Between the travelling, eating, shopping, and family fun times, it can be easy to forget that the true purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday is to give thanks. There are many ways to give thanks, but one way in particular that we are able to give thanks is financially on Giving Tuesday.
Now in its fifth year, Giving Tuesday is a worldwide movement founded in 2012 by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, which aims to amplify year end giving and philanthropy. Much like Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, Giving Tuesday marks the start of the holiday charitable season, and since its founding in 2012, this movement has spread to over 71 countries around the world. In 2015, over a million gifts were made online, raising over $115 million for charitable causes, and #GivingTuesday registered 114 billion impressions on Twitter alone. That is an incredible impact in a short period of time. That is the power of campaigns, which as a philanthropy geek I think a lot about.
For me, giving is a year round endeavor, and it is impossible to add up the hours I spend…
I spent the last 2 weeks in Australia on tour with the Women Donors Network, which meant I was not here, in the United States, during the actual election. As a feminist, and a humanist, I am upset by the results, and will continue to all I can to support women’s rights, and the dignity of all people. This poem was posted somewhere and seemed a perfect one to post at this time.
To Be of Use
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to…