Have you witnessed:
- The face of a wounded veteran and his or her drive to recover?
- The exhaustion of military parents with a hospitalized child?
- The confusion of a new military spouse?
- The toll that repeated deployments take on a marriage?
And have you wondered, “I wish there were something I could do…”
On November 28th, our nation will celebrate #GivingTuesday, a holiday that began in 2012 as a way to offset the consumerism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday (and okay, maybe the indulgence of Thanksgiving, too). But, this Opening Day of the holiday giving season has become an international phenomenon of charity, inspiration, and hope.
Across the globe, people donate money to charities that get crucial medicines to the sick; professional skills training to homeless adults; hot meals to hungry children; support for wounded veterans and more.
This year, you can have a role in transforming the lives of people who need it, of people who are close to your heart: service members, veterans and their families.
This #GivingTuesday, numerous military charities are in need of donations, as well as ambassadors to spread the word about their campaigns.
We can be their megaphone.
On November 28th, join the charitable movement that has rocked the holiday season and booted consumerism to the curb. Pick up your megaphone for a military charity – here’s how:
1. Donate Whatever You Can Spare
During the season of giving, we often feel more wonderful from the act of giving than from the act of receiving.
Bring that spirit to your military sisters and brothers in need. Consider donating to one or more military charities’ #GivingTuesday campaigns*, and then scroll below to learn more about how you can be their ambassadors.
American Legion Auxiliary Foundation: “Positively impacts the lives of our veterans, military and their families.” Every dollar donated will be matched (up to $15,000) by Innovairre Communications.
Armed Services YMCA: “Makes military life easier by providing programs and services to the young men and women of all five armed services.” Donations support programs such as respite care for military mothers, Operation Kid Comfort, Operation Hero and more.
Chris Kyle Frog Foundation: CKFF seeks to “honor God, country, and families who serve by providing experiences that strengthen military and first responder marriages and families.” This #GivingTuesday marks the launch of CKFF’s monthly giving option, #TheLegacy, which enables the foundation to provide retreats and programs that strengthen marriages and empower spouses.
Homes for our Troops: “Builds and donates custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.” They aim to raise $75,000 on Tuesday alone to assist 200 veterans waiting for an accessible home.
Lone Survivor Foundation: “Restores, empowers and renews hope for wounded service members and their families through health, wellness and therapeutic support.” They join #GivingToVetsDay, with a goal to raise $25,000 to fund a retreat for wounded service members.
Military Spouse Advocacy Network: MSAN provides “peer-to-peer mentorship, resources and programs needed to overcome challenges such as being a new military spouse, caregiver, finance, education, career & employment, deployments, reintegration & resilience, mental health + wellness, transition from active duty to civilian life.” To donate, simply click the donate button on their Facebook page or on their web site.
National Military Family Association: “NMFA is the voice of military families… Our Association is the ‘go to’ source for Administration Officials, Members of Congress, and key decision makers when they want to understand the issues facing our families.” NMFA aims to raise $15,000 on #GivingTuesday to fund the Operation Purple program, Buddy Camp. Learn more about this program’s impact here.
Operation Homefront Heroes: “Provide or facilitate the tools and resources required to ensure successful military transition.” Their campaign focuses on “Backpacks for Heroes,” to provide assistance to homeless veterans. $20 fills a backpack for one veteran, and they aim to raise $10,000.
Purple Heart Foundation: “Veterans returning home can face emotional, medical and financial challenges. The Purple Heart Foundation exists to lessen these trials and give veterans the homecoming they deserve.” They ask donors to #GiveMe10 and donate $10 on #GivingTuesday.
Semper Fi Fund: “Provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.” This year, your donation can have double the impact, as The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation is matching donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $10 million.
Veterans Transition Center of California: “VTC does not simply offer short term solutions to homelessness; it strives to better the lives of homeless Veterans by providing Veterans with transitional housing and case management programs, so they can once again become employable, productive members of the community.” Donations made through the provided link will be matched up to a certain percentage, based on funds raised by campaign partners.
Wounded Warrior Project: “With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs.” Help more than 100,000 of America’s wounded service members recover by donating on #GivingTuesday, or sign up for monthly giving and receive a WWP blanket.
* Don’t see your favorite military charity mentioned here? Honor them with a donation and mention them in the comments section below!
2. Spread the Word
Support your favorite military charity by engaging your social networks in an “UNselfie” campaign – that is, a “Selfless Selfie” campaign. Most charities will provide information for this on their campaign web sites, but if not, here’s the scoop:
Print the official #GivingTuesday UNselfie template on page 10 of the social media toolkit, and write the name of your charity and its website on the template. You can even add your own creative caption to give it an extra punch.
Then, take a picture of yourself holding the sign, and post it to your social media networks. Include important hashtags: #GivingTuesday, #UNselfie, and any unique hashtag your charity might be using for its campaign.
You can even provide the direct link to your charity’s donation page, so that your social networks can click and give easily. Participating in the UNselfie campaign is an easy way to help some fantastic military charities cast their nets over new donors and spread their message to audiences they would not have otherwise reached.
Imagine – your post might help a charity reach and exceed a major goal.
3. Engage Your Peers
As an UNselfie ambassador, you also have the opportunity to go the extra mile…by taking one extra, tiny step.
Harness the power of social media by engaging your networks in a peer-to-peer challenge: fundraise for your favorite military charity.
After you donate and post your UNselfie, tag friends and challenge them to donate to the same organization…and encourage them to post a similar UNselfie and tag their friends, and so on. Just think how many hundreds or thousands of extra donors you could draw for very worthy military charities, and most importantly, the service members, veterans and families that the charities serve.
Peer-to-peer fundraising isn’t just a ploy that someone in the #GivingTuesday marketing department cooked up, either. This fundraising trend has actually been around for a while, and it’s recently been making major waves in the nonprofit world. Research shows that people are more likely to donate money if they are asked by a friend or family member. So, use that information to your charity’s advantage, and rally your friends and family behind its cause.
The power of social media can create a loud rumble across the computer waves and inspire thousands more dollars to be donated to a charity in need. Even if you challenge your networks to donate just a few dollars, and your networks challenge the same, those small amounts can add up to something big.
4. You Can Make it Happen
Believe it or not, from where you are right now – on your couch, at your computer, behind your phone while you’re riding the train to work – you can make something BIG happen.
You don’t have to be rich.
You don’t have to have important skills.
You don’t have to have connections to powerful people.
Want to know what you do need?
Your heart, a desire to help, and a few bucks.
So, show your support. Pick up your megaphone. Click on the link of a charity above and donate whatever is within your means to do. Enlist the power of your networks to make that one donation turn into a ripple effect that will change lives.
All because you wondered if you could help, picked up your megaphone, and made it happen.