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The festive season is a time for giving, and it is just around the corner. But while we’re all browsing Black Friday catalogues and planning our gifting surprises, why not also spare a thought for those less fortunate?
Jannie Smith, Regional Manager at online fundraising platform GivenGain, says the need for generosity is greater than ever this year – but there are also plenty of opportunities to make a difference over the giving season, starting with Giving Tuesday on 29 November.
“For a growing number of people, this festive season is just going to bring more struggle. According to Statistics South Africa, about 6.5 million people can’t afford to feed themselves, let alone enjoy a festive feast. And with prices of essentials going up and more than 1 in 3 South Africans out of work, it’s more important than ever to share some seasonal cheer.”
Kicking off the giving season
To help respond to the increased need, charities, fundraisers and donors are gearing up to start the giving season with a bang. “Charitable giving spikes during the holidays, with the last week before New Year being some of the biggest days of giving of the year,” says Smith.
“But just as the holiday shopping season starts on Black Friday, the giving season starts with Giving Tuesday.”
Fundraisers and donors on GivenGain raised more than R1.1m for charity on this iconic day of giving in 2021, and Smith says with more widespread support there’s a golden opportunity to beat that record this year.
“In the United States, where Giving Tuesday was born, about 35 million people took part in some way last year – more than 1 in every 10 Americans,” says Smith. “If we can get to that level here in South Africa, that’s about 6.5 million people. Even if everyone only gives a few Rand, it will have an incredible impact.”
Make some noise
Smith says the best thing charity supporters can do to make that happen isn’t just to make a donation in silence, it’s to encourage others to join in.
“People can be shy about giving to charity, they don’t like to sound like they’re boasting, but we need to make as much noise as we can right now,” he says. “When you donate, let everyone know that you’re supporting a charity for Giving Tuesday and challenge them to do the same. Tell your friends and family. Post about it on social media. Put a notice up at the office. The bigger this gets, the bigger the impact we’ll make – and charities really need that right now.”
GivenGain has invited registered charities to join the platform’s Giving Tuesday event, so it’s easy to find a participating non-profit to support – but if you already have a favourite cause to support, the platform also hosts thousands of other non-profits, big and small. Donors can give in any currency from anywhere in the world.
Those who want to go a step further can start a fundraising project for their favourite charity and then share it with their networks to raise money – helping to spread awareness at the same time. Smith says the average fundraiser on GivenGain raises about 12 times more than the average donor.