Why COVID has made Giving Tuesday more important than ever this holiday season

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You’ve shopped on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but most likely this year has been a very different experience than the past.

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted us all and the charities and non-profits that support our communities are no exception. During this holiday season, Giving Tuesday, which has been described as "a day for all Americans to give back and make a difference," is more important than ever.

You can’t underestimate the positive effect of even a small donation of money or even time. In these times, non-profits need all the help they can get and small donations from many people can add up very quickly.

Perhaps even more importantly, your donation has a very positive effect on the recipient. It lets them know that their work matters and seeing many small donations come in the door can truly motivate a charity and its volunteers – it shows them that the community cares.

GIVING TUESDAY 2019 RAISED NEARLY $2B IN DONATIONS

I was recently in a drive-thru lane waiting for coffee and when it was my turn to pay, I was told the person ahead of me paid for my order.

This was completely unexpected and had never happened to me before. Without much thought, I paid for the person behind me. It made me feel great about my community and inspired me to return the favor, hopefully making the next person feel just as good as I did. It was a very small gift, but it made a positive impact.

Giving Tuesday can also be a great time for families to involve their children in giving back and making a difference. The earlier kids start to learn about their finances the better. Helping them make giving decisions early in their lives can go a long way towards helping them grow into kind adults who support causes and communities that are important to them.

Especially with younger children, the whole concept of money can be abstract, so it’s helpful to identify a charity where they can more easily see the impact of a gift and understand why giving is important.

BLACK FRIDAY HITS RECORD $9B IN US CONSUMER SPENDING

One strategy is to choose a group of charities and let each child select one to support with even a small donation on Giving Tuesday. Explain what each charity does and why they need donations.

Maybe during the pandemic you went on nature walks or adopted a pet, so supporting a local nature conservancy or humane society can be great options. Explaining that the reason the walking trails or animal shelters exist is partly because of their support. This discussion can help children understand the impact of giving.

If you are making the donation online, you could have each child make the final click to submit the payment as a way to take ownership of the transaction.

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The next time you go for a nature walk, you can remind them that their donation helped make it possible.

During this holiday season especially, giving back – even with small donations – can have a significant, positive impact on your favorite causes from both an operational and motivational standpoint.

The pandemic has affected us all differently, and if you happen to be in the fortunate position to be give able to give more than you normally would, this might very well be the best year to do it.

Larry DePaulis, Managing Director – Wealth Management, Senior Portfolio Manager, Hingham Street Partners of UBS Financial Services Inc.

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