Giving Tuesday is already a well-loved tradition for many, and this week (May 5th) is a global day of giving tailored to the scariness of the current moment.
Of course, just staying home is probably the most important thing any of us can do right now at this time, but many people are responding to an urgent call to do something more, to connect and to give. Millions of people have already given a great deal of their time and energy during COVID-19, many donating their stimulus checks, participating in mutual aid networks, fighting on the frontlines and more. This day is just another excuse to do so in whatever capacity you can.
"Giving Tuesday is always, since the beginning of it, really about human connection and strengthening communities, and that is exactly what's needed now, when there's fear and uncertainty and polarizing forces, and those things are threatening social as well as economic collapse, in addition to all the health uncertainty and fear," says Asha Curran, CEO of the Giving Tuesday movement. "It's not a fundraiser," she says. "It's a global generosity movement."
With millions of Americans out of work or dealing with financial insecurity, giving financially may not be possible. According to one survey, 42% of Americans questioned said they were having trouble paying for basic expenses like mortgage, rent, or groceries.
There are plenty of ways to donate without sending finances. The Giving Tuesday website and sites like Daily Generosity Alerts will alert you to small ways to give back. You can also text #GivingTuesday to 33777, or look into joining your local mutual aid network or using your own strengths to contribute to a social movement.
Deciding what to donate and how to give is a personal and political choice, and you don't have to donate exclusively to COVID-19-related funds. It's important to look to the people that aren't receiving what little support the government is providing. (New Sanctuary Coalition, the Partnership for Native Americans, and the Bail Project are all good options in that respect; the ACLU is also always fighting for justice). Food banks that support the most vulnerable are also valuable places to give.
It's also important to consider issues that existed before COVID-19 but that have only been exacerbated by the crisis. "The focus should be on helping the world's poorest people, not just people in the US; if you want to give in the US, you should give to effective, direct charities; if you want to maximize your impact, donating to prevent the next pandemic might be your best bet; and don't forget that the problems that plagued us before coronavirus still plague us now, and that other, non-Covid-19 charities need support, too," argues Dylan Matthews for Vox.
Plus, of course, charities often fail to endure or enact substantial change, particularly when they don't work directly with the communities they're trying to give to. Therefore, long-term community engagement is particularly important nowadays. Also, actions like voting and engaging in larger-scale campaigns to shift larger superstructures of oppression can also be very powerful. Whatever you do, make sure you're taking care of yourself too, because change starts within.