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Kinda Broke? 5 Ways to Donate Time, Skills This Giving Tuesday

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Every year across the globe, people join together in a movement called Giving Tuesday. The point of this day is to use whatever resources you have — money, time or even a smile — to celebrate generosity.

While people traditionally donate money on Giving Tuesday, not everyone has the ability to be generous with their cash. As a college student, you may be paying for your tuition, trying to pay off loans or tackling a monthly rent bill. Organizations have found ways for you to participate in Giving Tuesday without offering monetary donations.

Your time and generosity mean just as much. So gather your friends to spread generosity and help someone in need — you have something to give, and there are people who need it.

In 2020, Giving Tuesday falls on Dec. 1. If you’re ready and want to participate in this global act of kindness, consider one of the following ways to take part in Giving Tuesday as a college student.

donate blood1. Give Blood

Do you want to give the gift of life this Giving Tuesday? If so, you can donate your blood.

Every day, there are people who need blood to survive. This includes accident victims, those who have an organ transplant or major surgery, and cancer patients. The American Red Cross says that every couple of seconds, a person within the U.S. needs blood.

There are a few ways to give on Giving Tuesday through the blood donation process:

  • Find a blood drive near you. The American Red Cross has an option on their website to find a blood drive near you. Just type in your ZIP code, and they’ll provide you with the nearest blood drive location. 
  • Host a blood drive. Rally a team of volunteers at your university and host a blood drive. You can apply to host on the official Red Cross website.
  • Volunteer at a blood drive. If there’s a reason you aren’t eligible to give blood, you can also volunteer at a blood drive. Blood drives need people to help schedule the day and to recruit donors.

If you do decide you want to donate blood, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements.

food pantry donation2. Donate Material Items

Besides money, many charitable organizations accept material donations such as clothes, toys, household goods and food. Research various charities to see what they can receive and what they are in need of at the time.

Usually, at this time of year, since it’s colder and nearing Christmastime, many charities are accepting warm clothes and toys, especially for children. You probably don’t have toys with you as a college student — but you may have some hiding at home. Children in need deserve a Christmas present, and a gently used toy from your childhood might mean the world to them.

Additionally, charities will accept household goods as well. For those college students who may be graduating this winter, if you have furniture in your apartment that you don’t plan to keep or have some canned food items, you can donate them.

Find a local food bank near you to give your canned goods, or choose to volunteer for Giving Tuesday at a food bank. Also, you can start your own food drive at your college. Share details on social media, create posters asking people to donate food, or ask administrators to hold a campus-wide food drive.

social media and laptop3. Use Social Media to Fundraise

It’s very likely that you, as a college student, use at least one social media platform. Social media has made it easy to share your thoughts and what you support with people throughout the world.

Facebook has already developed a way for people to ask for money on their birthday to give to a charity or a cause of their choice. You can do the same for Giving Tuesday. Ask your followers and friends to provide a small donation.

The more specific the cause, the more likely people will give. You could form a committee at your college or university to research and choose a particular charity to donate the funds. Search for organizations that give hope to people in need or that have a personal meaning to you.

Ask the student government or administration to post about Giving Tuesday on social media accounts, the school website and in the school newspaper so the campus community can share about it on personal social media accounts. Create a school-specific hashtag for your campus. 

The Giving Tuesday organization has offered some ways you can spread the word on social media as well. Post a selfie and share your story about why you choose to give back and use #GivingTuesday in your posts.

ref helps player4. Involve Your Team, Club or Campus Organization

Giving Tuesday for college students can be a way for you to involve your campus club, team or other organization to spread generosity to other students and the surrounding community. Having multiple students come together for one cause will inspire others around your campus to do the same. (Keep in mind, if COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, some of these options may be safer or more possible than others.)

For sports team members:

  • Hold a free sports clinic for underprivileged kids in the local community.
  • Volunteer to referee at a YMCA or local recreation center.
  • Give back to your own referees by writing thank-you notes or offering them a small gift.
  • If you have a game during the week of Giving Tuesday, have fans bring donation items in place of purchasing a ticket, or have the ticket money go to charity.
  • Sell spirit wear and have the proceeds donated.
  • Wear a nonprofit organization’s logo on your sports gear to advertise their mission.

For club and organization members:

  • Hold a book donation so students can provide their old textbooks to those who can’t afford them.
  • Partner with a local coffee shop or the campus dining hall to hand out a cup of coffee or tea and a snack during finals.
  • The music department can hold a benefit concert where all ticket sales go to a charity.
  • Have a representative from a local nonprofit speak at your next club meeting.
  • Ask the administration to cancel classes for a day and declare it a day to volunteer. You can volunteer around campus or the surrounding area.

When teams and clubs gather together for a cause, others will notice and will want to take part in Giving Tuesday to spread generosity and do some good.

Spread Generosity This Giving Tuesday

There are so many ways to give on Giving Tuesday as a college student. Invite your campus community to join with you and the rest of the globe in performing random acts of kindness, volunteering in the local community and donating what you can to spread generosity.

Author: Abby Proch

Abby Proch is an award-winning writer and editor whose experiences range from news reporting at a rural community newspaper to teaching online college English courses to copywriting for a major sporting goods retailer. Abby takes pride in her yinzer roots but knows how to turn on the fancy talk, too. When she's not obsessively writing and rewriting to find the perfect turn of phrase, she's caring for her kiddos while sipping her (often cold) coffee.