You don't need me to tell you what an awful year this one has been. 2020 has taken us on the rollercoaster ride none of us stood in line for and one a large majority of us wish we could find our way off of.

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I serve on the board of directors for a local non-profit, one which escorts area veterans to Washington, D.C. so that they can visit their war memorials to find comfort and closure. All of our board members are volunteers. We receive no compensation for our time. The trips that we take our veterans on can cost upward of $70,000 per trip and we rely solely on donations and fundraising efforts to make them happen. 2020 has hit us hard. Donations are down drastically thanks to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. People who were regular givers had to stop due to lack of employment. Businesses who were major donors at one time had to scale back or stop completely because their business was closed or reduced in operational size.

A desperate need for donations is why Giving Tuesday matters so much to non-profits this year. The idea for Giving Tuesday was announced in the United States in 2012 and the idea was simple- after shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people should consider doing something selfless by way of donating to a non-profit so that non-profits would be better able to serve the community.  People loved the idea of a day to give back and Giving Tuesday has grown so loved that it is now a global effort with over 60 countries participating.

I know that if my non-profit has been hit hard by a decrease in donations then there are others also struggling. Food pantries, animal shelters, hospice care facilities, equine therapies, the list goes on and on. Each and every local non-profit has the same base goal - to help make life better for those who live in our communities but in order for us to be able to do so, we need donations.

Each year, Giving Tuesday is a beacon of hope for non-profits, especially the smaller ones. Giving Tuesday offers a financial boost to give us the footing we need to continue on through the next year. The thought of a non-profit having to cease operation because of a lack of funds truly hurts my heart.

Whether you have $5 or $500, when you give through Giving Tuesday, YOU are empowering a non-profit to continue to serve your community, maybe even you or someone you love one day. If you want to give this Giving Tuesday, but aren't sure which non-profit you should donate to, I would encourage you to take a look at this list of Southern Tier area non-profits. The list has been generated by Great Non Profits and will give you a slew of insight into each area non-profit so that you can make an informed decision.

If you are unable to give financially, Giving Tuesday offers some incredible ideas on free things that you can do as a way to give back to those around you. Unable to give financially but looking for a free way to make an impact on the heart of someone in our community? Consider this.

Four Simple Ways to Feel More Grateful