This past Tuesday, nonprofits around the country sent out e-blasts, manned phone banks and took to social media to stage organized fundraising campaigns. The effort was part of Giving Tuesday, a philanthropic response to the commercialized holiday-shopping season.
While many local LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations were able to get a vital shot in the arm from the initiative, the current political climate in which we have found ourselves should necessitate giving long before and after this annual holiday. The urgency of the one-day-only event may provide some impetus for some donors to dig into their wallets but, with rights rollbacks around just about every corner, that urgency is now a year-round reality.
The first year of the Donald Trump presidency has shown us just how much we need our community organizations.
The administration took a hammer to LGBT and other minority rights, and legal, political and social organizations representing those communities stepped up to the plate. When Trump threatened to ban transgender servicemembers from the military, legal agencies summarily filed suit, blocking that plan at every turn. Politically progressive groups mobilized their supporters, trained political hopefuls and helped propel many first-time candidates toward victory last month. Social groups held everything from mixers to community forums to help connect like-minded Americans, building a needed network to not only mobilize for progressive causes, but to also boost morale among those facing marginalization.
These organizations largely depend on private donations for their sustenance. Especially with a new federal administration that has wildly different funding priorities than the previous one, the generosity of everyday Americans will become all the more integral to community groups’ work.
Giving Tuesday is a worthy cause but, considering the context, it should just be the beginning. However, the concept of “giving” doesn’t necessarily need to reflect monetary donations: Time is just as essential. Give your time staffing events, taking a leadership role in an organization or going door-to-door (literally or virtually) soliciting support.
We’re in a time when supporting progressive causes isn’t just a feel-good holiday ideal; it’s a vital part of preserving our rights.