May Gratitude Be My Attitude

In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is Giving Tuesday, the answer to post-Thanksgiving consumerism. On Tuesday November 27th, millions of people will come together to support the causes and organizations they believe in. If you love the life-changing work we do with young people, please consider supporting Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) on Giving Tuesday.

As a point of introduction, I’m Jule Meyer, CEEP’s Director of Development. I have to admit, I love to shop as much as anyone, but I’ve never braved the crowds of these much-hyped shopping days. Today I am contemplating not only my journey as one who solicits gifts but as someone who challenges myself to keep growing as a donor.

I am looking out at a greener landscape than I left in the Northeast, with a momentous move to Northern Florida. In anticipation of this new vantage point, I have begun to get to know the passionate and smart-working CEEP team in Florida. I dedicate my Giving Tuesday gift to CEEP to them.

Moving south means I have rounded out the places I have called home to a new part of the U.S. Besides living overseas with the U.S. Peace Corps, I have lived in San Francisco, Seattle, Iowa and Boston with very frequent trips to D.C. to serve several national and international charities. From these wonderful home bases, I have visited donors in almost every state in the U.S. I have met all kinds of donors in the almost forty years that I have joyfully raised funds as a professional and as a volunteer.  In 1985, I remember being active in a broad movement called “Give Five” (5% of your income and 5% of your time as a volunteer.) Giving Tuesday is a terrific outgrowth of that movement, which was supported by the U.S. Ad Council and lasted for a long time. But what I love about this philanthropic movement is that it cultivates our attitude of gratitude right after our Thanksgiving holiday based on the same sentiment. Instead of consuming we are giving.  And research shows that we are happier when we are givers!

I’m looking back to when I was fresh from graduate school and Peace Corps (when I couldn’t afford to give to charity) and I was helping to raise a family on a modest non-profit salary. When I started working in the non-profit sector, I also served on a number of non-profit boards and I challenged myself to increase my percentage each year. My high-water mark was giving 13% of my income each year. When my sister asked, “Is that percentage before or after taxes?” I laughed because the movement didn’t specify—it was just fabulous if you could commit 5% percent or more of your time and money.

Giving for me became even more fun when I learned from philanthropist and fundraiser Tracy Gary how to develop a giving plan. I wonder if you have created a giving plan? What areas, organizations, and amounts will you commit to in 2019? If you were to calculate the “bite” of your income and time, how high can you give? 

I hope my ruminations on the topic of giving stimulate you to give again to your favorite causes on  November 27, and of course, we hope you will remember CEEP and support our effective staff, student fellows and nonpartisan, well-researched issue and candidate guides. And speaking of percentages, CEEP is celebrating a FIFTY percent increase in youth voting this fall, over the last comparable election year of 2014 (non-presidential year.) We believe we had something to do with this turnout, along with our partners, fellows and of course, the students themselves.

To donate to CEEP, click here.

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