How Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist on #GivingTuesday

Tomorrow is the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, when our focus is meant to be on helping others instead of our selves to another piece of leftover pie. #GivingTuesday, as it's known, is a national day of giving that the 92nd Street Y and UN Foundation created a few years ago, and it seems to be catching on. I don't know about yours, but my inbox has been flooded the past several days with reminders that Giving Tuesday is approaching and pitches for early gifts. When Tuesday hits, hundreds of organizations will have already rallied support for their causes, starting the day with thousands of dollars in gifts. But each gift will not have been substantial; in fact, most gifts are under $50.

Giving Tuesday is about democratizing philanthropy -- no gift is discounted, all gifts are celebrated. It is a day (a full month actually) when anyone can be a philanthropist. Or, as A Woman's Nation says, it is a time when everyone can "work on the front lines of humanity" and collaborate to build a more informed, caring and compassionate society.

By joining forces as small-scale philanthropists, we can create big change. At A Woman's Nation we believe that you don't need to be a billionaire -- a member of "the wealthiest 1 percent" -- to be a philanthropist. If you are concerned about the welfare of others, and you demonstrate that concern by taking action to make change, then you are a philanthropist. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for powerful grassroots philanthropy, and it all starts with flipping the ratio. Instead of relying on the generosity of the wealthiest 1 percent, the other 99 percent is asked what we can do to promote the wellbeing of humanity, and then do it. We call it "99for1."

What is 1 percent of something that you value that you will invest to improve the life of someone else? Your investment could be 1 percent of your yearly income; 1 percent of your monthly salary; 1 percent of your weekly paycheck; 1 percent of what you spend on haircuts for a year; 1 percent of your annual coffee budget -- 1 percent of anything that equals $10 or more. #WhatsYour1Percent?

Here is how it works.
Decide the amount you want to give. Make sure it's tied to something that you deem important. Be clever. Be creative. Be crazy. 1 percent of the total you annually spend on impulse items at the market check out line? Whatever it is, donate it to a cause you care deeply about on Giving Tuesday and watch what happens. Don't forget about it. Stay connected to it, because after all you gave up something you earned. Whatever your 1 percent is, it came out of your paycheck.