Today marks the National Day of Giving, more commonly known as Giving Tuesday, which was initiated in 2012 by New York's 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact. The National Day of Giving takes place annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Following three big shopping days as it does (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday), it's a non-commercial breath of fresh air, a reminder to give to charity, volunteer for a nonprofit group, lend a hand to someone less fortunate in your community, or even merely reach out to help a neighbor.
Insight Experience, which at this time of year also matches its employees' charitable giving and donates to Greater Boston Food Bank and World Central Kitchen, recently held our 2023 Day of Service. We worked at food banks, helped build homes, picked up trash on city streets, volunteered at organizations that help children and families in need, and more. We ventured out into our respective local communities and did our small part to make a positive impact on them.
According to a 2017 Deloitte Report, 70% of employees believe that volunteering activities are more effective at boosting team morale than team happy hours. We here at Insight Experience host monthly virtual happy hours, which we enjoy, no doubt. But joining with colleagues to work together in new ways on service projects, not to mention meeting people and strengthening ties in our communities, allows for remarkably meaningful connections on multiple levels and in many directions.
More and more employees seek this kind of connection. This research from America's Charities, conducted in consultation with Lindsay J.K. Nichols, Steve Greenhalgh, and Peter Panepento, shows that 71% of employees report that it is important to work at a culture that supports charitable giving and volunteering.
And Deloitte recently shared a 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, which found that both generational cohorts strive for meaningful work and opportunities to drive societal impact and change:
Gen Zs and millennials have high expectations for their employers and for businesses overall. They continue to believe that business leaders have a significant role to play when it comes to addressing social and environmental issues.
So why should businesses care about this kind of thing? Why do we care? It's for all the reasons above, but it's also an attempt to make meaning in a world with events on both a local and global scale—environmental, economic, sociopolitical—that can sometimes feel overwhelming and chaotic and leave us with a feeling of helplessness. Taking time to volunteer can provide a sense of purpose and nurture relationships, new and old.
Pictured above: Insight Experience team members volunteer at Household Goods in Acton, Massachusetts.
Simply put, one individual or small team may not be able to change distressing events across the globe, but reaching out to work in a local community or support someone with fewer resources or opportunities than you can make that one community a better place.
And that's something. That's a start.
No matter what day of the week it is, consider paying it forward, whether individually or with your own organization's colleagues. The Giving Tuesday site includes a long list of suggestions for how to participate.
Julie Danielson is an Associate Consultant at Insight Experience, an award-winning global leadership development company with an expertise in business simulations. Julie works as a project manager across various learning experiences. She is also a member of the marketing team. You can often find her copyediting, creating content, and researching publishing opportunities.