5 Reasons for Millennials to Give This Season

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The millennials are a powerful generation.

We are passionate about injustice, are quick to spread the word, as well as our honest opinions on major issues. I am proud to be a millennial and believe that our generation will continue to create lasting change as we progress.

However, I do believe that there is more that we can be doing now. Many of us are quick to sign a petition or volunteer our time, but when it comes to letting go of our hard-earned money, we are gone before you can finish the word 'donation.'

While the majority of us don't have money to burn at this stage of securing a career and paying off our school loans, we certainly have some money to spare. And if there is any time to give, it is Christmas. So to celebrate #GivingTuesday, here are five great reasons for us to give this holiday season.

1. You aren't poor, stop telling yourself you are

I can't tell you how many times I have heard my girlfriends, people across the cafe, and even my own face in the mirror say things like, "I'm so broke," or "I am so poor right now," while clutching a hot, $5 pumpkin spice latte. As a 20-something, young professional myself, I know that a daily fix of caffeine and indulgence of sugar is something you plan your day around, but it is not something that "poor" people do.

It is ignorant to convince ourselves that we can't afford to throw some cash in the bell ringer's bucket while we walk out of Target with one bag of things we needed and two bags of things we didn't. Your school loans and bills won't get any bigger if you donate $10 to those who don't have enough to eat, let alone have two new pairs of shoes.

2. You actually really care

Do you remember sitting, scrolling through Facebook posts and seeing that one viral video, or that one article that really lit a fire under you? Whether it was gender equality, racial injustice or environmental conservation, you wanted to do something about it right then and there. While you may have shared the video, lasting change will always need to be backed by some amount of financial support.

Before your fears of charities using money wrongly, or that not all of your donation is going to the cause, I encourage you to listen to the words of AIDS Ride founder, Dan Pollotta, who in his wonderful TED Talk said, “We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people. Interesting that we don't have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money NOT helping other people.”

3. You will inspire others

When you make a donation to something you care about, you are probably going to want to talk about it. While you may not boast on social media, your best friend, your mom and your boyfriend are probably going to hear about it. Why? Because you are excited about it! Your passion, but more importantly, your action will inspire those around you to do the same.

If you are not sold on the idea that your act of giving can inspire others, shall I remind you of the #IceBucketChallenge?

4. Small donations do make a big, lasting impact

In the developed world, it is hard to think that we could purchase anything of value for just $10, but in poverty-stricken countries across the world, that $10 can provide clean water, vaccines and food for a family, which in turn mean life. When those small donations build up, they create an even bigger impact. The American Red Cross' text message donation initiative, put forth after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, raised over $5 million though individual $10 texted donations.  Proof that those small decisions to give can go a long, long way.

5. It will make you happy

It goes without saying, you don't give to others to make yourself feel good, but it is a real side effect. Studies done in the book The Paradox of Generosity confirm that Americans who donate more hours of their time and money report higher levels of happiness and lower depression rates. But you didn't need science to tell you that. You are perfectly aware of that fuzzy feeling that comes over you when you give food to a homeless person or pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-thru. It is worth it every time.

So, keep your change for laundry and parking meters. Let's reach deeper into our pockets this season and put our money where our mouth is. As Anne Frank says it best, "No one has ever become poor by giving."

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