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November 23, 2018 – Can the Holidays be almost upon us? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle and the good times of the season. It is the shopping season to be sure, but also the giving season.

Thanksgiving is November 22nd, followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (our local small businesses thank you!), Cyber Monday, and then #GivingTuesday. This international movement encourages people to support the nonprofit organizations that work year around to help those most in need and in doing so, strengthen our community and society.

In the classic story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” when the Grinch discovered the true spirit of the holiday, his “small heart grew three sizes that day.” Dr. Seuss may have been on to something. There have been numerous studies bearing out that giving to others not only makes the giver feel good, but that there are even health benefits received as well.

In these studies people who spent money on themselves showed no physical changes, but people using cash in generous ways showed a significant reduction in blood pressure. This change was similar to what is typically observed when people start engaging in regular aerobic exercise. A team of economists and psychologists at the University of Oregon found that donating money to charity activates sections of the human brain that are associated with pleasure.

We have all heard that Nevada County has more nonprofits than possibly anywhere on the planet. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it highlights the fact that this is a very generous community. We volunteer. We donate. We care. We see a need and do something about it.

The Center for Nonprofit Leadership (CNL) exists to support our western Nevada County nonprofit organizations. We provide workshops, advocacy, and consulting to our nonprofit organizations. Our mission is to help make our community a better place by helping our nonprofits become stronger. A well-run organization can do a better job of fulfilling its mission – no matter how big or small.

All nonprofits need money and volunteers. As we move into the holiday season and those end-of-the year letters start showing up in the mail, #Giving Tuesday provides another opportunity to help make a difference in our community.

CNL has over 70 member organizations running the gamut from those helping animals to those focused on youth. Our website, cnlsierra.org, has links to each of these groups. You’ll also find there the 2018 #GivingTuesday Wish List where each organization shares their needs and descriptions of what specific amounts can do for them.

#GivingTuesday is primarily a social media driven event. Search Facebook for your favorite organization to see if they are having a #GT campaign. Many groups use this day to ask for specific items that they might need.

Research points to the conclusion that embracing the spirit of generosity may not only be heartwarming and helpful; it may also be good for the heart and certainly good for the community.

So, after you have enjoyed Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, do something else for you on #Giving Tuesday. Feel good about giving to your favorite causes and helping our community.

Susie Bavo

Board Chair, Center for Nonprofit Leadership