Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the festive season is a magical time of the year when you get that warm fuzzy feeling from eating, drinking and being merry with your loved ones.
As a philanthropy manager, I have the privilege to work with wonderful individuals who support young people across the world. Over the years, I have thanked countless supporters and introduced them to people whose lives they’ve transformed. Each time, without hesitation, they will humbly say: “No, thank you!” or “You are so welcome, it’s my pleasure.”
This may not sound groundbreaking, but for me it is. It’s a realisation that giving (whether that’s donating, volunteering, or simply seeing a distant relative) gives you that same warm fuzzy feeling you get during Christmas. And when done during the festive season, it’s a double dose! This year, Restless Development is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge. What does this mean? For the first time, those who wish to support the biggest youth generation of our lifetime can do so and their impact will be doubled.
Still not 100% convinced? Here are a five reasons why I think you won’t want to miss out:
1. That warm fuzzy feeling
Giving makes you feel good. Don’t just take it from me! Research from Princeton University and the University of Melbourne found that donating money to charity makes you happier and a 2006 study led by Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.
2. The gift that keeps giving
From midday 3rd of December to midday on the 10th of December, any donation we receive up to £37,500 will be matched, pound for pound. As a smaller charity, any donation Restless Development receives (especially during this time!) has a massive impact on our work with young leaders across the globe. Young leaders like Seema who defied stereotypes by becoming a female delivery driver in India and now leads a team including 20 other young women to do the same. If you want your donation to be worth even more, GiftAid it! This will increase the value of your gift by 25% at no additional cost to you.
3. A gift with a difference
For those of you who wait until the eleventh hour and make a trip to Oxford Street in a panic on the 23rd (guilty!) or buy online with next day delivery (even more guilty!), donating to Restless Development this month will make your Christmas experience much more enjoyable and environmentally friendly. Why not ditch the stocking fillers and socks you regret buying every year and give the gift of youth power to a friend, relative or that colleague you’ve got as your Secret Santa and have no idea what they’d like? Just £20 could train 18 young people to take action in their community to challenge harmful traditional practices.
4. Charity is not just for Christmas
I still remember the days when my parents used to sponsor a child in Gaza. His name is Ismail. We had his picture in our dining room and every time we used to eat dinner as a family we would be reminded of how lucky we were to have a warm meal, a roof over our heads and a loving family. As the years went by and Ismail got older, my parents tried their best to contribute to causes they cared about. My dad now will remind my sister and I each year that he doesn’t want any material gifts, he doesn’t need anything he says. His mantra is: “Please just donate to a charity that will support young people.” It is clear to my sister and I that our parents’ desire to support children and young people has impacted our lives – I work to support young people in overcoming their biggest challenges while my sister is a wildlife conservationist and teaches children how to protect our environment.
5. Wrapped with a bow
Since it began in 2008, the Big Give has raised over £112 million for thousands of charities. They are the UK’s number 1 match funding platform. Last year alone their Christmas Challenge raised £13.3m for 589 charities. When donating through the Big Give you know that your gift will have greater impact and be part of a community of changemakers.