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Let's get behind Giving Tuesday!

On Giving Tuesday, Clare Mills shares how charities have supported her through the darkest and brightest days, and why Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to appreciate those charitable organisations that touch all our lives.


Generally, we don’t give in order to receive, but we do often give as a way of saying ‘Thank you.’

I have good reason to be thankful to a charity right now, and my donation in thanks happens to coincide with Giving Tuesday – a global day of generosity that encourages people to give something to charity, whether it's money, goods, time or something else...

For nearly two years, I’ve been supported by If U Care Share Foundation, which works to prevent suicide, intervene when people are suicidal and support those bereaved by suicide.

After my partner Mick’s death by suicide, support worker Sharon has been alongside me through devastation, grief, acceptance and hope – as well as physically sitting with me and Mick’s sister for the painful and exhausting inquest in front of HM Coroner.

Sharon’s support has been constant through the many practical and emotional challenges which accompany traumatic loss, combining expert knowledge and genuine compassion – and she’s been a sounding board and cheerleader when I unexpectedly met someone new and fell in love.

No one told me to pay for this fantastic support. No one put barriers between me and what I needed. All I needed to do was take that gift of care and empathy.

Not all our encounters with charitable organisations are so dramatic or traumatic, though. We may all be in need at one time or another; we may all be able to give of ourselves and our resources at times, too.

The cliched and lazy separation of the benevolent do-gooder and the needy beneficiary completely fails to understand the complexity of human lives and human society. We are not either/or; we are both.

And even when we’re neither, actively, charitable purpose permeates our lives and the communities we inhabit, making the difference between existing and living.

During the last few weeks, I’ve seen my town’s Christmas lights come on and found some Christmas gifts in our charity shops.

I’ve talked to a friend about the loss of his brother to prostate cancer, and his plans for some fundraising, while we had a coffee at our community arts centre.

I’ve walked through the community orchard and past the lifeboat station, and cycled the path alongside the local steam railway.

I’ve been to the AGM of the local boat club and volunteered some tree planting time for a nearby village school. I could add so many more examples.

Charitable activity is all around us, turning a greyscale world into a riot of colour.

Charities, voluntary organisations, community and faith groups harness and share people’s time, skills, knowledge and the money and other donations entrusted to you, with generosity, compassion, kindness and love.

We can use Giving Tuesday as one way, and one day, to say “Thank you.”

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