Here's 5 Places To Donate To Make Your Giving Tuesday Gift Really Count

by Chelsea Stewart
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This time of year means holidays, good food, football, and shopping. Lots of shopping, thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over the weekend of Nov. 23, there were endless deals from Smart TVs to cool gadgets and knick-knacks — and they've practically drained wallets all over. If you do, however, happen to have any change left over, perhaps consider spreading some of that holiday cheer and fortune on Giving Tuesday. If you're not aware with the occasion, it's a day devoted to charitable giving for those in need amid the bustle of the holiday season. Here are just a few places to make your Giving Tuesday donation make a difference.

Giving Tuesday takes place on each Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year, it falls on Nov. 27). The occasion began in 2012 as an effort fueled by the power of social media and collaboration, according to its website, to bring people together while giving back. If you want to join in on the charity work, there's really no shortage of options for you to get started. And best part? You might be able to get your donation matched, depending on where you send it, for double the effect.

How it works is, you find an organization or cause that needs help. If you prefer doing more hands-on work, Giving Tuesday's website has a great feature that allows you to see what's going on in your community. Or, there are quick and easy online options that allow you to do some good with just a few clicks. Let's get into those.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images is an organization that works to educate voters and help them get to the polls — and no matter what side of the aisle you're on, that's a worthy cause. Though the recent midterms are over, the organization is still involved in the Mississippi Senate runoff (Nov. 27), the Georgia Secretary of State runoff (Dec. 4), and gearing up for 2019 special elections. Facebook has pledged to match up to $7 million in contributions, which means double the help. Can't beat that one. Donate here.

Help The Victims Of The California Wildfire
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By now, I'm sure you've heard about the wildfires that ripped through California throughout the month. At least 85 people died in the fires and thousands of homes were destroyed, per The Washington Post. After 17 days, it was finally contained on Nov. 25, but it's going to take much longer to rebuild the areas. That's where the California Strong campaign comes in. Any money donated to the campaign will be matched by the Milwaukee Brewers (up to $25,000), and will hopefully help those affected get back on their feet even sooner. Donate here.

Help Victims Of Mass Shootings
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Mass shootings have been one of the most contentious and emotional topics of the year, and the fight to stop them is realer than ever. To help, you can donate to funds that support victims of specific shootings, like the Rotary Club of Westlake Village's GoFundMe page, which is accepting donations for the victims of the Nov. 7 Thousand Oaks, California shooting, or the verified GoFundMe for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in late October. You can also donate to causes that are working toward tighter gun legislation, like Everytown for Gun Safety.

Be A Helping Hand To The Homeless LGBT Community
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Your donation could help provide housing, food, and protection for those who don't have a place to go for the holidays. Check out the Ali Forney Center's Homeless for the Holidays program to help out. Or you can donate to The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services.

Support Sexual Assault Survivors
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The Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by actress Mariska Hargitay, launched a campaign to end the rape kit backlog so that every state properly counts, tests, and track rape kits. Its overall goal, according to its Facebook page, is to provide a path of healing and justice for survivors, stop serial rapists, and make communities safer. PayPal is matching donations up to $7 million dollars, so if you're interested, head over here.

Clean Out Your Closet
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If you're strapped for cash this year, no worries. Try taking a look around your house and seeing what you don't need. Things like (lightly used and clean) sweaters, coats, pants, and shoes could be seriously useful, especially at this time of the year, and with any luck, places like Goodwill or your local homeless shelter will take them off your hands.

Once you've selected how you want to help and have completed your donation, you can share the news on social media through the #GivingTuesday hashtag. Remember, no matter what option you choose and how much you give, you're still going to make an impact, and someone out there is going to appreciate it. Happy Holidays, guys.