What Giving Tuesday Means To Me

Ok, so, when Megan Dutta from SCN first approached me about writing this blog, in my head, I instantly heard Miss Bodkin, the fourth grade teacher from A Christmas Story, explaining to her class "I want all of you to write a theme.. I want you to write a theme... entitled “How and Why the AV Community Can Contribute to Giving Tuesday.” I’m hoping if I do well I’ll find an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock under my Christmas Tree. One can dream…

It all started a few weeks ago when I saw a tweet that triggered me a bit. Don’t worry, it was in a good way—it was an informal survey on what #AVTweeps were most looking forward to, Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Because of all my work on #AVGivesBack, I immediately answered Giving Tuesday!

What is Giving Tuesday? Well, I’m glad you asked. It comes right after Cyber Monday, and has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday has become a global day of giving, fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. So far, Giving Tuesday has helped give 1,640,000 gifts and raise $177,000,000 dollars in 98 countries, according to givingtuesday.org.

Social media and collaboration, huh? Wow! That sounds right up our industry’s alley! I can bet it will be. Since founding #AVGivesBack in December of 2015, there is one true constant I have observed: our AV community has one huge heart. Whether it’s companies running food drives or clothing collections, or a group of industry pros gathering together for a charity run, there is a ton of community service work going on throughout the year, but, especially during the holiday season. We have integrators that are literally running to raise funds for Alex’s Lemonade to help kids fighting cancer, while others are hiking national parks to clear the trails of trash and recyclables. You name the effort, and I can bet companies, and their employees, are getting involved. #GivingTuesday really fits with what our industry is all about.

So now you may ask, “George, what can I do to help?” Well, here is where I borrow a saying and repurpose it for our conversation: think global, act local. Food banks are always in need of donations, whether it’s the holiday season or a random week in April. It’s almost Christmas and that means Toys for Tots is seeking new, unwrapped items for children—why not pick up a toy that encourages problem-solving skills and puts kids on the right path to coding and programming? Or just grab your wallet and donate to your charity of choice; in fact, many employers will match your donation so don’t forget to ask your boss about that.

You can always donate funds and goods, but you can also donate time. Reach out to your local Boys and Girls Club to find out how you can help become a mentor to kids with an interest in tech. You can always donate funds and goods, but you can also donate time. Or, even better, put those hands-on audiovisual skills to work! Groups like Habitat for Humanity and The Wounded Warrior Project are looking for techies to help install donated AV gear into the facilities they’re building for the homeless and vets across this great country. Manufacturers—this is where you come in. Getting ready to dump that B-stock? Organizations like Integrate Baltimore (www.integratebaltimore.org) and the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) (www.itdrc.org) that are looking for slightly used equipment or new gear.

I’m excited about all the good our industry brings to the world. If you’re participating in Giving Tuesday, share on social using the hashtag #AVGivesBack so we can all see the power of our community.