11/08/2012 11:26 am ET Updated Jan 08, 2013

Ways Of Giving

What does it mean to give? It's different for each of us. Some of us give money, some give time, some give resources and some give their passion. The holiday season often is a time for giving and sharing to be top of mind.

On Tuesday November 27, 2012, nonprofit organizations, charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in this season of giving. Just as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become cultural traditions in the United States, this first annual #GivingTuesday will be a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season that celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

Goodwill will be one of several #GivingTuesday partner-organizations that provide opportunities to give.You can support your community through Goodwill in a variety of ways -- donate, volunteer or lend your voice through advocacy. Most people know Goodwill as a brand name for its stores, but the basis of our mission is to provide people with disadvantages and disabilities opportunities to obtain employment, which is essential to improving health, educational attainment and equity. As an organization, we know that true progress comes from the economic growth and stability of communities.

If you donate your used goods, such as household items, clothing and electronic accessories, they are sold in one of our more than 2,700 stores and the revenue is used to fund job training programs and support services for people who face challenges to finding employment. Goodwills offer training for jobs in healthcare, IT, retail sales and management, food services, banking, manufacturing and more. Goodwill also offers office and computer skills training. In addition, job seekers can meet with a specialist face-to-face at a local Goodwill, or visit our virtual job mentoring community -- GoodProspectsSM.

You can also give a financial gift and choose to have your gift be used in one of three ways: to support a local program in your community, to support programs across the U.S. and Canada, or to support Goodwill's international development for emerging Goodwill agencies outside the U.S. and Canada.

Volunteering is another great way to give back, and Goodwill has a variety of volunteer opportunities, such as serving as a youth mentor for just one hour a week through our GoodGuides® program. Locate a volunteer opportunity near you using our search tool.

Last, you can lend your voice through advocacy by supporting our advocacy priorities and contacting your local Member of Congress to take action. As a human services provider, Goodwill focuses on legislation that impacts job creation for seniors, youth, veterans, military members and their families, and a number of vulnerable populations. Goodwill is all about changing lives -- designing plans to bring people's dreams to life, while connecting them with other community resources, such as childcare, free tax preparation, youth mentoring, reliable transportation, shelter and financial planning in order to create stability both at home and in the workplace.

Take Joy, for example. She came to Goodwill Industries-Knoxville to find job training opportunities and job search assistance. Joy was depressed. She had been recently divorced, and had injuries to her arms and back that caused her to lose her job. Joy lacked computer skills, which limited her ability to obtain employment, but she had a desire to work, gain valuable skills and continue her education. Joy enrolled in Goodwill's Work Keys and Self-Paced Applications in the Computer Environment (SPACE) program, and is currently improving her computer knowledge and abilities. Joy looks forward to the future, and plans to enroll in a local community college this fall, with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist.

Or take Joanna. She sustained a brain injury as a child that affects her cognitive functioning. With the help of the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) program at Goodwill, she learned strategies to be more effective in her work and personal life. With the help and encouragement she received at Goodwill, Joanna was able to earn a job at the Frederick Visitors Center, where she organizes mailings, restocks brochures and answers visitors' questions. Her current job is just a beginning for Joanna, who dreams of one day working with the elderly. To that end, she volunteers at an assisted living facility and is studying gerontology at her local community college.

If you would like to learn more about #GivingTuesday, and how to participate either as an individual, or an organization, head over to

This blog is part of our #GivingTuesday series, produced by The Huffington Post and the teams at InterAction, 92nd Street Y, United Nations Foundation, and others. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday --which takes place for the first time on Tuesday, November 27 -- is a movement intended to open the holiday season on a philanthropic note. Go to to learn more and get involved.