Giving Tuesday and the Impact of Intentionality

November 24, 2021

This season, celebrate Giving Tuesday by generating positive change - large or small. 

I was born in 1970, so if you do a quick bit of math – I had a milestone birthday last year.

I spent much of 2020 and 2021 watching my friends figure out how to balance a celebration of the big 5-0 while being socially responsible. I saw families and friends struggle to find creative ways to make these birthdays special. When planning milestone events, it often feels like a challenge – go big or go home. I admit that I had dreams of an adventure to an exotic, bucket-list location. I really wanted a reason to use my passport. While my actual 5-0 celebration did not include travel, it was intimate and very thoughtful.  

Transformational movements. Grand gestures. Planned Simplicity.

From an individual or community standpoint, national and international movements like Giving Tuesday on November 30th may initially feel overwhelming and a bit stressful. Characterized as a “group of diffusely organized people striving toward social change1”, social movements may spark thoughts of lofty goals and a belief that the mission calls for grand gestures or large donations.

But if the past two years have taught us anything, it is that impactful gestures can be simple. The grandest expressions are not necessarily the most expensive or the most outlandish – they are the most intentional. A thoughtful gesture that shows genuine concern for the well-being or joy of those around you creates a lasting impression. This message of intentionality is perfect for Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is defined as “a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world2”. While the definition sounds impressive – worthy of big dollar donations and large, organized charitable collaborations – any one person can create positive momentum. A single, sincere gesture can launch 1,000 ships.


Imperfect celebrations. Personal connections. Intentional joy.

Let’s return to what we’ve experienced the past two years with regards to milestones of any kind. These celebrations have boasted imperfect, yet beautifully delicious homemade meals, cakes and decorations. They’ve been intimate “parties” with immediate family, vintage backyard picnics, and old-school road trips.

Thoughtful cards and handwritten messages have been mailed from near and far. Homemade videos carrying personal memories and congratulatory wishes spurred much joy. The traditional staple of flowers and chocolate is back in vogue. The common denominator here is intentionality. These experiences are the result of planning with thought and executing with joy. As 2021 comes to a close, I’m personally looking for ways to celebrate intentionally and give meaningful, thoughtful and creative gifts over the holidays.


Make it easy. Keep it simple. Just give back.

With Giving Tuesday, whether you’re planning ahead, participating the day of, or arriving late to the party – the gesture does not have to be grand or even delivered on time. In our continued culture of uncertainty and stress, the last thing anyone needs is another item on the “to-do” list. So, let’s make it easy.

  • Text a friend who has been on your mind.
  • Deliver a well-deserved (or much needed) compliment to a colleague.
  • Mail a handwritten note to a family member in need of encouragement.
  • Make a donation to a local, national or global charity of your choice.
  • Volunteer your time or talent – whether virtual or in-person is up to you

After all, Giving Tuesday is simply a day for getting better at doing good.


Jackson is committed to investing in communities where our associates live and work. Through volunteering, board service and monetary giving, our associates are encouraged to share their strengths and skills in their local communities. Learn more about Jackson in Action and our employee driven efforts and check out the Jackson’s Charitable Foundation  to view our continued commitment to financial education. 



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Phil Wright is affiliated with Jackson. All other authors are not affiliated with Jackson.