You’ve soldiered through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, spending (or standing strong) on gifts and necessities alike. But if a weekend of consumer craziness has left you feeling philanthropic, you’re in luck. Meet “Giving Tuesday” — a day dedicated to generosity.
Giving Tuesday began in 2012, as a social media movement that prompts people to give back to charities and nonprofits as they embark on holiday shopping. It has taken off in the few years since its creation, and a healthy variety of organizations are on board. But while all others ask for financial contributions, Organize, an organ-donation database, does things a little differently. It’s not asking for money — rather, it wants the 95 percent of Americans who support organ donation to also register as donors and then tell their loved ones they did so.
“We’re asking people to donate without spending anything,” Organize co-founder Jenna Arnold says. “You can give back just by registering to be an organ donor, and it doesn’t cost you anything.” Nor does it take any of your time after you register — if anything, you’ll actually save time on your next visit to the DMV.
Almost all Americans support organ donation, Arnold says, but only 40 percent are registered to donate. Part of that is due to hard-to-follow registration guidelines that differ from state to state.
Plus, it’s easy to forget to tell your next of kin that you’re an organ donor, which can hold up the process and make it less likely that your organs are donated. Legally, organ-procurement organizations (OPOs) have the ability to recover organs if you are a registered organ donor. But in practice, it’s a little different: “Your next of kin is also asked to support the decision, and most Americans have never had the conversation with their family,” Arnold explains. OPOs, wanting to respect the grieving family, may err on the side of caution. So if a family isn’t sure whether the person wanted to donate, chances are, the organs won’t get donated.
“It’s a very clunky system,“ Arnold says — but one that Organize is changing, little by little. The organization is trying to make it easier for your relatives to know that you’re a donor, in the case of an accident. “What we’ve done is build into our registration flow a way that you can quickly email the people who will be making that decision on behalf of you,” she says. In the past, you had to register on a state-specific website that would register you for organ donation only in that state. But by registering on organize.org, you not only register to be a donor in your specific state — you can then donate in all 50 states.
Want to make a difference? You can register here.
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