A College Student’s Guide to Giving Season

By Mary Gasparian, Intern

As the new year approaches, it is the perfect time to show gratitude and support meaningful causes, both local and global. As a rising college graduate, I often grapple with wanting to support the causes I care most about in a substantial way, but lacking the financial means to do so. But there are many ways to give without ever opening your wallet. This holiday season, I have compiled a list of ways those with limited financial means can support Human Rights First outside of donating funds.

  • Staying “In the Know:”
    -The easiest way to support Human Rights First is by liking and following them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and signing up to receive their weekly newsletter, First Page. Email and social media are the most direct ways to learn about the projects and campaigns the Human Rights First team is currently working on, and a crucial way to learn of actions you can take to support their work. As an organization that holds the government accountable to defend human rights at home and abroad, Human Rights First routinely shares ways for followers to do the same. Most recently, I felt empowered to take action and email my Congressmembers on the urgency of restoring asylum.
  • Sharing Human Rights First’s Social Content:
    -Every time you engage with Human Rights First’s social media content online – be it a like, comment, repost, retweet, or Instagram save– you help ensure that more people hear about the important work Human Rights First is doing each day. An organization’s reach on social media is only as wide as their immediate network of people like you. But when you engage with their content and share it with your personal network, you help spread word of their good work to more people, increasing their impact.
  • Being an Advocate
    -The good old-fashioned way of spreading awareness is by word of mouth. Acting as an advocate for Human Rights First by telling friends, family, and neighbors about their work is another way to show your support – without spending a dollar. For instance, if you are planning to attend a virtual event, extend the invite to a friend, partner, or family member. You will help spread the word and your invitee will have the opportunity to learn something new!
  • Friend-raise for a Good Cause
    -As a rising college graduate, I acknowledge that it may be difficult to contribute financially during these challenging times. But donations are the key to helping organizations like Human Rights First continue their work. If you are not able to give, you can set up a personal fundraiser and donate the contributions you receive. When it comes to friend-raisers, small gifts still make a big impact. If 20 friends contribute $5, the $100 donation to Human Rights First you facilitated could make a big impact – like providing groceries for a family of asylum seekers during the holidays. Here are the instructions on how to set up a Facebook fundraiser!
  • Check out the Action Center:
    -Human Rights First’s Action Center offers a variety of action items to support the organization’s work. These actions vary from sending out a Tweet to writing a letter to your elected officials to signing a petition. Most recently, I signed a petition urging the Biden Administration to reunite refugee families in 2021. With so many actions you can take to support refugees and asylum seekers, human rights defenders abroad, and more, the Action Center offers a perfect opportunity to get a friend or two together and spend an afternoon supporting Human Rights First’s work.

I hope this Guide to the Giving Season was helpful to any college students or young professionals who are still establishing themselves, but want to support Human Rights First. While donating is imperative to helping organizations make an impact, do not feel discouraged if you don’t have extra funds to spare at this point in your life. I implore you to keep sharing, liking, spreading awareness, attending events, and taking action in the meantime!


Published on December 18, 2020


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