A couple of months ago a single tweet sparked off the #FirstFiver campaign, to encourage everyone in the UK to donate the first new five-pound-note they receive to a charity of their choice.
The campaign is estimated to have raised up to £12.5 million in the first two months, a fantastic example of the incredible and spontaneous generosity of our country.
For those of you who may already have spent your first new fiver, I’m happy to tell you that today there’s another great opportunity to give.
It’s #GivingTuesday - the global day of giving that follows the spending frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a fantastic moment for us all to look at opportunities in our own lives for giving and volunteering.
Last year, £6,000 a minute was raised for UK charities on #GivingTuesday, and it broke the world record for the largest amount of money donated online in 24 hours. I’m proud that this year the Department of Culture, Media & Sport has become a partner of the #GivingTuesday movement, joining the Cabinet Office and Department of Health.
I know many of you already do a huge amount to support our civil society, and I’d ask everyone to think about how you can get involved in supporting #GivingTuesday this year.
The Civil Service leads the way in supporting its employees to volunteer, with a minimum of three days a year paid special leave for volunteering available. Sharing your skills could make a real difference to a charity you care about, but it’s also a great way to develop new experiences and skills. Please check your departmental policy for more information or speak to your manager if you wish to volunteer.
It’s easy to find some amazing opportunities. You can search over a million volunteering placements at www.do-it.org.uk, or you can volunteer for one of our Civil Service charities, with roles available at The Charity for Civil Servants and the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship.
Earlier this year, Matt Hancock, now Minister of State for Digital and Culture, encouraged civil servants to take part in at least one hour per year volunteering in schools, for example through the Inspiring the Future initiative. As the Civil Service Diversity Champion I can’t support this enough. You can help more young people to aim high and reach their potential, enable them to better understand the jobs that civil servants do, and in turn inspire a more diverse workforce to apply.
#GivingTuesday is also a brilliant time to consider donating or fundraising for a cause that is important to you.
#GivingTuesday is a brilliant opportunity for us to show support for our civil society, and I would encourage everyone to take part.