I know that many people give to the causes they care about throughout the year. To the elderly, the young, the infirm, the destitute. Many also give to organisations trying to protect and heal our fragile planet. Others pledge their help to animals in need – including our wonderful Born Free supporters!
But after the discounts, special bargains and mega-deals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – when many of us have helped ourselves – it's a good time to give back.
Today is Giving Tuesday, a global phenomenon which, in 2017, raised more than £200m for those in need. Giving Tuesday started in the UK in 2014 and each year its impact has grown. In fact, around the world, people in over 150 countries now take part. Born Free is an official Giving Tuesday partner and we pledge, on Giving Tuesday, to do something special for the animals we care about – those living in the wild and those in our rescue centres.
I know that our teams around the world, in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, America – wherever they are – will be working extra hard, spreading the word, protecting threatened wildlife, giving our rescued animals the lifetime of love and care they need and deserve. And that's where you and I come in.
This Giving Tuesday I want to ask you to do three things:
Firstly: Spread the word. We are a more connected world than ever before. Born Free has hundreds of thousands of faithful followers and friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I am honoured to be followed by nearly 35,000 followers on Twitter alone. Each of those people has their own community of friends and if, through you, we can reach out to the millions of people we are already connected with, imagine the difference we could make.
So, use your power as a compassionate individual and reach out to everyone you know, inviting them to friend, follow or even join Born Free – it only takes a few minutes and it's what Giving Tuesday is all about – giving hope,
The second thing I would ask you to do is match me. I will personally give £1 to Born Free for every person who retweets my Giving Tuesday Twitter post, up to £1,000. It's that simple. If 100 people retweet my post, I will give £100. If 1,000 people retweet my Giving Tuesday post, I will give £1,000!
And, of course, if you would be willing to add your own personal message to mine, encouraging people to donate to Born Free or adopt one of our animals then that would be marvellous.
And thirdly, there is a dedicated team that works for Born Free – over 100 people worldwide who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place, one animal at a time. They rarely enter the spotlight but never doubt that they are there, working relentlessly for wildlife in need. They are my unsung heroes. If you would like to send them your support and encouragement, send a short message to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will ensure it is shared with the team. I know how much this will mean to them all.
There are two words we don't use often enough. They capture everything we mean to say but sometimes forget. Those two words are thank you.
I talked to my mother, Virginia, this morning and on Giving Tuesday, we both want to personally say thank you to everyone who, in their busy lives, takes a few moments to think of other less fortunate, the oppressed, the lost, the lonely and the forgotten.
To echo the words of my late father, Bill: "It's not that I am more interested in animals than people, I am just interested in life."
Let's get giving!