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While Black Friday and Cyber Monday help kickstart the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday, which will be observed on November 28, attempts to galvanize the season of giving. Now in its sixth year, the charitable day uses the power of social media to encourage organizations and individuals to donate funds or resources to worthy causes. Created by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, its mission is to bring positive change to communities through giving.
Though dedicating just one day to a worthy cause may not seem much, #GivingTuesday makes a surprisingly significant impact. In 2015, ORGANIZE, an online organ donor program asked people to "Give with your Heart," by becoming registered donors. Thousands of Americans heeded the plea, resulting in one of the largest digital donor drives in US history.
That same year, the Cleveland Library and the Pratt Library in Baltimore competed to see who could encourage more donations. While the Pratt Library won with a $41,000 haul, the Cleveland Library was able to raise a substantial amount for its programs as well. In 2016, the University of Michigan renamed #GivingTuesday to Giving Blueday and encouraged students, alumni, and friends to donate to hourly challenges. They raised an astounding $5.5 million! The university hopes to re-create the magic this year, with a virtual celebration to mark the institution’s 200th anniversary.
#GivingTuesday is not just a US phenomenon, but a global movement. In 2016, 98 countries participated in the event, raising $177 million, a 44% increase over 2015, when 71 nations collected $116.7 million. These numbers can only increase as the day gains further recognition.
Though donating funds is a great way to help, there are numerous other ways to support your local community. You can give back by volunteering at a nearby nonprofit or food bank. Social media experts can do their share by spreading the information and inspiring their peers to get involved. Another great way to celebrate #GivingTuesday is by helping those closest to you, whether that’s assisting a family member with chores or helping a neighbor with yard work. Remember, even the smallest gesture of kindness qualifies as giving back. What are you going to do to make a positive difference in your community on #GivingTuesday? Let us know by adding your comments below!
Resources: givingtuesday.org, evertrue.com, socialmediatoday.com