Celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the popular shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is designed to kick off the season of generosity. Now in its eighth year, the charitable event uses the power of social media to encourage organizations and individuals to donate funds or resources towards worthy causes. Established in 2012 by New York City nonprofit 92nd Street Y, #GivingTuesday is now observed worldwide, with millions of people coming together each year to bring positive change to their communities.
Though dedicating just one day to such a worthy cause may seem insufficient, #GivingTuesday makes a surprisingly significant impact. In 2018, the global campaign raised an astounding $1 billion — $400 million just in the United States — to benefit a broad range of causes. Many educational institutions also use the occasion to reach out to alumni for donations. In 2018, the University of Michigan, which calls it BlueDay, received 12,000 gifts totaling $3.5 million during the 24 hours!
While monetary donations certainly help, that is not the only way to show your generosity. You can also donate your time. In 2018, members of the a capella group at Pennsylvania's Lafayette College treated residents of the Glendale Nursing Home to a special concert on the evening of #GivingTuesday. In San Diego, CA, community members participated in a California Wildfire Relief Telethon and helped raise $107,800 for the victims and first responders of the destructive fires in that region. In Nairobi, Kenya, volunteers encouraged people of all ages to paint messages of goodwill and kindness on rocks and distribute them to those in need of a little cheer.
In the Hurricane Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico, volunteers spent the day cleaning up beaches and repairing homes, while in Caracas, Venezuela, doctors gave free treatments to young patients in need of medical care.
You can also give back by volunteering at a nearby nonprofit or food bank. Social media experts can contribute by sharing information about the day and inspiring their peers to participate in this worthwhile endeavor. Another great way to celebrate #GivingTuesday is by assisting a family member with chores or helping a neighbor with yard work. Even small, easy gestures such as opening a door for a stranger, or smiling at one, qualify. What are you going to do to make a positive difference in your community on #GivingTuesday? Let us know by adding your comments below!