Kindness can be a random act, or purposeful and specific.
Giving Tuesday embraces both possibilities.
The so-called “global day of generosity” always falls the week after Thanksgiving, the rear guard in the annual ritual of special “days” that kick off the holiday season by spending money in one way or another — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.
And in this year of the coronavirus pandemic, economic upheaval has driven up community needs to make Giving Tuesday 2020 and other philanthropic intentions particularly vital. In some cases, this year’s donations are essential to keep charities in operation.
But Giving Tuesday is not just about giving money to a favorite nonprofit. There are multiple, non-financial ways to contribute, alternatives that are encouraged on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
What makes December 1 different from any other day? You.
— GivingTuesday – December 1 (@GivingTuesday) November 29, 2020
Here are 5 things to know about Giving Tuesday.
1) The Y of it
The roots of Giving Tuesday actually grew out of … a Monday. Back in 2011, according to Wikipedia, the director of the Chicago-based Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company suggested a charitable day that he dubbed “Cyber Giving Monday” as an alternative to the burst of online shopping that was connected to the phrase “Cyber Monday.”
It took the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City — famous for its community outreach and cultural programming — to make #GivingTuesday a reality in 2012. The idea was simple: promote charitable giving on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving Day via a hashtag on social media.
In partnership with the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday became a worldwide effort. Giving Tuesday is also now a standalone nonprofit organization. Last year, according to the group’s 2019 Impact Report, Giving Tuesday involved people in 60 countries and more than 400 community campaigns — about half in the United States.
2) Dollar signs of progress
The growth has been phenomenal. From raising about $10 million in its first year, Giving Tuesday generated nearly $2 billion in online and offline charitable donations in 2019, the impact report states.
Americans were generous — producing more than $511 million in online donations in 24 hours. They were energetic too, launching more than 200 community campaigns that involved communities rallying together for the cause.
Earlier this year, on May 5, a special event was held — #GivingTuesdayNow. That was launched as a response to the economic fallout of the coronavirus, and the result was strong: From the U.S. alone, people pledged $503 million in online donations. It remains to be seen how generous people will be on Giving Tuesday 2020 following six more months of financial hardship and a new surge of coronavirus.
3) More than one way to give
Sending money is not the only way to participate. Other ways suggested by Giving Tuesday organizers include volunteering, donating goods or extra supplies, reaching out to a neighbor or simply saying thanks to an essential worker on the frontlines of the pandemic. (Remember the signs held outside hospitals, messages chalked on sidewalks, and heartfelt notes posted on Facebook?)
Visit the Giving Tuesday Blog at givingtuesday.org/blog to see what other people, nonprofits and companies are doing. That includes specific, issue-based collective movements listed at givingtuesday.org/givingtuesday-across-us, such as GivingBlackTuesday, LatinxGive, GivingTuesdayMilitary, and GivingTuesdayLGBTQ.
4) Be diligent while being generous
Experts caution to research a charity before sending money. A good way to inventory your interests and do some vetting is through Charity Navigator, an online evaluator of 160,000 nonprofits. Find tips and information on smart giving at charitynavigator.org.
Last year, the Office of the California Attorney published a “Guide for Online Charitable Giving” and also offered advice for safely participating in #GivingTuesdayNow in a news release that still holds up.
5) Multiplier Effect
Don’t forget to see if the company you or your spouse work for has a matching gift program. Check with human resources or go to DoubletheDonation.com to access a free database search between now and Dec. 8 of companies that match employee donations. Other private donors also offer matching programs for specific causes, which the nonprofits themselves will indicate in their #GivingTuesday alerts.
Source: Orange County Register