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There’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Tuesday, December 3 marks the second annual, #GivingTuesday.
When Black Friday (which is now creeping further and further into what’s been dubbed “Gray Thursday) and Cyber Monday try to steal the attitude of gratitude and giving from the holiday season, #GivingTuesday brings us back to what really matters this holiday season: people.
Last year, Henry Timms, executive director of the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the UN Foundation introduced the world to #GivingTuesday, “a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.”
Our country may rank top in the world for consumerism, but we are also one of the most generous countries in the world, giving to our neighbors, citizens and people around the world.
Last year, with the birth of #GivingTuesday, organizers hoped for a few partners — what they ended up with was more than 2,500 partners and events around the nation, all centered around one thing: giving. “This just shows us how much you can do when people get behind a movement like this,” said Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications at the UN Foundation.
A growing movement of social good
While the focus remains the same, the scale of #GivingTuesday has grown tremendously since last year. This year, the number of #GivingTuesday partners has more than doubled — at last count, the number had topped 7,000!
The social media conversation surrounding #GivingTuesday has been going on all year, but has picked up significantly in the last few weeks. Just yesterday, the White House published a blog encouraging Americans to participate in #GivingTuesday.
Even local government officials around the country are encouraging citizens in their communities to participate. In Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is using her platform and partnering with charities and local business to help her city earn the title of “most generous city in America” by collectively raising $5-million for charity.
Celebrities like Bill and Melinda Gates (her first Vine video was about #GivingTuesday), Hugh Jackman and Bette Midler are also spurring the conversation about #GivingTuesday by encouraging community activism and promoting their favorite charities.
“The whole country is getting involved,” said Sherinian.
But the chatter about #GivingTuesday isn’t confined to the borders of the United States. #GivingTuesday has gone global this year, with the help of the UN Development Programme. There will be #GivingTuesday events taking place in more than 15 countries, including Mexico, Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom.
All considered, still the most exciting factor contributing to the success of #GivingTuesday are the personal stories. “People are excited to talk about how they give and what they love doing,” said Sherinian. “There’s a powerful energy in America and around the world about people who just want to talk about giving in an effort to make a greater impact.”
Fostering change: an education on giving
It excites Sherinian just to think about how #GivingTuesday gets people talking about giving back to their communities. It isn’t about bragging, he says, but about generating a conversation that can change perspective and celebrating what happens when everybody gives together. “It’s healthy to reset a conversation about giving,” he said. “Talk with authenticity and help shed light on the ways people can help their own communities.”
Education and training has been an important factor leading up to this year’s day of giving. For the past three months, there have been Twitter chats, Meetups, Google+ Hangouts and much more.
Throughout the year, numerous partners came on board to help build capacity and spur the conversation.
- Facebook developed a tool explaining how to use Facebook and Instagram in ways that can help your community.
- Dynamic Signal manages the #GivingTuesday community page year ‘round.
- Giving Tuesday University created a hub of education and best practices to help organizations get the most out of #GivingTuesday.
- Leading public relations firms, including Havas PR, Weber Shandwick, FleishmanHillard, The Glover Park Group and Fenton Communications have come to the table with strategy, messaging and digital tool kits — all pro bono.
- Bloggers and writers including Beth Kanter (who challenged Conan O’Brien that he’d have more LinkedIn followers if he joined the #GivingTuesday Movement), Simon Mainwaring and Peter Sims have kept the buzz going all year long.
- And Social media ambassadors have provided meaniful and honest feedback about what they think works and what doesn’t work — feedback that only improves the #GivingTuesday experience.
“It’s fun to see how people are willing to give so much,” said Sherinian.
#GivingTuesday has had a profound effect on those involved. “For me, it has reinforced that communities can do extraordinary things when they leverage the tools they have at their disposal,” said Sherinian.
#GivingTuesday is “social good at its social best.”
Oh, and that hashtag — it’s an intentional piece of the trademarked name and logo. #GivingTuesday is centered on driving social change through social media.
How it works
There are a few ways you can get involved this December 3. First, take a picture of yourself telling why you give and use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #unselfie (an unselfish “selfie). Second, find a nonp-profit or charity you can support. Finally, share your giving story with the #GivingTuesday community. (Details and parameters can be found here.)
#GivingTuesday opportunities and initiatives
With more than 7,000 #GivingTuesday events worldwide, we could never mention all of them, but here are a few featured events:
Giving Tuesday LIVE (#GTLive) powered by Just Good, TwitChange and Indie GoGo: #GTLive is a special webcast that will take place from 12-3 pm ET that will feature discussions with Holly Robinson Peete, thought leaders from Indie GoGo, UN Foundation and the TODAY Show, and cause-centric holiday gift ideas. Hosted by Shelton Mercer, CEO, TwitChange, Brian Weinberg, Founder, JustGood and media pro Envy McKee, GTLive will be produced from Benjamin’s Desk in Philadelphia, PA and carried worldwide over UStream at givingtuesdaylive.org.
Consano’s 50-50-50: With support of a generous family foundation, Consano will be giving out $50 Consaon gift cards to the first 50 people who donate $50 on Tuesday, December 3. Give the “gift of giving” by sharing your gift card with a friend or use it yourself to double the impact of your donation. Help Consano spread the spirit of the holidays by supporting the medical research that matters to you on #GivingTuesday.
KIND Healthy Snacks: From December 2nd to 3rd, KIND Healthy Snacks will offer $10 off our KIND Healthy Indulgence Cube. For every cube purchased, KIND will make a donation to City Harvest, a food rescue organization dedicated to feeding hungry New Yorkers, to feed 12 individuals.
#undiaparadar: The #GivingTuesday movement in Latin America. Go to undiaparadar.net to find out more about what’s happening to get out the give in Latin America this Tuesday.
#CultivateGives and Sole Hope: For every Tweet and Instagram post of the special Cultivate Wines #GivingTuesday image, Cultivate Wines will donate $1 to Sole Hope (or other non-profits) up to $100,000! On Tuesday, December 3, visit @CultivateWines on Twitter or Instagram and share the photo with #CultivateGives #SoleHope. Want to support another charity or non-profit? Just share the image with the hashtag of the organization you want Cultivate Wines to donate to!
How will you give this year?
Be sure to join the conversation on GivingTuesday Live and Tweet #GTLive!