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Thanksgiving, our national day for giving thanks, is followed immediately by two days dedicated solely to shopping and getting deals — Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Why not have a day dedicated to giving?
This is the question asked by Henry Timms, Executive Director of the 92nd Street Y in New York City when he proposed a day of giving — dubbed #GivingTuesday™ — to a group of partners including the United Nations Foundation.
Consumerism thrives in our country. Millions of people will line up for hours outside retailers nationwide starting Thursday evening, some even camping out Thursday night, waiting for stores to open so they can get their hands on great holiday deals.
But America is also great at giving. In fact, America is one of the most generous countries in the world. We don’t just give to our neighbors and fellow citizens, but we give to people around the globe. #GivingTuesday is dedicated to celebrating and sharing the generosity of Americans. “It’s about creating ways to give more, give better and give smarter.”
On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.
The birth of #GivingTuesday
What ensued after Henry Timms first pitched the idea of #GivingTuesday was a “non-stop, surprise after surprise of creativity, ingenuity and passion from Americans everywhere,” said Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications at the UN Foundation.
Once the Foundation and a committee of influencers was on board, they conducted listening tours and focus groups around the country, which revealed one thing: Americans are ready to give. “It was clear from the very first set of meetings that this was an idea whose time had come,” Sherinian said. “People are enthusiastically ready to talk about giving. People are tired of talking about just consuming all the time.”
The vision behind #GivingTuesday is to make sure more giving happens on this one day and beyond. “We believe the pie will just get bigger,” Sherinian said. “A big part of online giving typically happens the last two days of December, but by launching #GivingTuesday, we are encouraging people to start talking about giving now, and we are providing people with more opportunities to give — all of which allow for more giving to happen.”
#GivingTuesday is a collaborative effort, with more than 1500 partners all working to get out the message that America isn’t just about getting, but that we are a country as that gives as good as it gets.
Watch the #GivingTuesday promo video
Social media is in its DNA
The hashtag in #GivingTuesday is no mistake. #GivingTuesday is centered on a social media approach to building a community. “We live in a social media world, and we know social media can help drive real social change,” Sherinian said. “We knew this was a movement that could only live up to its promise and its scale if it had a social media focus.”
To take full advantage of the power of social media, organizers of #GivingTuesday assembled a core group of Social Media Ambassadors. These are individuals who have strong social networks and strong points of view about how networks and communities can help drive positive social change.
#GivingTuesday has partnered with Dynamic Signal, which designed a unique community page for #GivingTuesday, and other tech platforms, like CrowdRise and Fundly — platforms that make it easy for people to give online, and to give socially.
Guiding principles of giving
#GivingTuesday is driven by these three principles:
- It’s not just about giving more; it’s about giving smarter. #GivingTuesday wants to encourage people to give learn how to give smart and how to talk about philanthropy.
- Everyone can be a philanthropist. From the small issues that affect individual communities, to global issues, anyone can give, not just with their wallets, but also with their voices, through volunteering and talking about service.
- As a country, we have a proud tradition of giving. We are one of the most generous countries in the world, giving globally, not just in our own backyards. We view the entire world as a place where we can have a positive impact.
Opportunities and initiatives
Girl Up (@GirlUp) is doing a joint campaign with Altruette. For every purchase of the unique charm designed by Altruette, a donation will be given to GirlUp to help girls around the world receive their educations.
Nothing But Nets, (@NothingbutNets) a UN Foundation campaign focused on providing mosquito nets to people in countries where malaria is an epidemic, has partnered with Steve Nash, point guard for the LA Lakers. Nash is asking all of his fans and friends to support Nothing But Nets on #GivingTuesday.
Simon Malls will allow shoppers to make donations on site at all of their malls around the U.S. Similarly, Starwood Hotels, including Westin properties and aloft hotels are running special charitable initiatives on #GivingTuesday.
Even celebrities are on board with #GivingTuesday. Charlize Theron will encourage her fans to help the effort to end HIV in Africa.
How can you get involved?
“Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.”
On #GivingTuesday, give in a way that is meaningful to you. Then tell others. Tweet it out using #GivingTuesday. Post it on Facebook. Encourage your friends to give back too!
Watch the “Get Out The Give” video from Mashable.
Written by Melody Harstine
I'm a freelance writer with a penchant for Pugs and a portfolio of articles from tech to beauty and beyond. A communicator at heart, my true passion is covering issues promoting positive change in our world. Connect with me on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, or at melodyharstine.com.