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While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about finding the best deals on holiday gifts for yourself and family members, Giving Tuesday serves a more altruistic purpose. Observed annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it encourages people to help those in need by making financial donations or doing good in their local community. The “Global Day of Giving” was started in 2012 by New York City nonprofit 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation.
In its first year, the movement brought in almost $10 million for charities, and things have only improved since. In 2019, the numerous #GivingTuesday social media campaigns worldwide helped raise an astounding $1.9 billion from 27 million donors! Over the past five years, many higher education institutions have also been using the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to ask alumni for donations. In 2019, the University of Michigan, which calls it Giving Blueday, received 5,887 gifts totaling over $4 million, while Pennsylvania State University raised $710,000 to benefit over 85 university programs and initiatives.
Though donating money certainly helps, there are many other ways to support the great cause, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can video tutor kids struggling with online learning, or team up with an adult to get groceries or medications for an elderly neighbor. Alternatively, enlist your peers to help you with a service project that addresses an issue close to your heart, or pick one from the several ideas suggested on the #GivingTuesday website.
You can also donate your gently-used clothes and toys to local shelters, or mail a handwritten note to a grandparent or friend you miss seeing. Social media experts can contribute by sharing information about this worthwhile endeavor online. 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!