(This article first appeared in the November 23, 2016 issue of The Independent Newspaper)
Remember when Thanksgiving holiday weekend was about actually giving thanks? Neither do I. Today, eager American shoppers seem to be rushing through their family dinners in order to get to the nearest store for the best discounts.
The joy and selflessness of the holiday season seems to be forgotten, or trampled over. In 2015, Black Friday collected over $67 billion in in-store spending as over 130 million consumers prepared their wallets. Cyber Monday, the online day of the discount, in 2015 had consumers spending almost $3 billion. Americans are so quick to save a buck that the true meaning of the season is fading away. Or is it?
Now, in its fifth year, following a weekend of buying is a day designated to giving, #GivingTuesday, which falls this year on November 29. The day was started in 2012 by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center, with the partnership of the United Nations Foundation. Together, these groups allotted a day to kick off the charitable season of giving.
Maybe Giving Tuesday isn’t as exciting as battling your way to the register to purchase that brand new drone you had your eye on this season, that you woke up at 3 AM to wait in line for, but it is likely to feel far more rewarding.
Through evolving social media outlets, the day has turned into a global initiative. Other than the United States, 71 countries are beginning their own movements. Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Germany, United Kingdom, Croatia, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Kenya, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia are some to mention, and the list gets bigger each year. Even if just for one day the world is coming together in a single thought, kindness can be contagious and that’s something worth spreading.
As resources continue to grow, the day is becoming a philanthropic movement breaking down what makes us different by uniting us in a celebration of giving back to our local communities. Over 30,000 organizations are engaged worldwide — nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses, corporations and individuals alike, all coming together to encourage small acts of selflessness. Whether it be time or donations, companies everywhere are actively involving themselves with a cause to create brand value.
In 2015 $116.7 million dollars was raised online, $1.08 million total online were gifts, $700 thousand were from online donors. The day that heavily relies on social media had 114 billion Twitter impressions, 1.3 million social media mentions, and reached 917,313 users on Facebook. I’ll type it again- #GivingTuesday.
Some of the top influencers include Matthew Bishop from The Economist, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation, Adam Hirsch, Global EVP of Edelman Digital, and Patty Morrissey, Head of Groupon Grassroots.
Supporting organizations are CECP, Dorothy A. Johnson Center on Philanthropy, Giving Institute, Giving USA Foundation, The Huffington Post, Blackbaund, John Templeton Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Paypal.
As we all prepare for our Thanksgiving feasts (if we’re fortunate enough), followed by the days of discount buying, we can also share what’s in our hearts by participating in #GivingTuesday.
To find a local partnership go to GivingTuesday.org/Whats-Happening-Near-Me.