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For Those Who’d Rather Give Than Receive, #GivingTuesday Marks True Start to Holiday Season

Image credit: GivingTuesday.org

While thousands of retailers across the U.S. and cyberspace are dusting their shelves and crossing their fingers for lucrative Black Friday and Cyber Monday takes, respectively, thousands of organizations around the world are gearing up for an event that represents the true spirit of the holiday season, #GivingTuesday.

The second annual event, which kicks off the holiday giving season with a global day dedicated to charitable giving, harnessing the power of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities, takes place this year on December 3. #GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages people to give their time, resources, talents and social media voice to a new kind of philanthropy that is about social purpose and collaboration for improving conditions for those in need throughout the world.

Last year, the first-annual #GivingTuesday brought together more than 2,500 partners in all 50 U.S. states who created innovative fundraising and volunteer initiatives fueled by social media. Organizations including Blackbaud, Network for Good and Donor Perfect reported more than a 50 percent increase in online giving on #GivingTuesday 2012, compared with the same day the previous year.

For #GivingTuesday 2013, the number of non-profits and businesses joining in the movement is double that of last year, including multinational corporations and major philanthropic organizations.

“This year we are seeing so many dynamic campaigns coming together to form one community. There is so much energy and entrepreneurialism throughout the #GivingTuesday movement," said Henry Timms, #GivingTuesday founder and interim executive director of 92nd Street Y. “It has been humbling to see an idea that took root in one of 92Y’s core values — repairing the world — resonate with people, organizations, and business entities around the world who have taken it upon themselves to create new and innovative ways to inspire and facilitate giving.”

In 2013, organizations in countries around the world are joining the #GivingTuesday movement, creating initiatives in Australia, Canada, Latin America, Singapore, Israel and Mexico, making #GivingTuesday a global movement of individuals and organizations that believe that everyone has a role in helping solve challenges at a local and global level.

Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said, “I think the democratization of giving really invigorates people to think, ‘Yes, I could make a difference. I could urge others to make a difference. I can demand that government make a difference.’ We want to encourage people to get engaged and to give back; it does not have to be money — it can be engagement or advocacy, raising your voice, or offering your time and expertise.”

This year, #GivingTuesday partners have developed innovative programs and campaigns to encourage their employees, customers and constituents, as well as the general public, to give back. Examples of partner plans for #GivingTuesday this year include: 

  • Discover: This #GivingTuesday, Discover is finding ways for their cardmembers and employees to give more, give better and give smarter  they are encouraging giving by offering Discover cardmembers a 2 percent match on direct donations to the national chapters of their Cashback Bonus charitable partners when using Discover cards as well as a 2 percent match on Cashback Bonus donations made on that day.
  • eBay Inc.: To celebrate #GivingTuesday, eBay Deals will be teaming up with eBay Giving Works to bring consumers an easy way to shop for holiday gifts at the best prices. From December 3-10, at least 10 percent of the proceeds from those sales will benefit a non-profit. Also beginning December 3, PayPal will kick off a series of activities to encourage its customers to support the non-profits they love throughout the holiday season.
  • Kenneth Cole: For #GivingTuesday, fashion designer and social activist Kenneth Cole will promote AWEARNESS ID bracelets featuring the messages “BE AWEAR” and “I HAVE ISSUES.” These aim to encourage and inspire individuals to get involved and make a difference. Available at Kennethcole.com and in select Kenneth Cole stores, 100 percent of the net profits from the sale of the bracelets will be donated to AWEARNESS. Additionally, Kenneth Cole will ask fans to share the causes they want people to “#BEAWEAR” of on their social channels.
  • Microsoft: On #GivingTuesday, Microsoft YouthSpark is launching a campaign to raise $500K for Give for Youth to create education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people. Microsoft will match 100 percent of donations made on #GivingTuesday dollar for dollar up to $250,000.
  • Rock the Earth: Rock the Earth has launched a contest  Give. Share. Win. — with three components: Give $25 or more to Rock the Earth between Friday, Nov. 22 and Tuesday, Dec. 3; Share Rock the Earth’s #GivingTuesday “virtual sticker” on your favorite or multiple social media outlets with the hashtags #RockTheEarth and #GivingTuesday; completing the first two tasks enters you to Win a pair of VIP tickets to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 12-15, 2014), plus airfare for two to the festival from anywhere in the continental U.S. One winner will be randomly selected on Thursday, Dec. 5. Further details, rules and restrictions can be found on the Rock the Earth website.
  • [email protected]: [email protected] is working to give children around the world a shot at a healthy life by providing life-saving vaccines; the campaign will encourage their more than 500 Champions across the U.S. to join and spread awareness of the Giving Tuesday movement. In addition, [email protected] will work closely on a December 3rd promotion with partner Diapers.com.
  • Unilever: A founding partner, Unilever focuses its #GivingTuesday efforts on rallying employees in support of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goal to help a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being. Building on its successful and multi-faceted 2012 program, Unilever will again focus on hunger relief by conducting a second annual company-wide Food Bank Drive, which first launched on Giving Tuesday 2012. This year the drive expands to Canada and culminates on December 3, creating employee volunteer opportunities on #GivingTuesday itself. As a new element, Unilever will double the match of employee donations made to its seven Unilever Foundation partners on #GivingTuesday.
  • United Way Worldwide: As the largest privately funded non-profit in the world, United Way is encouraging its network of 1,800 community-based United Ways, plus partners and supporters, to participate in #GivingTuesday. The organization is asking people to give their time and help more kids graduate by pledging to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor in their communities.

Speaking of giving, Safeway, Oakley, Frontier Airlines and Family Dollar are among companies that have adopted a new tool that helps to measure the social impact of giving programs. Reporting on impact is an essential component of a comprehensive giving program, but it is often easier said than done. The Impact Reporting tool, developed by Versaic, enables users to track the impact of their donations by automatically requesting follow up information from approved non-profits after the contribution is made or the event is held.


Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]


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