Today is Giving Tuesday, an initiative that seeks to bring together individuals, companies, families and charities and rethink what it means to participate in this annual giving season. The participants are of all forms: the Huffington Post has a Giving Tuesday section; the CPG giant Unilever says it is heavily involved; and non profits with various agendas, such as Detroit Dog Rescue, are participating today.
So far over 2,000 Giving Tuesday partners in each of the U.S. states: many are non-profits with a specific initiative in mind; others are companies that have pledged to support at least one non-profit organization. These organizations are betting that social media, notably Twitter, can be a huge driver behind the surge in donations expected today.
Supporters range from Bill Gates to Marty Tuzman, CEO of Jenkintown Building Services, a construction company located 10 miles outside of Philadelphia. Like many citizens searching for a meaningful alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Tuzman decided to give back to his community. In his company’s case, the firm will spruce up a homeless shelter in Philadelphia’s Center City.
If you are not in a financial position to donate money, the folks behind Giving Tuesday have a bevy of suggestions for individuals. The power of social media is another tool this movement’s leaders have leveraged as well: from Twitter to video posts, the Giving Tuesday community is dishing out points to inspire young and old to spread the word.
And for those who are skipping a meal out or a new shirt and instead wish to donate money to a Giving Tuesday campaign, a dozen platforms including Kiva, Crowdrise and GiveCorps are accepting funds. One organization, Money Crashers, is considering a plan that will crowdfund donations and divert them to new entrepreneurs.
So if you had enough of trolling through Twitter to find deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today is your chance to gauge how today’s massive fundraising day pans out by searching under the hashtag #GivingTuesday. With Christmas four weeks away and far too many people having to do without, today is a chance for people and businesses to show that they know the true meaning of giving–not shopping.
Leon Kaye, based in Fresno, California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business, Inhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him questions on Twitter.