From Thanksgiving, now dubbed Gray Thursday, to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, newspapers, television, and the Internet are filled with the tips on what smartphone apps to use, which stores are open, which retailers are offering discounts, and which websites have free shipping.
At the tail end of this comes a day that thankfully hasn’t escaped notice: Giving Tuesday. If you’re not familiar with this, the idea of Giving Thursday, observed on December 3, was started by the 92nd Street Y (a non-profit community and cultural center in New York) and the United Nations Foundation. The initiative is in its second year and has attracted the notice of non-profits and for-profit businesses.
What makes Giving Tuesday unique is that it’s focused on donating and connecting people and businesses with charities. It’s a day that’s dedicated to the idea that we can all give back, pay our good fortune and current success forward. After weeks, if not months of advertising about how we can buy and spend, this one day is when we can all come together to pay back.
Giving Tuesday is something that individuals and businesses large and small can take part in. Individual donations and awareness occurs via social media, particularly on Twitter and via Google Plus. Tweets and Google Plus hangouts feature a wide variety of charities and organizations that help consumers to verify non-profits, helping connect people with the causes that are the most important to them. Giving Tuesday is also an opportunity for businesses to incorporate corporate philanthropy into their culture. It offers a way for even small businesses to become involved, on the local level to the global level.
This year for Giving Tuesday, the hashtag on Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram is unselfie (a hashtag — # — on social media is a way for users to thread conversations together and to follow topics). With the term “selfie”, a reference to a smartphone self-portrait, being named the word of the year by the Oxford University Press, Giving Tuesday has turned that around to be an unselfie focused on why people donate to charity.
If you’re looking for a change from shopping for presents and hunting for discounts, consider Giving Tuesday. It can be financially difficult to give continuously throughout the year. Giving Tuesday is a great way for you as an individual or for small business owners to pay it forward and to give not only money but also volunteer time to a non-profit helping the community. Whether it’s local, national, or international, there are hundreds of ways to help. Giving Tuesday can not only make the world a better place, but help make you feel better and more connected with what’s happening, and make your employees feel more engaged at work.