#GivingTuesday is making another appearance this year. This day-after-Cyber-Monday trend is gaining steam, as more and more people and organizations are participating in a mass giving effort. Like last year, this holiday is already becoming a massive success as they gain more supporters and spread awareness of the cause across the world.
#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y community center in upper New York City. They partnered with the United Nations Foundation in Washington to provide programs and services for hundreds of thousands of people who both visit the physical establishment and come seeking help online. This movement has gained the backing of both President Barack Obama and Bill Gates. Their generosity has created a precedent that has led to the generosity of hundreds more organizations and individuals.
Even though this social media trend has helped to further several causes, it has many critics. Some believe that it is simply propaganda that clutters consumers’ inboxes and doesn’t actually send the money to charity.
One critic, Brady Josephson, the founder of Shift, a Vancouver-based agency, published his frustrations about the “holiday” in the Huffington Post with an article entitled “Why I Hate Giving Tuesday.” The following is a highlight from the article.
“What is in these #GivingTuesday appeals and communications? A great new story? A special giving opportunity that I can be a part of to do something powerful, unique or impactful? Again, generally speaking, no. They are cash grab emails.”
However, it’s very difficult to ignore the overwhelming success of the cause. Last year, the organization raised $46 million for charities. All in all, that was 63 percent more than the previous year. Recent polls have also shown that this event is more widely recognized than the founders anticipated.
A Harris Poll discovered that one in every eight Americans has at least heard of the cause, if not given freely to it. The activities last year also spread to 68 countries worldwide, resulting in four times as much giving as the previous year. The average gift size is approximately $100, but many organizations have given hundreds of thousands to the cause.
This year, it’s still a little too early to tell what the level of success will be, but 40,000 organizations have already registered to participate. If the events of previous years are any indication, the amount of charitable giving is expected to rise, with millions more in donations for the needy.
The original idea was very simple. It revolved around taking a moment to reflect on those less fortunate after a particularly busy weekend of shopping. Henry Timms, Executive Director at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, has admitted that he’s a little taken aback by the success the campaign has received.
“We never needed more than six words: It was always Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. And people would really say ‘Yeah, I think that’s a good idea,’ ” he told CBS News. “It was an amazing thing to see that actually all over the country people started bringing their own ideas to Giving Tuesday and started to grow it.”
Organizations, including Florida State College at Jacksonville, (RED), the Guardian, Microsoft, PayPal, Smithsonian, Hava Health, and many other major establishments will do their part to participate in the #GivingTuesday festivities.
Anyone is invited to participate. If you’re interested, you can visit GivingTuesday.org or contact the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan for details. Participants are asked to share their donations on social media with the hashtag, #GivingTuesday, in order to bring more awareness to the holiday cause.
[Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images]