Over the past weekend, the holiday shopping season officially started, with the best deals for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. The Internet and news broadcasts were filled with videos of people literally pushing each other down to get to the last item on the shelf or fighting over that discounted sweater.
But after the shopping frenzy, the nation remembered the true spirit of the holiday season with the celebration of #GivingTuesday, a movement across the country to do something nice for someone else at the start of the holiday season.
Whether it was companies doing their part to provide non-profits with large donations, stores providing a portion of sales to a selected cause, a school hosting a food drive or individuals raking leaves for their elderly neighbor, the goal of this day is to encourage people to help others and give more.
According to the movement’s website, www.givingtuesday.org, the fundraising tracking company Blackbaud recorded an increase of 53 percent in donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2012 compared to 2011, while a similar company DonorPerfect recorded a 46 percent increase for their clients with the average gift increasing 25 percent.
The movement uses social media to spread the word about this day, encouraging everyone to share what their projects or good deeds were on social media sites using the hash tag system. In 2012, “#GivingTuesday” trended worldwide, with over 50 million people mentioning the phrase on social media sites. By noon on Tuesday, it was already trending among United States Twitter accounts with 108,600 tweets.
After the craziness that is Black Friday and frantically trying to come up with gift ideas for loved ones, it is nice to be reminded that the holiday season is about more than decorations and gifts; it is nice to be reminded that the spirit of giving is still alive and well in humanity.
Even if you missed your opportunity to participate in a specific #GivingTuesday event, take some time this holiday season to do something for someone else or for a cause that is near to your heart. Take an afternoon and volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen. Donate the change in your pocket to the causes sitting in the mall or outside supermarkets. It doesn’t have to be a huge fundraising event to make a difference.