Forget Black Friday: Spend Your Energy on Giving Tuesday

Forget Black Friday: Spend Your Energy on Giving Tuesday
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Why you should care

Because it’s the perfect time of year to give back. 

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It started out as a germ of an idea four years ago: What if, after the rush of Thanksgiving and Black Friday and Cyber Monday had subsided, there was a way of bringing the concept of giving front and center? #GivingTuesday fit the bill.

The movement originated from the 92nd Street Y in New York City, where I work as the director of innovation and social impact. Since 2013, the action galvanized by a single hashtag has been remarkable. #GivingTuesday snowballed and engaged people in ways that I didn’t think were possible.

Communities around the country have responded by instituting local campaigns of their own. And while we’ve all heard of large-hearted philanthropists making generous donations to charity, #GivingTuesday has proven that you don’t have to be a Bill Gates to join in the “giving chain.”

So what forms can giving take? While donating to a cause that is dear to you is a great start, I encourage people to try amplifying their contribution by asking an employer for a matching gift or encouraging friends to join the cause on social media. Giving also doesn’t always have to be tied to monetary donations. There are many local organizations that would be happy to have you volunteer time to take on a project.

#GivingTuesday snowballed and engaged people in ways that I didn’t think were possible.

In the spirit of the season, recruit your family to join in. Young children can select a toy or gift to donate to charity or give to other kids in need. They will also love to clean up at local parks or beaches. I suggest setting up a sticker chart to encourage kids to do at least one act of kindness a day above and beyond any chores they might normally be assigned. Small acts of kindness can be to assist a neighbor with carrying groceries or helping a sibling with homework.

It’s hard to miss the chain reaction of good that can come from simple acts of participation in #GivingTuesday. When you give, you feel happier, more fulfilled and empathetic. It gives you permission to be generous of spirit — and that can be a great unifier for communities across the world, and a powerful learning experience for children. In the long term, I hope that the #GivingTuesday movement will give nonprofits a window into what motivates people to give — and how.

Let #GivingTuesday — November 28 this year — be the spark that gets you into the spirit of philanthropy. It can start as a small step and build into making the world a better place for all. Giving reminds us that we’re all tied together by our common humanity, and that despite our differences, there is much that unites us. I invite you to make #GivingTuesday your new annual holiday tradition.

Asha Curran is the Director of Innovation and Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y.