Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by the U.N. Foundation in partnership with 92Y, and is always observed on the first Tuesday of December. It encourages following excessive spending on ourselves and loved ones on Black Friday and Cyber Monday with generosity towards strangers in need.
It was hoped that 50 nonprofits would respond by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday in their online appeals. According to Asha Curran, director of the 92Y’s Center for Innovation and Social Impact and a founding member of #GivingTuesday, “We were asking a question: Is there an appetite for something like #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday, but about giving?”
The answer was a resounding yes. Over 2,500 nonprofits participated that first year. By 2014, the number of organizations had skyrocketed to nearly 35,000 charities, civic groups, celebrities, and for-profit companies and expanded to 68 countries.
Kathy Calvin, CEO of the U.N. Foundation and #GivingTuesday co-founder, attributes the event’s success to its function as a collaboration between nonprofits. “It’s controlled by nobody, owned by everybody,” she says. “We’re working together to raise awareness. This includes logos, sample press releases, social media toolkits. Anything we could think of.”
Critics say the day encourages charities to send emails with the sole purpose of making a cash grab in December when 31 percent of all charitable giving would occur anyway due to the holiday season and end-of-year tax incentives, according to Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index.
No matter how you choose to spend today, have a Happy Giving Tuesday!