GivingTuesday brings the spirit of the season to life

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If Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all about buy, buy, buy, GivingTuesday is the counterbalance. It urges us to give, give, give.

GivingTuesday, which falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, started in 2012 to emphasize the charitable side of the season of giving. It quickly attracted big-name support with Facebook, Google, PayPal and the Gates Foundation signing on as sponsors.

Since then, it has taken off. GivingTuesday has spread around the world and has raised more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone. Last year, $400 million was raised worldwide. This year, 60,000 organizations will participate.

And its profile as an event is rising with one survey showing that 37% of Americans are now familiar with GivingTuesday, compared to 27% last year. Of course, it still has a long way to go to catch up with Black Friday, which an estimated 93% of Americans know about.

Its website and hashtag (#givingtuesday) offer charitable organizations a chance to increase exposure and widen support. People are urged to act as ambassadors for their favorite charities by sharing their missions and information on social media in the weeks running up to GivingTuesday.

For donors, it’s easy to participate. You just give to your favorite charities, regardless if they’re officially registered with GivingTuesday. Or you can go to givingtuesday.org for a list of charitable organizations in your area that are participating in GivingTuesday.

GivingTuesday isn’t just about donating money. GivingTuesday encourages us all to get involved in our local community which can mean something different to each of us. Whether you choose to volunteer your time, donate goods or encourage others to get involved in charity work, the idea is that we should all give back in some way.

To maximize the impact of your monetary gift, check to see if your employer will match your donation. Facebook is offering to match donations made through its platform beginning at 5 a.m. on GivingTuesday up to a total of $7 million.

And some credit cards, like ours offered at OCCU, give double rewards points for charitable donations.

We hope you join us to participate in GivingTuesday this year.