Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, which means that most Americans were giving thanks and taking a break from work to spend time with family and friends. This past Friday and Monday have become famous dates as well, now known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the busiest shopping days of the year. Black Friday is designated for retail shopping, and Cyber Monday promotes online shopping. A less widely known date that falls on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday, a day that is important to the non-profit sector, rather than the for-profit sector.
#GivingTuesday takes place this year on December 2nd, 2014, 5 days after Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday is dedicated to giving back to the nonprofit community, largely through monetary donations. According to the official website of #GivingTuesday, this year will mark the third #GivingTuesday.
A recent press release on the official website of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced that she and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) introduced a bipartisan resolution, House resolution 781, to recognize #GivingTuesday as a national day of giving and volunteerism. In the press release, Congresswoman Gabbard stated, “There are too many things that cause divisions within our communities, but one thing that can bring us together toward a common goal is that of giving to others, and making a positive impact on their lives.” #Giving Tuesday represents the aims of the nonprofit sector to bring people together to celebrate and raise awareness of nonprofit organizations that provide services to communities across the country throughout the year.
The founders of #GivingTuesday are 92nd Street Y, a Jewish cultural and community center in New York City, and the United Nations Foundation, which works on international issues around the world. Partners that work with #GivingTuesday include Microsoft, GlobalGiving, (RED), Unilever, Univision, MSNBC, and other organizations.
On the second annual #GivingTuesday, which took place last year, individuals supported more than 10,000 nonprofit organizations across the country through monetary contributions or volunteering their time. Online donations nearly doubled from $12 million to $21 million on #GivingTuesday 2013 compared to the first annual #Giving Tuesday in 2012. Some nonprofit organizations created their own hashtags on Twitter to raise money and awareness for their causes, such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s #UNselfie and Camp Kesem’s #BigKidsGive,. The Michael J. Fox Foundation supports research for Parkinson’s disease, and Camp Kesem supports children affected by a parent’s cancer.
Nonprofits are an important sector of the US economy. A recent report from the Urban Institute found that approximately 1.58 million nonprofits were registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2011. The same year, the nonprofit sector contributed $836.9 billion to the U.S. economy, accounting for 5.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Total private giving in 2012 was $316.23 billion, and volunteers contributed 12.7 billion hours to nonprofit organizations.
Nonprofits hope #GivingTuesday will raise awareness about their work and increase charitable giving. Data shows that the recession negatively impacted nonprofits as well as for-profit businesses. Nonprofits saw a 20 percent decrease in donations in 2010 compared to 2007, the year before the recession began. Twenty to thirty percent of charitable giving occurs during the holiday season and #GivingTuesday aims to capitalize on the spirit of generosity once more this Tuesday, December 2.
“According to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, 73 percent of millennials gave to charity in 2013. Generosity and philanthropy are important to our generation, and we are rising to do our part as previous generations have done…Whatever the avenue they choose, millennials are wholeheartedly following the great American tradition of giving back and paying it forward,” said Congressman Schock. Through use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, #GivingTuesday aims to reach younger Americans by engaging them in new and creative ways. For more information on #GivingTuesday, watch the official video on YouTube.
Interested in giving back for #GivingTuesday? Here are some great charities to consider from our team:
Tomorrow, I will be supporting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of childhood brain tumor research. The organization has invested over $24 million in brain cancer research since 1991, and they also provide resources and assistance to affected families. They serve as an irreplaceable lifeline for families facing unimaginable challenges. You can learn more about this organization here.
On #GivingTuesday, I will be supporting My Sister’s Place, which is domestic violence shelter in DC since 1979. They provide a full set of services, from hot-lines to the transition-to-permenant housing. Last year, more than 90% of the families that exited the shelter moved to safe, stable homes, not becoming homeless, moving to another shelter, returning to their abusers.
I will be supporting Reading Partners, a national literacy nonprofit that works with students in Title 1 elementary schools who are 6 months to two and a half years behind grade level in reading. Community volunteers, called reading partners, work one-on-one with students during the school day. I served as an AmeriCorps Fellow with Reading Partners last year, overseeing the program at Brightwood Education Campus in Washington, DC. Over the course of one school year, 98 percent of my students accelerated their rate of learning and 84 percent narrowed their achievement gap. This year, I am continuing my involvement with Reading Partners by serving as a reading partner for a second grader. On #GivingTuesday, I encourage you to consider donating any amount of money or your time as a volunteer with Reading Partners.