#GivingTuesday Countdown

As the holiday season arrives, it often brings with it mixed emotions. We love the anticipation of those delicious holiday meals and the opportunity to make a special someone smile with a thoughtful gift, but there is another, more cynical side to the holidays; the over-commercialized, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, "spend, spend, spend" side. It's an unavoidable part of the season, but every year it seems to be more intrusive.

According to one survey, up to 40% of shoppers purchase for themselves on Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t much better. Self-gifting as it has been coined is a practice on the rise and an understandable one. And men, you’re guilty of it even more than women! (Women tend to purchase gifts for others more often than men.) Not only do we all work very hard for our wages which have been close to stagnant for the past decade, but we also have access to so many unique things right at our fingertips on sites like Amazon.com, Pinterest, TouchofModern, Etsy and countless more ways to spend that hard earned dough. Not to mention going out to eat & travel expenses. You can see, it is easy to talk ourselves into indulging a bit during the holidays.

Chris O'Meara/AP Photo/File from CSMonitor.com
Photo credit: Chris O'Meara/AP Photo/File

It was only less than four years ago that some very creative thinkers at the 92nd Street Y in New York City hoped that they could harness the excitement of the opening of the holiday season for good, by creating a new movement, one that celebrated service and giving back. Hence #GivingTuesday was born. It is observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and kicks off the charitable giving season. Of course, they couldn't be sure how their idea would be received. #GivingTuesday encourages you to resist the urge for self-gifting and instead give to a charity or organization that supports those in need all year long. Would it catch on?

The answer has been a resounding, "Yes!" According to #GivingTuesday.org, approximately $13.5 million was raised for nonprofits in #GivingTuesday's inaugural year (2012), $28 million in 2013, and a whopping $45.7 million supporting over 15,000 nonprofit organizations last year. That's a 240% increase from its inception. It seems that even in the face of the media and cultural push for consumerism, as expected, people have it in their hearts to help others. A movement like #GivingTuesday gave many the means to contribute to the comfort and care of the needy during the holiday season.

In addition to donations, #GivingTuesday also encourages volunteerism. Community clean-up projects, tutoring sessions, and plain-old small acts of kindness all have a place in #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a viral sensation. A hashtag is in its official name, so you know social media plays a key role. #GivingTuesday.org urges supporters to post "UNselfies" to grow the movement. Simply hand-write a sign about your reason for giving and your cause, and post to social media using the hashtags #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday. What an incredible idea: to turn the inherent self-centeredness of a "selfie" completely upside down with the selfless UNselfie! An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy that recapped the 2014 #GivingTuesday campaign, noted that there were 698,000 #GivingTuesday tweets on the day in 2014, up from 269,000 tweets in 2013! And, from Usher to President Obama, celebrities and public figures have gotten involved and tweeted their UNselfies and #GivingTuesday endorsements.

We here at YouGiveGoods celebrate the spirit of generosity every day of the year. But during the holiday season, we are even more excited as giving itself becomes a national topic of conversation. We were built on our belief that when giving is made easy and accessible, then more people will give.

#GivingTuesday fall on December 1 this year and we are counting down the days! And since #GivingTuesday is like our Superbowl, it is also our biggest Giving Day; we will donate an additional 10% cash to the chosen charity on purchases over $50 to any YouGiveGoods drive on December 1. It's our way of giving back on this day that kicks off end-of-year philanthropy.

YouGiveGoods makes it simple to give a gift of much-needed goods to a charity on #GivingTuesday and beyond. Just like your online shopping spree of Cyber Monday, simply shop online at YouGiveGoods on #GivingTuesday to be a part of the movement. You can purchase goods for donation to an existing YouGiveGoods drive or start a drive of your own for your favorite charity. Learn more about how you can use YouGiveGoods to support your favorite cause on #GivingTuesday.

This year, we've made it easier than ever to quickly give tangible goods to charities all over the country with our #GiveNow option. All you have to do is click the #GiveNow button and your shopping cart will be populated with an item for donation to one of the hundreds of active drives on YouGiveGoods. So, we dare you to close that "Big Box Store" shopping cart and instead fill a food bank, animal shelter or charity's shelves with much needed food, clothing, toys or supplies. Share your experience with your friends and family to help move the #GivingTuesday momentum forward and feel good about giving back this season. Try out our #GiveNow option below!

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