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Giving Tuesday Launches Holiday Donations, Community Building

Head to The NonProfit Times’ website for the full version of this article on Giving Tuesday

DoSomething in New York City sent an email to its mostly youthful
members and supporters asking that they get their parents or anyone
older than age 25 to take a five-question test. The penalty for each
wrong answer is a $10 donation to DoSomething or a nonprofit of the
test-takers choice.

Today is “Giving Tuesday,” the charitable
sector’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Approximately 2,200
organizations – both nonprofits and their for-profit supporters – are
pushing Americans to kick-off the holiday season with a donation of cash
or time. Much like store having promotions tied to their brands on
Black Friday, it is up to each participating organization to determine
how they’ll promote the event.

The event’s Twitter hashtag,
#GivingTuesday, was already trending before the close of the business
day on Monday. “We know this is going to be the first day of the giving
season, and we’re excited to see what happens,” said Sol Adler,
executive director of the 92nd Street Y (92Y) in New York City, where
the idea for the day was hatched. “There are two days for spending
(Black Friday and Cyber Monday), so the whole idea is, why not have a
day of giving,” said Melanie Mathos of Charleston, S.C., software firm
Blackbaud, one of the founding partners. “It’s a way to kick off the
giving season, and the timing is great to raise awareness. It embodies
the spirit of the holiday season and will bring greater awareness to
Blackbaud will begin tracking giving on the
Tuesday after Thanksgiving year-over-year, starting with this year
compared to last year. Mathos said Blackbaud’s results should be ready

Though no one organization controls Giving Tuesday, a
mass message of support from about 800,000 people will go out on
Twitter via the Thunderclap platform at 2:30 p.m. (EST). Thunderclap
allows for a large number of social media users to write a message and
share it at the same time.

“One of the interesting things about
Giving Tuesday is it’s an opportunity for experimenting,” said Henry
Timms, 92Y’s deputy executive director of innovation, content and
strategy. “Thunderclap is a chance for people to come together to share
one message.” The 92Y experimented with Google Hangouts, and enlisted
about 800 social media ambassadors to help spread the word between
September and Giving Tuesday.

The 92Y is also driving donations
and volunteering opportunities to itself, according to Adler. “We
secured $150,000 worth of matching grants (for Giving Tuesday donations)
from our board of directors and the general community,” he said. “We’re
also doing a lot of opportunities for volunteering. We’ll have young
kids doing greeting cards for soldiers and homebound elderly, and if you
come down to the 92nd Street Y, a lot of it will be happening in front
of you.”

No one is quite sure how Giving Tuesday will shake
out, since this is the first event and there are a large number of
variables. “This is the first year that a group of retailers and
nonprofits and other folks in social media have pulled together to
encourage the public to give,” said Anne Marie Borrego, director of
media relations for the American Red Cross (ARC), another founding
partner of Giving Tuesday. “We have Black Friday, Small Business
Saturday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday. It will shine a light on
the importance of giving in the holiday season.”

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