Black Friday is looming. So is Cyber Monday. The retail industry has done a bang-up job of getting us to open our wallets post-Thanksgiving (and, more recently, ON Thanksgiving). Recently, Small Business Saturday has emerged as a way to promote spending in our own communities, via locally owned shops.
In 2012, Giving Tuesday was founded by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. It’s “celebrated” the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In just two years, Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement that has engaged more than 10,000 organizations and raised millions of dollars for thousands of charities worldwide.
This year, greater Lansing is joining the movement on Dec. 2 with #LansingLovesGivingTuesday, a coordinated effort to promote giving in mid-Michigan. The name is a play on the #lovelansing hashtag that’s found all over Twitter and Facebook.
Nonprofits, businesses and media from across greater Lansing have joined forces to encourage people to add their favorite charitable cause to their holiday shopping list.
While I’m all in favor of giving 365 days a year, let’s face it – there are certain times of year we’re more engaged with giving than others. The holiday season is definitely one of those times. And on the heels of the overwhelming success of the social media-fueled ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it’s hard not to get excited about a coordinated effort to promote philanthropy; $115 million is nothing to sneeze at.
A handful of Lansing-area nonprofits got together this fall to create a tool kit for any organization or business to use to help promote giving in our community. We designed a localized Giving Tuesday logo, crafted some email templates to encourage donors and volunteers, and unveiled them at a community forum attended by more than two dozen organizations willing to give it a shot.
It’s important to note Giving Tuesday is not designed to take away from any nonprofit’s year-end giving campaign. We’re hoping it enhances it, engages new donors and helps spread the word about all the good that’s being done in our community by so many people in so many ways. Will we raise more than $5 million, the way Baltimore did last year? Probably not. But what we do hope to raise is a whole lot of awareness (and dollars), showing people all the ways they can lend a hand.
How can you participate? Give to your favorite local charity, wherever you live, and whatever the cause. Take an “Unselfie” and let the world know via social media why you think it’s important to give. Give money, give time, give good deeds. But do give.
That’s what makes a community.