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The idea was hatched just a few weeks ago at the 92nd Street ‘Y’ in New York City. It grew out of the simple observation that Americans have a day for giving thanks and two days – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – for snapping up bargains, so why not a day for giving back?
Using social media such as Twitter, organizers have set Tuesday, Nov. 27, as the first “Hashtag (#) Giving Tuesday.” They are asking people to donate money, services or volunteer time to charities.
One of the first groups to partner up was the UN Foundation, where Aaron Sherinian, vice president for public relations, is part of the effort promoting #Giving Tuesday.
“This is a country of generous people, so generosity is in our hearts. Why shouldn’t it be on the calendar?”
More than 1,000 groups have joined up to promote the concept, #Giving Tuesday’s organizers say. Having seen Black Friday take hold over a period spanning a generation or more, and then Cyber Monday take off swiftly in the Internet age, they are expecting the social-media age to make #Giving Tuesday a virtual overnight success.
Sherinian says what organizers call a “team of influencers” already is tweeting away about #Giving Tuesday.
“We give really well. We mobilize very well. So let’s use a social media reality and let’s help make sure it’s on the minds and the tongues – and probably more importantly, in the Tweets and on the keyboards – of everyone we know.”
People can look at it as “opening day” for the giving season, Sherinian says.
“We’ve already got more than 1,000 organizations signed up to be part of this movement, saying, ‘I already know that this is a part of what my constituencies and my communities want to do.’ Let’s make a statement about giving and give ‘giving’ its opening day.”
According to Giving USA, Americans gave $298 billion in 2011. The impact of the recession dropped that amount significantly below a peak of $310 billion in 2007.