From Giving Thanks to Giving Back: #GivingTuesday

From Giving Thanks to Giving Back: #GivingTuesday
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Piggybacking off of holiday spending, #GivingTuesday will attempt to harness Americans’ sense of generosity by encouraging them to give to charity.

More than 2,000 nonprofits, religious groups and corporations have partnered together for #GivingTuesday, some using matching donations, others using social media.

“We know there was Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but no day to give back as part of the holiday season,” said spokesperson Beverly Greenfield. “Tuesday is a day for the soul.”

The idea originated at 92nd Street Y, a Jewish cultural and community center in New York. “There’s a Jewish notion of giving back called repairing the world,” she said. “Giving Tuesday was a great way to take a megaphone and inspire a broader audience.”

A number of religious groups, including Catholic Charities, the American Bible Society and the Jewish National Fund, join several largecorporations, such as Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase and Sony.

“Most religions have a sense of giving back,” Greenfield said. “I think that’s why the idea has appealed to so many religious groups.”

Some groups like the Salvation Army of Greater New York wonder whether the recovery from Hurricane Sandy will impact giving. Denver Frederick, director of development and community relations, says that the group decided not to put up some of its 500-some red kettles in impacted areas. Instead, the Salvation Army plans to push online kettles on Tuesday. He sees the day as one for groups to collaborate.

“For too long, the nonprofit sector has operated in silos and looked at problems individually,” Frederick said. “In a world that’s so cluttered with noise, it’s important for groups to break through. Everybody needs to be singing from the same hymnbook or songbook.”

Other groups include local food banks and delivery services, rescue missions, homeless shelters from across the country.

The group Interfaith Worker Justice plans to do put out a social media blitz Tuesday to highlight a $100,000 matching grant it received. Communications director Cathy Junia thinks #GivingTuesday could spark a movement.

“We have such a culture of spending,” Junia said. “We’re already thinking about next year when people can earmark what they were going to spend on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

Giving to charitable organizations was $298.42 billion in 2011, and 32 percent of all donations ($95.88 billion) went to religious organizations, according to Giving USA.

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