Four years ago while attending a conference I heard about a concept being touted in the philanthropy field – it was called #GivingTuesday. While it began slowly, #GivingTuesday is becoming as ubiquitous as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
The concept is simple – make giving to charity part of your holiday shopping list – whether by donating a monetary gift or donating time to a nonprofit cause or two. So, after hunting down bargains at the mall or online for kids, parents, nieces and nephews or other loved ones, people are adding nonprofit organizations to their lists.
This simple idea has taken off thanks to social media. Think back to the Ice Bucket Challenge of about two years ago that raised millions of dollars for ALS. The #GivingTuesday message went viral via social media and the impact has been huge.
Here at CRCF we are interested to see what local residents are doing to embrace the concept of #GivingTuesday, so share your #UNselfies with us on Facebook and Twitter. The #UNselfie is the selfless selfie. Whether you decide to volunteer or make a charitable donation, take a picture of yourself with a card that shares how you are giving back. Here is a kit to make the #UNselfie as simple as possible: NY Gives #UNselfie kit. Message us and share your photos on our Facebook page, or mention us on Twitter, and we will make sure to share your #UNselfie.
There is nothing magical about making a donation on #Giving Tuesday – the magic is in the groundswell of support for charitable giving behind the hashtag. Sometimes it takes a gimmick to get our attention.
In the Olean area I know there are already many, many people who have made giving back part of their holiday season. All the Gift Tree families have already been adopted. Santa Sheriff shoppers have already purchased many items for deserving families. But, many people are still in need. Gift Tree could only accept half the families that applied this year. It hurt program administrators to turn down applicants, but their resources can only stretch so far. Today a woman came to my office looking to sign up her children for a holiday gift program – but was disheartened to learn the deadlines for most of these programs had passed.
So, the need is still there. At CRCF you can designate a donation to one of more than 130 funds – including the Gift Tree and Santa Sheriff Fund. Maybe with more donations a few more families can be adopted by next year. #GivingTuesday is about more than just raising money. It’s about bringing people together around the spirit of giving and service. It’s about creating a movement towards generosity, which is why we at CRCF invite you to join us in giving back and growing good this #GivingTuesday.
Karen Niemic Buchheit
CRCF Executive Director