Feeling overwhelmed by the insane commercialization of the holiday season? Tomorrow (Nov. 28) marks a day to get into a different kind of spirit: Giving Tuesday, or as it has more commonly come to be known, #GivingTuesday.
At a time when it feels like social media may be doing more harm than good—spreading fake news, inciting hatred, causing depression—#GivingTuesday is an example of its collective power to effect real, positive change.
What is #GivingTuesday?
#GivingTuesday is “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration” celebrated each year the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The holiday was launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the UN Foundation to encourage philanthropy and charitable giving on social media.
Like last year, Facebook is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to match up to $2 million in donations made on #GivingTuesday to US nonprofit organizations through Facebook’s charitable-giving tools. Beginning at 8am US Eastern Standard Time, they will match $50,000 per nonprofit or $1,000 per fundraiser donate button (see more below on how to set up one up, and Facebook will waive all fees associated with donations made throughout the day.
Additionally, Facebook and the Gates Foundation are matching a total of £200,000 in donations made on Facebook to UK-based nonprofits (there are no fees on donations made to UK nonprofits on Facebook).
In 2016, people around the world gave a record $168 million in charitable donations for #GivingTuesday, a 44% increase from 2015, and millions of others said they did something charitable to mark the day. Both of the previous two years broke the Guinness World Record for the most amoney donated to charity online in 24 hours.
What are the best ways to get involved on #GivingTuesday?
1. Donate to a nonprofit
It may not feel as personal or meaningful as donating time, yet donating money is truly one of the most impactful things you can do to support a cause. Nonprofits receive the majority of their annual funding during the holidays and rely on those donations to cover operating costs during the rest of the year.
Don’t know what organization you want to donate to? #GivingTuesday is working with online fundraising platform Razoo, which has a database of nonprofits searchable by category and location. You can also find ideas at GiveWell, Focusing Philanthropy, or Give.org, which evaluates charities based on finances and accountability.
If you’re still unsure where you should send money for #GivingTuesday, consider helping the many US residents who this year aren’t able to celebrate the holidays like they normally do: The Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program serves the immediate and long-term needs of those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and the Red Cross continues to coordinate disaster relief throughout the US months after the hurricanes hit.
2. Start a fundraiser
If you want to be more actively involved this #GivingTuesday, why not help your favorite nonprofit by starting a fundraiser?
It’s very easy to set up on Facebook—Just click “fundraiser” on the left menu of News Feed, hit “get started,” and select “nonprofit.” Then, find the organization you’re interested helping by searching a list on Facebook, choose a cover photo, fill in the details, and start collecting donations. Facebook uses Network for Good’s donor-advised fund to securely distribute online directly to the nonprofits. You can share fundraising pages, send them through Messenger, and add a donate button to your Facebook posts, page header, and live videos.
By reaching out to your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors, you’ll be helping nonprofits reach beyond their typical donors to find new supporters.
If you have a favorite cause or organization, call and see if they need volunteers during the holiday season.
#GivingTuesday is a global online event, but there’s plenty of ways to contribute locally IRL: You can pick up trash in a neighborhood park, walk dogs at an animal shelter, help with cleanup after meals at a soup kitchen, or read to seniors at a local library.
4. Send a message
Sending a message about the importance of charitable giving has never been easier.
According to a recent report in The Next Web, there are now more than 3 billion active social-media users in the world—about 40% of the global population. With, for example, around 80% of the US adult population on social media, you can share your philanthropic values as easily as sharing a status update and make a real impact in your network.
5. Give to more than charities
While, the goal of #GivingTuesday is to bring awareness to nonprofits and promote charitable giving, it’s also an excellent opportunity to give back to the people most important in your life.
So if nothing else, call your mother, tell her you love her. She worries.