When I spoke with National Philanthropic Trust CEO Eileen Heisman earlier this year for a CSR story I wrote for Convene‘s August issue, I asked her at the end of our interview if there was anything we hadn’t discussed that she would like to add. She asked if I could give #GivingTuesday — one of her favorite projects, taking place on Dec. 3 this year — a plug. #Giving Tuesday (#GT), according to the website “is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season,” and an opportunity for “the giving community to come together.”
When I spoke with Heisman early last summer, #GivingTuesday may have been six months away, but for her it was still top of mind. Created in New York in 2012, she told me, #GivingTuesday quickly caught on in the rest of the country via social media. “It was started by a guy who decided that Black Friday and Cyber Monday were dominating the marketplace around Thanksgiving — because we are such a consumption-oriented society,” Heisman said. “He created this idea called #GivingTuesday, to come after Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to put giving back, philanthropy, social-impact activities of some kind, into the holidays.”
Last year, the first #GivingTuesday generated a 46-percent increase in online donations over the previous year and the average gift increased by 25 percent.
For-profit companies, Heisman suggested, can make #GivingTuesday a volunteer day, “a charity can make it a day to start its fundraising campaign, and little kids can go out and pick up the trash along their school, the street the school is on, or in their backyards.” In other words, she said, “you can make #GivingTuesday into anything you want.”
Let’s hope we can all make it into a tradition.