If you’ve heard of Giving Tuesday, that’s wonderful. If you’ve participated in Giving Tuesday even better. However, if you’re unfamiliar with Giving Tuesday – don’t feel alone. According to Philanthropy News although 93 % of Americans know about Black Friday only 18 % are aware of giving Tuesday.

For many, the Thanksgiving Holiday season has become one big shopping extravaganza. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have become as traditional as Turkey, football, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disparaging this season of shopping, it’s fun, most of the shopping is for gifts, and it’s good for the economy. For example, we support Small Business Saturday, How to Support Small Business Saturday. We also took advantage of Black Friday savings and bought toys, clothing, and bikes for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Toy Drive.

It’s Not All Bad

My point isn’t that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday are bad. They’re not. But, shouldn’t there be room for Giving Tuesday as well? After the annual holiday stampede to the brick and mortar retail store or the online provider shouldn’t we all take a moment, a day to share our gratitude by giving back? Is there a better way to show our thanks than by helping others?

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a response to the shopping frenzy the holiday of thanks has become. Founding sponsors Mashable, Skype, and Cisco enlisted other sponsors such as Microsoft and connected with charitable organizations to set the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day of giving back. In 2016 USA Today reported 168 Million dollars in donations on Giving Tuesday.

How to Get Involved

It’s easy, give back. Support a local or national foundation with a donation. Volunteer at a shelter or food bank. Offer pro bono help whether it’s your professional expertise, a product you make, or a service you offer.  Share your story and those of others on social media with #GivingTuesday.

The Giving Tuesday Website shares how to get involved for the individual as well as for organizations. As Giving Tuesday says, “This November 28th, join the movement and give – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community. It’s a simple idea. Whether you come together with your family, your community, your company or your organization, find a way to give back and then share your idea.”