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Charities fight consumerism with 'Giving Tuesday'

Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:27:47 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2013 05:15:18 PM CST

Editor's Note: ABC-7 invites Borderland residents to donate to Operation Noel  at http://bit.ly/ICbhlB. You can donate throughout the year and also this Thursday during ABC-7's mini-telethon. ABC-7 has raised money for Operation Noel for several years.

There's Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now charities are starting what they hope will become a national day for giving that will join the holiday lexicon: Giving Tuesday.

As of Monday morning, #GivingTuesday had 2,106 partners listed on the movement's website, including corporations, nonprofits, schools and religious groups.

The idea for the campaign sprung from Henry Timms, deputy executive director of the Jewish community center 92nd Street Y, and Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation. Timms began thinking about the concept during the holidays last year, and the idea gained momentum this past spring.

"When 92Y's Henry Timms called he explained the opportunity this way, 'We have a day for giving thanks, two days for getting deals. Why shouldn't there be a day for giving back?'" Calvin said.

She said the UN Foundation loved the idea.

"There are so many creative ways that people can volunteer and donate in today's world of social media," Calvin said. "A national day of giving back around the holiday shopping season just makes sense. It helps people everywhere make the most of their philanthropic side."

The organizers, including public relations firm Fenton Communications, are asking partners who have the capability of collecting data to report how much they raise on Tuesday, how many people volunteered at an event, or other relevant information. They hope to report those figures Wednesday.

But will Giving Tuesday catch on, especially in light of the expected increase in retail holiday sales?

Devin Hermanson, senior marketing director of relief organization World Vision, said he hopes so.

According to a phone survey by Harris Interactive and World Vision, 83 percent of Americans say they would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics.

However, the percentage of people willing to give a charitable gift as a present has fallen.

Last year, 51 percent of U.S. adults said they would be "more likely" to give a charitable gift as a holiday present. This year, that percentage dropped to 45 percent.

"Holiday shopping is treated like an Olympic event," Hermanson said. He hopes the same attention will be paid to Giving Tuesday.

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