What Is Giving Tuesday? This Movement Is One Everyone Can Get Behind This Holiday Season

You know all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but as we get closer to the busiest shopping season of the year, you may find yourself wondering: what is Giving Tuesday all about? Unlike the more commercialized aspects of the holidays, this movement is aimed at giving, not receiving, and donating, not spending.

More than just an annual event or a clever hook activism hashtag, #GivingTuesday (which falls on Nov. 29 this year) is an entire movement dedicated to creating an international day of charitable activity meant to kick off the holiday season. While many people see the time after Thanksgiving and before Christmas as the official shopping season, #GivingTuesday aims to change it — or, some might argue, change it back — to a season of giving. Started by the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact at 92nd Street Y in 2012, #GivingTuesday seeks to shed the commercialization of the post-Thanksgiving season and, in its place, spread love, kindness, and good will that lasts all year round.

The idea is simple: on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving each year, people all over the world are asked to come together for a global day of giving in every shape and form. Participants are encouraged to donate their time, resources, and/or money to the organizations, charities, civic organizations, nonprofits, and events that make a difference in their communities as a way of jump-starting a season full of charity, love, and end-of-year giving. Fueled by the power of social media and the generous spirit of the season, Giving Tuesday has grown from a thoughtful idea to an annual event that has brought about real change to people all over the world.

A day focused on helping charities all over the world, Giving Tuesday has already raised huge funds in its short, nearly five year history. Last year alone, over 700,000 people raised over $116 million online for charities in over 70 countries around the world. That kind of global participation is not only inspiring, but it's actually life changing. People who participate every year are truly making a difference in the world, for the causes they truly believe in.

The best part about Giving Tuesday — you know, aside from its ability to help so many people in need — is how easy it is to get involved. The Giving Tuesday website offers resources to help you find participating organizations near you, and the movement's official Twitter account is always sharing great causes to donate to this Giving Tuesday:

To participate, all you have to do is choose a cause that matters to you — whether it be a nonprofit organization in your community or a civic organization that makes a difference in your life — and donate to them this Nov. 29. If you don't have any money you can donate (don't feel bad, the holidays are a tough financial time for everyone), you can use the day to volunteer your time, donate your skills, or champion the causes that you care about.

A global movement that unites countries from all over the world around a single cause — giving — #GivingTuesday is a beautiful expression of humanity's capacity to care for one another, to act selflessly, and to come together for the greater good. A truly inspirational cause that is changing the way we see the typically over-commercialized holiday season, this is one movement you'll want to get involved with this Christmas.

Images: GivingTuesday.org (2)