Every few years, a new retail-driven holiday pops up around Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday is now followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday is the latest holiday to add to the ever-growing list — and it’s one we can actually get behind. Launched in 2012 by Leaders from 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit center in New York City, the 24-hour campaign seeks to promote philanthropy, WWD reports. It was created in partnership with the United Nations Foundation to encourage people to volunteer, donate to charities and spread inspiration for giving using the #GivingTuesday hashtag.
Though it’s relatively new, #GivingTuesday is becoming increasingly popular. In 2012, about 1,400 charitable organizations took part in the campaign in America alone. That number increased to 35,000 last year across 65 countries. This year, over 30,000 philanthropic programs in 70 countries have already signed up to participate.
Brands are also getting in on the philanthropic fun. Old Navy is celebrating Giving Tuesday by inviting customers to share a photo doing good deeds on social media using the hashtag #UNSelfie and tagging @OldNavy. They’ll donate $1 for every photo to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, up to a $25,000 donation. They’ll also donate 1 percent of every customers’ total spend using their Old Navy (or Gap Inc.) credit card to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, up to a $75,000 donation. Cole Haan will give in-store and online shoppers the opportunity to donate to 826 National, a network of nonprofits that help underprivileged students, organizations that help to build essential writing and reading skills for under-resourced students. eBay launched the Charity Shop, which promotes items and experiences that benefit philanthropic organizations.
As interest and participation in #GivingTuesday grows, Black Friday profits continue to fall. This year, there was an alarming $1 billion decline in sales the day after Thanksgiving. Might it be we’re becoming less driven by greed and more open to generosity? We can only hope so. After all, that’s what the holidays are supposed to be about.