The advancement of social media has created changes in our society in how we think and even what we celebrate. I have become aware this fall of the emergence of #GivingTuesday. When I opened up my email this past Tuesday morning, I saw at least 10 references to this particular charitable cause.
But I have a confession to make. Until last month, I had never heard of #GivingTuesday. Park Lawn, a great organization based in Oak Lawn that works to assist mentally and physically impaired individuals, sent us some releases a month ago about #GivingTuesday.
It was not long after that other organizations and schools sent us information of how to donate for various causes they are involved in relating to #GivingTuesday. My initial response after seeing #GivingTuesday was to edit it. I was thinking there must be some typos in there somewhere.
Several of the releases did mention that this day arrives the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. When I learned that #GivingTuesday was in its fifth year, I did not feel so bad. But I never recall hearing about this before. It just seems to have become more popular this fall.
From what I have learned is that #GivingTuesday was created in 2012 at the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City. They have been in existence since 1874. The idea behind the organization is to bring people together around the values of service and giving back.
That is where the idea of #GivingTuesday comes from. The Belfer Center and other organizations want to connect diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one purpose – to celebrate and encourage giving. These organizers offered their expertise and launched the idea of #GivingTuesday.
Social media has helped spread the word that apparently has escalated this year. The Belfer Center has referred to this day of charity as a movement. Along with Park Lawn, the staff and students at Mount Carmel High School have become active in #GivingTuesday. While reading about the origin of this day and the expanding resources, my advice is to contact local organizations, such as Park Lawn. This way, you know that donations will help them out.
From what I have read, individuals can donate time and/or funding to assist certain institutions. Businesses and organizations are asked to join in to help. In that regard, I’m all for #Giving Tuesday. How can anyone oppose giving back and philanthropy?
I guess some of us get a little weary when we see these new references. It is difficult enough just to keep up with technology. Now you need a guide book to see what days are set aside for various causes. My initial reaction was to think about people who complain that Thanksgiving is getting squeezed between Halloween and Christmas.
Now you have #GivingTuesday. We have already talked earlier about “Black Friday,” which is the day after Thanksgiving in which millions of Americans go to shopping malls looking for deals.
I recall being in college and coming home for Thanksgiving break and going out on Wednesday night, the day before the holiday. The bars were crowded as college kids come home meeting friends from their neighborhoods or from school. Sometimes it was a combination of both. After a couple of years of going out on these nights I realized that everyone seemed to be out.
Well, I guess in my age group at the time many people were out. Kids that were going away to college were off and mostly everyone else was, too. Now I turn on the TV and I see this day is referred to as “Black Wednesday.” Without any further explanation, I knew it was in reference to bars and restaurant owners whose cash registers are ringing on this day and night.
When I was in college, there was no reference to Black Wednesday. But I’m all for encouraging consumers to shop at small businesses during this period. Small Business Day is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I like the idea of reminding shoppers to visit small businesses in cities, towns and suburbs across the U.S. The giant retailers don’t always need our help. Small businesses need us and we need them.
And we also have Cyber Monday, which is not been in existence that long. The idea behind this day is to get on your computer or phones and put in your orders for holiday gifts. Since I have not taken part in this phenomenon, I assume there are plenty of deals out there. But I kind of find this day kind of amusing. I mean aren’t people supposed to be working on Monday?
Maybe that’s why #GivingTuesday, which is the following day, was created. Maybe we need to be reminded the holiday season is about more than just sales.
Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.