Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone with a flurry of great deals on gifts for friends and family. Now a new movement, #GivingTuesday, is your chance to give to those in need. Held on the Tuesday following the Thanksgiving holiday, #GivingTuesday is a global effort to encourage small acts of kindness. In the spirit of the holidays, this is a day to give what you can and celebrate generosity. This includes donating to charity, volunteering your time, or contributing to your community.

Giving Tuesday started in 2012, as the result of a collaborative effort between the 92Y and the United Nations Foundation. This movement was created to counterbalance the heavy wave of consumerism and commercialization occurring across the nation on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In it’s inaugural year, #GivingTuesday was endorsed by companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Sony, and Starwood Hotels. In 2013, charitable gifts were double the amount seen in 2012, and more than 7,000 nonprofits participated. Last year, the movement went global and included organizations and individuals from more than 68 countries. Participation is expected to continue growing as the campaign proceeds.

By harnessing the power of social media, #GivingTuesday encourages participants to share their stories. As 92Y executive director, Henry Timms told USA Today, “Twitter was the tool that connected the movement. As the initiative has rolled out, spreading the word through Twitter chats and memes like the #unselfie have been a huge part of #GivingTuesday’s evolution and growth.” This is also a platform to spark conversations about challenges facing communities locally, nationally or globally, and discuss the resources necessary to make a change.

The #GivingTuesday team encourages you to give in any capacity. You can participate by volunteering your time at a local shelter and donating warm clothing, amongst an endless list of options. The team has stated, “As a global movement, #GivingTuesday unites countries around the world by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.” Whether you make a small donation for children in another country, or whether you help your neighbor with her groceries, every act counts.

You can spread the word about #GivingTuesday across your social media profiles, and share your contributions. Follow the hashtag #GivingTuesday on Instagram, Twitter (or@GivingTues), and Facebook, to see live updates. Visit the #GivingTuesday website for more resources.

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