Credit cards and wallets may be given a workout this weekend with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but those behind a relatively new designated day are hoping wallets will remain open in order to give back.
Dec. 2 is officially recognized as Giving Tuesday, a day created in response to focus not only on the needs of ourselves, but the needs of others, explained Norman Carruthers, president of The Comox Valley Community Foundation.
“It started off about two or three years ago, in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday — this spend, spend, spend philosophy,” he said. “It was organized for both local and national charities to raise awareness that the season is not just about us but about others.”
While Carruthers noted the day is still in its embryonic stage – similar to National Philanthropy Day celebrated Nov. 15 – organizations such as CanadaHelps is building up the concept to raise awareness across Canada.
And the motivation for giving, particularly at this time of the year, not only adds to the philanthropic attitude of the holiday season, but also provides advantages for those giving — tax incentives.
“…there’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of opportunities that the government provides to save money on taxes before year end. There’s a sense of collectively thinking with a collection of opportunities,” added Carruthers.
According to CanadaHelps, a non-profit organization serving Canadian charities and donors, the day was started in Canada by a group of organizations, and now includes more than 1,900 partners, although the day was formally created in the U.S. in 2012 by the UN Foundation and others.
Last year, CanadaHelps saw a 91 per cent increase in online donations on Giving Tuesday.
They add Giving Tuesday is “the opening day of the giving season” but note the day is more than a moment, it’s a movement, and serves as a reminder to everyone to think of others.
While Carruthers said The Comox Valley Community Foundation hasn’t historically noticed an increase in donations around the specific day, he added they haven’t had a more deliberate outreach campaign around why and how people should give.
“We’re in the process of developing and doing that,” he noted. “Historically, individuals were approached with the intention of giving to a specific campaign. Now, there is a change in donation patterns.”
He explained people are taking the initiative and looking at who individual charities are, and what might they do for a particular community.
Days like Giving Tuesday, National Philanthropy or even this summer’s ALS ‘ice bucket challenge’ are initiatives responding to the change in giving strategies.
“One of the roles of non-profits is to serve the needs in a community. This engagement with the community as individuals and families makes the link to those who want to give and addresses the needs of an organization,” said Carruthers.
While still in its infancy, he noted he’s certain the day will have a cumulative effect over time, and will address philanthropic desires of many people.
“(Days like) Giving Tuesday make it that much easier.”
For more information on Giving Tuesday, visit www.givingtuesday.ca.