Above / Since 2012, Giving Tuesday has fallen after Cyber Monday.  Next year, Giving Tuesday will be Dec. 3, 2019.

The other day while reading Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience, a story written by Melanie Kirkpatrick for Imprimis, a monthly publication of Hillsdale College, we learned that the 92nd Street Y in New York City recently launched Giving Tuesday, following in the long American tradition of remembering the poor and needy around Thanksgiving.

Digging a little deeper, Giving Tuesday was created when the 92nd Street Y came together with the United Nations Foundation in 2012, about a month before Thanksgiving. Their aim became to set aside a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving, a great American tradition much in the theme of Thanksgiving Day.

Then came some food for thought. Certainly supporting organizations by raising money on Giving Tuesday is a good thing; at the same time, here’s hoping Giving Tuesday doesn’t become a “fundraising Tuesday,” marking the end of the America’s generous spirit that is better spent spread throughout the entire year with careful planning.

A Few Tips from the Better Business Bureau

While tackling the subject, a news release from the Better Business Bureau arrived with tips that included a bunch of “bewares” for Giving Tuesday, advising donors to give wisely and make the most of their generosity this holiday season.

Watch out for name similarities. When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.

Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations. The holidays bring a higher frequency of donation requests outside public locations. Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.

Be wary of emotional appeals. Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Always research to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.

Avoid charities that don’t disclose. Although participation is voluntary, charities that don’t disclose any of the requested information to BBB WGA raise a critical red flag for donors. Visit Give.org to find out if your selected charity is nondisclosure.

Rely on standards-based evaluations. Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations such as the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Get free access to charity reports at Give.org.

$274 million on #Giving Tuesday in 2017

Find Little Friends’ Giving Trees and Toys for Tots Collections hosted throughout the community for other ways to support the holidays for the less fortunate. For instance, find this Giving Tree at Busey Bank in Naperville Plaza.

According to the Better Business Bureau, in 2017, #GivingTuesday hit a record of $274 million in donations, raised from more than 2.5 million contributors. This tally was a 55 percent increase over 2016. Online donations averaged about $134, which was 6 percent more than in 2016. With over 1 million social mentions, the #GivingTuesday movement has been growing steadily since its creation in 2012.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to research charities before giving to ensure that their generous contributions are going to trustworthy organizations. BBB WGA evaluations give donors insight into charity trustworthiness so that their hard-earned dollars go to charities that operate ethically.

“It is of utmost importance that those wanting to donate to charities research these organizations beforehand to ensure their support is actually benefiting those who are less fortunate, and not scammers looking to pocket those funds,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. 

Local Matters

Following the lead of the BBB, PN many times has published advice provided by local officials from veterans and public safety organizations that has encouraged residents to give locally where more than 300 nonprofits welcome support, large and small.

Give to local organizations that are familiar and ones that support causes dear to your heart. Be thoughtful and consider the impact of your donation whenever you give, whatever the day.

Thanks for getting to know a few of the local nonprofits that contacted us today…

Loaves & Fishes Community Services  /  Little Friends, Inc.

Naperville Responds for Veterans  /  Operation Support Our Troops America

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation  /  Family Shelter Service

Alive Center  /  360 Youth Services  /  Ronald McDonald House  /  Project H.E.L.P.

Falling annually on the first Tuesday after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday was established to begin the “giving season,” reminding individuals that there is more to the joy of the holidays than consumerism and commercialization. Next year, Giving Tuesday will be Dec. 3, 2019.

Thanks for giving for good whenever you can.