Engage in REAL Thanksgiving with #GivingTuesday

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Get ready: the holiday shopping season is almost upon us.

It starts with “Black Friday,” in which bargain-hunters line up at ungodly hours to stampede into a store as the doors open. That’s followed by “Cyber Monday,” which prompts us stare at our computers all day frantically searching for the best deal on a laptop. And don’t forget about “Small Business Saturday,” the day created to entice people to part with their money at a small community business instead of a big-box store.

What a strange way to spend a holiday that’s supposed to be all about giving thanks and remember what you’re grateful for.

Happily, we now have a day that better reflects the spirit of Thanksgiving. It’s called #GivingTuesday and takes place on the first Tuesday after the holiday. This year it takes place on December 1st, 2015.

#GivingTuesday was created as a day for people across the globe to come together and celebrate generosity by giving back.

#givingtuesday 2015

#GivingTuesday website includes hundreds of charitable partners that we can donate to–everything from Dress for Success, the organization that provides professional attire to disadvantaged women, to Little Linksters, a non-profit which creates golf programs for children with special needs. The site features a charity for whatever cause you’re interested in donating to.

But there’s so many other ways you can give back to the community aside of donating financially. In fact, the #GivingTuesday site has put together some toolkits to help generate ideas. Here are just a few:

Get Social for Good: The #GivingTuesday Social Media toolkit has everything you need to make the day go viral. They have a Facebook page, Twitter account (@GivingTues), Pinterest page, YouTube channel, Snapchat and Instagram accounts and a Google+ circle.
#givingtuesday #unselfie
They’ve even one-upped the selfie by creating the hashtag #UNselfie. Instead of the typical duckface and peace-sign in front of a tourist attraction, #Unselfies are photos of you with a sign explaining how or why you’re giving this year. The site even shares ideas to inspire Tweets and posts to spread the #GivingTuesday word.

Write a Love Letter To Your Favorite Charity: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have created #MyGivingStory–a competition for the best 200-plus word essay about a time in which you supported a charity and why it was meaningful to you.

Pro tip: it’s important that your essay be about one specific non-profit organization, because the charities featured in the winning essays will win grants up to $5,000 and a shot at being featured on Upworthy.

#givingtuesday

Give Pro-Bono Work and Volunteer: Give your time in addition to your Tweets! While many nonprofits have a standing list of volunteer positions that always need filling, why not reach out now to see if there’s a use for your special talents?

For example, animal rescue groups are so in need of volunteers to walk their dogs that they don’t have time to even think about asking someone to update their website; why not reach out and ask if they need that help?

Have a knack for knitting? Get involved with a group that helps newborns and throw a knitting party to create a motherlode of knitted booties. Are you a graphic designer? Many charities don’t have the funds to find someone to create a professional-looking brochure or annual report. No matter what your talent, there’s an organization who could use your help.

The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to help the community–whether that be the local community or the global one. So once you’ve made it out of your coma-inducing Thanksgiving dinner, why not turn your attention to giving back? #GivingTuesday will help you do it in a smart and creative way that emphasizes the “giving” part of the season.

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