Giving Tuesday should be part of everyone's holiday season
Now that you have stuffed the last piece of turkey into your mouth, experienced the agony of waiting in endless lines for limited sales at odd hours of the morning and worn through your laptop’s trackpad searching for the hottest cyber deals, it’s time to relinquish the satisfying feeling of limitless indulgence.
Whether it be food or materialistic gain, Thanksgiving weekend is centered around a shameless greed that stems from the historic origins of this holiday. Settlers took advantage of the indigenous American peoples’ food and land, eventually driving them out of their homes. Although there is an inherent problem with the institutional beginnings of Thanksgiving, one of this holiday’s redeeming qualities is Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday “is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration,” according to its founders, the 92nd Street Y and the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, who wanted to use social media as a stepping stone for collaborating with millions of people to support greater causes. Giving Tuesday’s date is not random; it was designed to be a predecessor to the giving holiday season. Since the month of December tends to be one of the most philanthropic times of year, it is fashioned in a way such that one can have a consistent couple days of indulgence, then start the holiday season off with some giving.
Many A-list celebrities such as Tyra Banks, Debra Messing and Gordon Ramsay donate to various causes on Giving Tuesday. Some of the most popular organizations that are contributed to include GiveDirectly, Habitat for Humanity and the Make a Wish Foundation. The beauty behind this day is that you can choose the cause and how much you would like to devote to it.
Furthermore, multiple large corporations and individuals agreed to match certain donation amounts. Notably, Facebook and PayPal partnered and agreed to match donations up to $7 million in the United States. The impacts of this holiday clearly have the potential to revitalize local and national community service efforts, aiding many more people.
Giving Tuesday is a vital addition to the year, and without this new holiday we would be missing an opportunity to rally the U.S. around a common cause, in addition to reminding people about their responsibility to give back to society. With busy schedules, work, school or life in general, we forget about the importance of giving back. Giving Tuesday becomes a part of people’s schedules and reminds them of their responsibility to give back, no matter how busy they are.
People should be donating and contributing to society all year round; however, that is not always feasible. Giving Tuesday acts as a reminder for people to do their part and allows contributors to feel as though they are part of a larger movement. By aligning under a common good, people tend to feel more inclined to contribute their time and efforts to something noble.
People also donate more because of Giving Tuesday’s overwhelming media presence. Through vast advertising and marketing on social media and more traditional methods such as billboards, flyers and word of mouth, Giving Tuesday has developed an international presence. On social media, numerous organizations posted pictures, created events and shared videos to enlist people’s support in preparation for this new celebration of generosity. As early as a month before, I have seen organizations’ social media presences advocating for the public to help them reach their monetary goal for Giving Tuesday.
One of the first posts I saw was Brandeis’ The Right to Immigration Institute club’s Facebook event asking people to commit to charitable action on Giving Tuesday. One among many groups on campus who asked for donations on Giving Tuesday, TRII successfully raised even more than their $5,000 goal.
In preparation for Giving Tuesday, Brandeis displayed a giant banner outside the front of the SCC and had multiple different groups tabling in Upper Usdan. On the actual day, the University, the Student Union and Campus Activities Board gave out free apple cider donuts to encourage the spread of kindness. Within the SCC, they sponsored a photo shoot and gave those who donated to the University in person a shirt and more donuts!
As widely publicized as this event was, there were some students who thought that this was just an event to raise more money for the school. It is one of the sole days that the school and the clubs within it can encourage people to donate money they normally would not if the day did not exist. I donated to Brandeis in the spirit of Giving Tuesday. If a table were set up in the SCC on a random Tuesday, I do not think I would have been likely to donate.
Giving Tuesday is a positive development that reminds people to give back to society. After a couple of days of pure indulgence, it is refreshing to emphasize a day of pure goodness. By rallying people around the central idea of giving and kindness, it distracts people from their own lives and reminds them to think of others.
Whether or not you contributed in some way this Giving Tuesday, do not hesitate to be a part in the coming years. No matter the shape or form it takes, your contribution could be the reason an organization makes their funding goal. By giving to those who truly need it, you may very well bring about the change you wish to see in the world.