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'Giving Tuesday' to follow long shopping weekend

By Shelia M. Poole
Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, 9:19 p.m.
 

There will be no shortage of reasons to open your wallets over the next few days, and now there's one more.

The first Giving Tuesday will be held this week to raise awareness and money to support the good work charities do throughout the year. It follows the strictly retail-driven Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Organizers of this national day of philanthropy hope consumers will be less gift-focused and think of those less fortunate in the midst of the annual spending frenzy that kicks off the Christmas shopping season.

“This is all about the holiday spirit, the act of giving and how good it feels to give,” said Jean Peck, executive director of Fayetteville, Ga.'s Camp Southern Ground, which operates a summer camp and retreat center for youths.

Giving Tuesday was conceived by New York's 92nd Street Y and encourages people to give time, service and money to help organizations that help others.

“We have two days that are good for the economy, what about a day that will be good for the soul?” said Henry Timms, deputy executive director of the 92nd Street Y.

Drawing on the support and expertise of other organizations, businesses and individuals, Giving Tuesday was launched nationally.

Tolli Love, vice president for individual fundraising and marketing for Atlanta-based CARE, said the last quarter of the year is a big fundraising time for the global organization.

“Every time you turn on the TV or radio you hear people talking about Black Friday or Cyber Monday,” she said. “To me, Giving Tuesday feels like a no-brainer. Why not create a national day of giving? My hope is that donors and supporters will do more with their wallets than just shop.”

CARE will mark the day with a contest, a donor-appreciation telethon and a video promoting an annual day of giving. The person who raises the most money under the contest rules will win a trip to visit one of the 84 countries where CARE works and see how its programs help poor families.

Charitable giving, although up, is still not as robust as it was in 2007. In 2011, Americans gave $298 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars; compared with $337 billion in 2007, according to Giving USA, which is published by the Giving USA Foundation and researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Shelia M. Poole is a staff writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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