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Giving Tuesday is almost here. With Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, December 3, the internet will become the means for a massive national movement with meaningful local impact, community after community after community. Forbes calls it “the nonprofit world’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

According to the #GivingTuesday website, “#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.” Giving Tuesday began as an idea at the 92nd Street Y in New York City last year, and a host of nonprofit leaders, social media gurus, finance executives, and philanthropists jumped on board. Other organizations in New York signed up, and then it quickly spread across the country.

In 2012, more than 2,500 nonprofit organizations in communities across the country participated in Giving Tuesday. Millions of worldwide social media users helped to publicize Giving Tuesday, and the online donation platform Blackbaud alone recorded $10 million in donations on November 27, 2012, more than twice what it processed in 2011.

This year, thousands more nonprofits are signed on as Giving Tuesday partners. As of Saturday, 8,299 organizations were listed on the #GivingTuesday website.

Twitter and Facebook are all abuzz about Giving Tuesday. The White House is blogging about it. Bill and Melinda Gates have committed funds and publicity to four organizations: World Vision, DonorsChoose.org, Save the Children, and Heifer International. And the rapper Eminem has pledged to match donations to an organization for southeast Michigan at-risk youth through his Marshall Mathers Foundation up to $100,000.

In my own community, Puyallup, Washington, Mayor Rick Hansen issued a proclamation naming December 3 as Giving Tuesday in the city. Several nonprofits will set up a donation site at Puyallup’s Washington State Fairgrounds from 10am to 2pm on Tuesday, taking in clothing, food, gift cards, children’s books, diapers, toilet paper, household cleaning supplies, and cash. Citizens will even have the option of donating blood through the local Blood Services agency.

If givers want to multiply their impact, the Giving Tuesday Puyallup website offers a long list of options. People can spread the word on social media, organize goods drives and donation campaigns at their businesses, bring friends along to the donation site, organize group service projects, pledge a percentage of proceeds from Tuesday sales, and more.

“We’re doing anything to get the community involved,” Jamie Anderson, development director for Helping Hand House, told the Puyallup Herald. “Between the different organizations, there is a lot of reach in the community.”

Giving Tuesday is a welcome innovation to help meet the variety of charitable and philanthropic needs across communities. Eileen Heisman, president and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, wrote in Harvard Business Review on Friday, “The beauty of Giving Tuesday is this: you can make it whatever you want it to be. It is decentralized and therefore adaptable to existing or new efforts. It is a charitable organization’s online fundraising campaign and an opportunity to talk to your children about philanthropy; it is a grant from a Fortune 500 company and a bake sale to benefit a community theater; it is a simple act of kindness to a neighbor or stranger. #GivingTuesday only has to be about giving — people sharing what they have to help others and build stronger communities.”

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