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Bill Gates among philanthropists encouraging charity on Giving Tuesday

Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr

Survivors of Christmas spending are being encouraged to start the holiday season with a charitable spirit, by a viral campaign, backed by prominent philanthropists such as Bill Gates, that urges people to give generously to non-profit organisations around the world.

Giving Tuesday is a philanthropic movement aiming to establish a national day for charitable activities, in response to the rampant consumerism of the preceding Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“We have two days that are good for the economy. Here’s a new day good for the soul”, Henry Timms, the founder of the campaign, explained.

Though the campaign started in the US, it has now gone global. As the second annual Giving Tuesday kicks off, anyone is invited to take part, although official partners – those who will receive funding – must be registered non-profit organisations in the US.

More than 8,300 partners are holding events and promotions, with corporate giants such as Microsoft, Unilever and eBay also taking part.

The initiative proved a success in 2012, as over 50 milion people spread the word online, including Bill Gates and the White House. This year, Gates and his wife Melinda, through their prolific philanthropic foundation, picked out four organisations that they would be supporting on the 2013 event. These included charities involved in relief, development and poverty.

Fundraising software provider Blackbaud processed over $10m in online donations – a 53% increase – on Giving Tuesday in 2012. DonorPerfect recorded a 46% increase.

“This year we are seeing so many dynamic campaigns coming together to form one community. There is so much energy and entrepreneurialism throughout the Giving Tuesday movement“, Timms added.

Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), gave the campaign her endorsement, saying, “I think the democratisation of giving really invigorates people to think, ‘Yes I could make a difference. I could urge others to make a difference. I can demand that government make a difference.’ 

“We want to encourage people to get engaged and to give back; it does not have to be money – it can be engagement or advocacy, raising your voice, or offering your time and expertise.”


Check out Giving Tuesday’s website to see how you can get involved.

Further reading:

Social enterprises call on shoppers to spend sustainably on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday: the carnival of conspicuous consumption

Black Friday consumerism typified by tussles at Walmart

National Philanthropy Day: famous philanthropists in the spotlight

The Guide to Philanthropy & Giving 2013

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