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#GivingTuesday raising awareness to year-end charitable giving

stacked_0Life seems to become even more hectic around the holidays. From family get-togethers to the shopping rush, people can often feel overwhelmed.

In 2012, #GivingTuesday was started as a way to help bring focus to holiday and end-of-year giving. Following on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days focused on shopping and spending, #GivingTuesday looks to capture the power of social media and the generosity of people worldwide.

According to the organization’s website www.givingtuesday.org, there were 21.7 billion social media impressions in 2017. Some 2.5 million online gifts totaling more than $300 million were raised with the average gift being around $120. There were participants from more than 150 countries in 2017.

“GivingTuesday has become the kick off to the end-of-year giving season,” said Allison Albert, membership, operation and marketing director with Maryland Nonprofits.

#GivingTuesday was created by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. According to its website, it is designed to help connect diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world to celebrate and encourage giving.

“GivingTuesday helps amplify our message,” said Susan Repko, director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Central Maryland. “It comes right at the peak of our campaign season.”

This year, Repko said the organization plans to share stories of those who give to the United Way. She said the sharing of their stories via social media can be quite powerful.

“GivingTuesday has really grown. It’s really become a phenomenon,” Repko said.

As social media has grown and become a larger part of society, the aspect of using it to help raise money has also taken off. Funding requests across a wide spectrum can fill your social news feeds.

“You have to be authentic,” said Mike Brown, senior corporate development advisor with CareFirst. “Social media and payment systems like Venmo help make it easy.”

Brown said people are more willing to make a donation when it’s easy, secure and going somewhere they trust.

Brown is a member of the United Way’s Emerging Leaders United (ELU) group which brings together young professionals 40 and younger. He’s also part of Young Hearts, a similar group with the American Heart Association.

He said #GivingTuesday is a way for philanthropic organizations to come together which can make their impact that much greater.

For Kelley Chase, associate director of advancement engagement at McDaniel College an an ELU member, the #GivingTuesday campaign is perfect for the young professionals.

“It’s easy, and brings the question to us since we are on social media and are online,” Chase said. “We do want to give and want to volunteer. It’s an easy way to give back. It makes it easy for us.”

Albert said Maryland Nonprofits shares resouces with it’s 1,200 members around how to capitalize on #GivingTuesday campagins. While #GivingTuesday has grown steadily, it has also spawned other days throughout the year.

It’s still a great way to help focus people at a critical time of the year as Albert said the end-of-year giving push is huge.

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