Charity during the holidays: Giving Tuesday should outshine Black Friday and Cyber Monday Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

Yes, I admit to going shopping on Black Friday. There were some great deals to be had, but in retrospect I’m not sure they were worth the long lines and struggles with crowds.

However, as someone who loves shopping, I enjoyed being part of the sea of humanity on the day after Thanksgiving. Even my 86-year-old mother-in-law braved the  challenges of shopping on Black Friday with me!

Another plus is that the economy got a shot in the arm. It was reported that a record 226 million shoppers spent a record $52.4 billion in stores and online on Black Friday weekend.

Remember charitable donations

Besides giving gifts to family members and friends, I believe we should also be allocating a portion of our holiday giving to charitable causes. Instead of giving gifts to some people on our Christmas list, my husband and I have been giving donations to charities in their honor.

I was concerned that donations to political campaigns and Hurricane Sandy relief may cause people to cut down on holiday charitable giving. My fears were tempered by reports of a telephone survey of 1,010 adults conducted earlier this month which found that 78 percent of those who have already given to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts say it will not impact their year-end charitable giving, while 90 percent of those who gave to political causes say it will not reduce their giving to non-profits this holiday season.

“It’s encouraging that people are willing to support the work of charitable organizations even in a year when there has been increased giving to political causes and Hurricane Sandy,” said Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “Nonprofits like the Red Cross are there for people in need every day and everywhere and rely on year-end fundraising to fulfill their mission."

New effort: #GivingTuesday

Some other positive news came from a new national campaign to brand the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as “Giving Tuesday.” I didn’t hear about this effort until this week. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on its Web site,, that a group of nonprofit organizations started the “Giving Tuesday” effort this year.

Their national campaign is a product of the digital age, with its official name being a Twitter hashtag: #GivingTuesday. The movement's founding partners include traditional organizations such as the United Way and American Red Cross as well as Microsoft, the online bargain site Groupon, and Mashable, the technology and social media news blog.

Each of the campaign’s hundreds of official participants has been encouraged to adapt the #GivingTuesday concept. “I’m trying to use #GivingTuesday as a reason for people to help others,” said Dave Girgenti, founder and executive director of the Wish Upon a Hero Foundation. The foundation’s Web site is a platform for people to post “wishes,” ranging from school supplies to free Lasik surgery. Donors determine how to make the dreams come true.

Don’t forget charitable giving

The Catholic Church has many worthwhile charitable causes which need our help. I encourage people to remember these causes in their holiday giving and perhaps plan a donation on a regular basis year-round.

Parents can also teach their children about charitable giving by encouraging them to donate toys or a small portion of their allowance or money earned to help others.

I hope the idea of “Giving Tuesday” continues to grow so that it could outshine Black Friday and Cyber Monday in future years. Maybe eventually we could consider “Giving Every Day” as our motto!