Charities Push for Giving Tuesday
PHOTO: The Union Settlement Association provides services to East Harlem in New York City, including Meals on Wheels to homebound clients.

There's Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now charities are starting what they hope will become a national day for giving that will join the holiday lexicon: Giving Tuesday.

As of Monday morning, #GivingTuesday had 2,106 partners listed on the movement's website, including corporations, nonprofits, schools and religious groups.

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The idea for the campaign sprung from Henry Timms, deputy executive director of the Jewish community center 92nd Street Y, and Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation. Timms began thinking about the concept during the holidays last year, and the idea gained momentum this past spring.

"When 92Y's Henry Timms called he explained the opportunity this way, 'We have a day for giving thanks, two days for getting deals. Why shouldn't there be a day for giving back?'" Calvin said.

She said the UN Foundation loved the idea.

"There are so many creative ways that people can volunteer and donate in today's world of social media," Calvin said. "A national day of giving back around the holiday shopping season just makes sense. It helps people everywhere make the most of their philanthropic side."

The organizers, including public relations firm Fenton Communications, are asking partners who have the capability of collecting data to report how much they raise on Tuesday, how many people volunteered at an event, or other relevant information. They hope to report those figures Wednesday.

But will Giving Tuesday catch on, especially in light of the expected increase in retail holiday sales?

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Devin Hermanson, senior marketing director of relief organization World Vision, said he hopes so.

According to a phone survey by Harris Interactive and World Vision, 83 percent of Americans say they would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics.

However, the percentage of people willing to give a charitable gift as a present has fallen.

Last year, 51 percent of U.S. adults said they would be "more likely" to give a charitable gift as a holiday present. This year, that percentage dropped to 45 percent.

"Holiday shopping is treated like an Olympic event," Hermanson said. He hopes the same attention will be paid to Giving Tuesday.

Here are some ways organizations are participating in Giving Tuesday and ways you can give:

Union Settlement Association

The Union Settlement Association is a service organization serving East Harlem in New York City. Since 1895, the organization has provided meals, childcare and a myriad of services to the community.

"We're just thrilled to be involved and have this kind of national effort in community service and giving back," said Sara Stuart, director of development and communication of the Union Settlement Association. "That's what we do in East Harlem."

Stuart said it's especially important to talk about giving back after the destruction from superstorm Sandy.

Stuart said people are encouraged to not just give money, but their time. The association is promoting community service by encouraging people to make public pledges. A group of volunteers are distributing 300 buttons around New York City that have the words, "I'm Giving..."

(Courtesy Union Settlement Association)

World Vision

Relief organization World Vision is promoting giving to Sandy victims as part of Giving Tuesday.

In addition to the organization's giving catalog, this year, people can donate "gifts" on behalf of loved ones for "Disaster Response in the USA" and money will go to recovery efforts on the East Coast, such as flood clean-up kits, blankets and hygiene kits.

Devin Hermanson, World Vision's senior marketing director, said he hopes Giving Tuesday fights what the nonprofit industry calls donor or compassion fatigue.

"Sometimes people feel overwhelmed and they don't see their dollars at work. We need to do our part to show people the benefit of their donation dollars," he said.

Sole Society

Shoe website Sole Society is donating shoes to Soles4Souls, which donates shoes to people living in over 125 countries, for every pair purchased as part of Cyber Week.

Macy's

Macy's "Believe" campaign's Santa letters are one way for people to give back. Bring stamped letters to Santa to their local Macy's, and for each letter received, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million.

Macy's has donated nearly $5 million to Make-A-Wish over the first four years of its "Believe" campaign, helping make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

UNICEF

For every dollar donated for a measles vaccine from Nov. 1 to 27 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, an anonymous donor will match each dollar up to a maximum of $15,000 to help save lives of 600 children a day who would otherwise die from measles.

For just $5.72, UNICEF can provide enough doses of the vaccine to protect 20 children.

Heifer International

For the last 65 years, the mission of Heifer International, based in Little Rock, Ark., has been to work with communities to end hunger and poverty. Donors can purchase a Heifer International gift on behalf of a loved one this holiday season, including $20 for a flock of chicks for a family or $275 for a girl's education by paying for her school fees and supplies. Heifer International works in 42 countries, including China, Nepal, Brazil, Rwanda, Armenia and the U.S.

On Heifer International's website, visitors can calculate what their shopping money and savings can support through gifts for others. For example, a shopper could spend $400 for an "enterpriser" gift basket to help someone start a small business, one water buffalo, two flocks of chicks, a flock of geese, honeybees, and the gift of clean water.

Kind Snacks

Health-food maker Kind Snacks is offering a $5 discount on its Snack and Give Back cubes. Celebrity makeup artist and guru Bobby Brown, newsmaker Arianna Huffington and rocker Grace Potter have stamped their names on three cubes. The cubes come with their favorite Kind bars and will benefit the Broome Street Academy, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Alzheimer's Association Committee, charities important to the three women, respectively.

The codes for the discount are: KINDBOBBI, KINDARIANNA and KINDGRACE. They expire on Dec. 31 at midnight EST.

Kind Snacks guarantees a donation of $10,000 to each partner's charity.

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