Bill Gates sent a tweet on Tuesday night that immediately ricocheted around the internet.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) November 27, 2012
“Over 1,000 charities, community organizations and businesses in the US have banded together to promote this Tuesday as a day to give back, and to encourage people to give more, give smarter and celebrate the spirit of giving,” he explained in more detail on his blog.
“If the organizers of Giving Tuesday can get more people thinking about giving and encourage us to be more generous with our time and resources, they’ll have done a very good thing.”
In fact, more than 2,000 organizations have joined the Giving Tuesday initiative. “We wanted to create a day that was good for the soul,” says Beverly Greenfield, a spokesperson for the 92 St Y, a non-profit cultural and community group in New York, which helped create the project.
Planning only began this summer, although the organization had the idea of making a special day last holiday season. From the start, organizers knew they wanted to expand their work in the local community in New York into the digital world at large.
“When we first started our very modest goal was to engage 100 partners,” Greenfield says. But the fact that they have collected over 2,000 in six months is a testament to the enormous enthusiasm of everyone they contacted.
The main goal of the day goal is to create awareness, says Greenfield. “We are encouraging people to give something,” she continues. “We are trying to create a community around Giving Tuesday and hope that people who follow it will see something that sparks their interest.”
Founding partners range from Gates’ Microsoft to Sony to the UN Foundation, from JC Penney to the Red Cross.
The idea behind Giving Tuesday is that the holiday season is the time to give as well as get. Traditionally, most Americans make their charitable donations at this time of year. So just as Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the formal start of the shopping seasons, Giving Tuesday is meant to give philanthropy its own official opening day, and to highlight it on social media.
If you want to be a part of the first Giving Tuesday, here’s what you can do.
Follow the #givingtuesday hashtag on Twitter. A number of charities are posting their information there. When you have decided who to give to, post your pledge with the hashtag.
Go to Giving Tuesday’s page on Facebook and post your pledge. It doesn’t have to be money, you can volunteer, or even just make a statement of which cause you support.
Post a video of your pledge on the special YouTube channel and watch what others have to say.
The Giving Tuesday website is an easy way to make an immediate donation.
Many corporations and individuals have signed up to provide matching gifts, so your money goes twice as far. For example, donations directly to the 92 St Y up to $150,000 will be matched by an anonymous donor. The JCC of San Francisco is also doing a matching grant and Sony is launching a campaign on Pinterest from today until the end of the year, to give $1 for every re-pin of the pins given to the Michael Phelps Foundation of the Boys and Girls Club up to $25,000. Finally Microsoft has a $100,000 matching grant to match grants given to Global Giving. Gates’ tweet last night – which has been retweeted almost 6,000 times (not including mentions) – has also been invaluable.
So today’s message is clear. Join #givingtuesday – spread the word and spread the wealth.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010