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Author Picture By - Nov 02, 2016

The holiday season is officially upon us. Once we turned the calendar to November 1, Amazon and dozens of retailers started reminding us that it was time to shop, shop, shop! Yes, that means Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping deals abound, but it also means one of my favorite days of the year: #GivingTuesday – a global day to give back.

This year, #GivingTuesday will fall on November 29, kicking off the holiday giving season and offering all of us a chance to take a moment to support communities at home and around the world.

If you have not heard of the day before, the concept is simple: On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, individuals, businesses, communities, companies, and others donate their time, money, and efforts to causes they care about that create positive change. Then, we share the message of giving on social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

So, in the spirit of this global day of charitable giving, I have put together a list of my five favorite things about #GivingTuesday.  These are some of the principles, lessons and ideas that I have come to love most about this exciting, evolving movement of worldwide giving.

#GivingTuesday is not about just one thing…it’s about all of us!

It’s a day to think about what we can do for each other. It’s about community. Giving is a way to support one another. The #GivingTuesday community has created a directory of charities and events on givingtuesday.org to make it easier for individuals to find ways to get involved. Whether donating to a particular campaign or volunteering your skills or just taking a few minutes to carry neighbors’ groceries, there are many ways to give back.

Organizations large and small will come out to support solutions to global issues.

#GivingTuesday is a day of innovation that allows us to think of new ways to use our resources for the causes we care about. Contributing to programs that incubate entrepreneurs and new initiatives is a fabulous way to participate in the giving. For example, 92Y’s Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact runs on donations to help it support the cause of global welfare.  Check out what they are doing!  See how we at the United Nations Foundation are helping people connect with global causes.  See how your local organizations are bridging the divide between local action and global causes.  There is so much to do!

Giving is global, and so is #GivingTuesday.

Last year, #GivingTuesday took place in more than 70 countries. Even though it is centered on the holiday season in the United States, the charitable giving that makes the day successful has no boundaries. Every year, #GivingTuesday sees organic contributions of time and talents from people the world over. #GivingTuesday has partnered with organizations like TechSoup Global and the United Nations Development Programme to engage cultures and communities everywhere.

#GivingTuesday makes it easy to talk about what you care about.

A global day to celebrate giving offers the world a fantastic opportunity. We can talk about the ways we give to our causes and encourage others to do the same.

The #UNselfie is a perfect example of a conversation about giving. #UNselfies are an exciting and versatile way to talk about giving. Through #UNselfies and sharing personal giving stories on social media, we can collaborate with others to expand our giving power. So this giving season, make sure to spread the joy, and get people excited to give!

Finally, #GivingTuesday isn’t just about money.

It is an important day to raise funds for the causes we care about, but it is also a day to raise awareness of global issues, and a day to raise the number of volunteer hours people put into their communities.

One of my favorite things about the Sustainable Development Goals is that they spotlight the issues the world is working on and provide a way to measure our progress towards achieving them. Working towards these goals by giving time or know-how is an amazing contribution to #GivingTuesday.

Donations are important. However, funds are not the only things that #GivingTuesday measures, and they are definitely not the only things that matter.

This #GivingTuesday, join us and give back in whatever way works for you. Together, we can help make sure giving is at the center of the season!

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