Where Did #GivingTuesday Come From, Anyway?

As #GivingTuesday 2015 winds to a close, we thought it might be useful for you to hear the origins of the donor-driven day of service and charity from one of the people who helped create it.

Asha Curran, director of the Center for Innovation and Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, helped create #GivingTuesday as a way to "think about what community really means in the 21st Century," she told host Tom Ashbrook today.

"We looked at Black Friday and Cyber Monday and how incredible those days are for the retail sector, and we thought, 'Wouldnt it be great if there was a day that was equally good for what we call the for-purpose sector?'," Curran told us. "And we also were thinking a lot about technology, and particularly about social media, and whether it could really be used to sort of harness the collective impact and power to start and catalyze this conversation about philanthropy."

The answer, Curran said, has "absolutely been yes."

"The amount of giving as a percentage of GDP has been stagnant for a really long time," Curran said. "So what's the harm in experimenting in different mechanisms in driving that number upwards? What defines a philanthropist? Do you have to be a millionaire? A billionaire? We don't believe that's true. No matter how small your gift is, that's what makes you a philanthropist. Philanthropy doesn't even have to be money — it can be volunteering your time, raising your voice in favor of a cause."

So, a hashtag, an idea and experiment in creative giving after two big days of massive consumption — that's #GivingTuesday. We hope you find a way to give in whatever way you see fit!


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