Folks feeling overwhelmed by the flood of advertising pleas to part with their dollars on Black Friday or Cyber Monday get a change of pace today.
It's "Giving Tuesday," a day of charity wedged in a season of buying.
It's a day organizers bill as a reminder that the season of giving need not be limited to cash registers of favorite retail outlets. Instead, more than 18,000 participating charities, nonprofits and corporate partners are urging people to consider a gift in money or time to groups working to improve their communities.
"It's nice to give back to the community instead of buying and purchasing consumer goods," said Melissa Dorman, who represents the United Nations Foundation, one of the day's organizers.
Henry Timms, then the interim executive director of the 92nd Street Y in New York City, is credited as coming up with the day in 2012.
"It was around the holiday season and we were thinking there's all these opportunities to buy things, but what about a day committed to giving," Timms recently told National Public Radio.
Organizers say Giving Tuesday, largely blossoming on social media, has grown tremendously since its inception and has participation from people in 40 nations. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports Giving Tuesday could raise more than $40 million this year with up to $32 million of that collected in online donations. An estimated $19.2 million was raised in 2013.
The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is taking part in Giving Tuesday for the second time in 2014. Lalita Llerena, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit group, said the hope is that people are looking for year-end giving opportunities.
"It reminds people what the holiday season is all about — giving," Llerena said. "We hope it catches on like Black Friday."
Organizers may have their work cut out for them. The National Retail Federation says total retail sales Friday through Monday hit $50.9 billion.
For more information, check out #GivingTuesday on Twitter or www.givingtuesday.org.
Contact William R. Levesque at [email protected] or (813) 226-3432.