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A post-Thanksgiving tradition continues for its 8th year in 2019. Giving Tuesday falls on December 3.

This largely online phenomenon kicks off what is considered to be the most charity-focused season of the year by encouraging people to give their time and/or money to causes after an exhausting few days of shopping. This can involve donating to your favorite nonprofit, volunteering, starting a fundraiser of your own, registering as a regular donor for a nonprofit organization, or even just sharing information about a cause or group that you are passionate about on social media.

As a response to commercially-oriented “holidays” following Thanksgiving such as Black Friday, the 92nd Street YMCA in New York and the United Nations Foundation announced the first Giving Tuesday in October, 2012. The next Giving Tuesday garnered enough support that the estimated charitable donations doubled, and in subsequent years Facebook, the Case Foundation, PayPal, and the Gates Foundation jumped on board with donation-matching grants.

The very first Giving Tuesday was estimated to have raised about 10.1 million dollars and took place exclusively in the United States, but by 2014 it evolved into a global initiative, with organizations from 68 different countries taking part and about $33.6 million dollars raised for charity. Last year’s donation estimate was about 400 million, with 175 million of that coming from donors on Facebook.

Organizers hope that the upward trend in giving will continue and have expanded their reach to include kids in the Giving Tuesday hype by providing materials for teachers to bring the spirit of giving into their classrooms. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of problems in the world, but the aim of bringing the initiative to schools is to prove that everyone has something valuable to give and every gift matters – a lesson that both kids and adults need to be reminded of occasionally.

While this is an inherently optimistic holiday, it is recommended to vet any charity that you plan on giving to - make sure that your donation is going to someone who needs it instead of lining a scammer's pockets.