Who’s doing #GivingTuesday in Austin?

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Today, November 29, is #GivingTuesday, a national movement to mark the start of the end-of-year giving season. More than 250 Austin-area nonprofits have registered on the #GivingTuesday website, everything from education to environment, animals to health. See the full list here.

But what is #GivingTuesday and how can you participate?

Launched in 2012 by charitable groups in New York City, #GivingTuesday was meant to kick-off the giving season by taking advantage of social media to spread the word (hence, the hashtag). It was created as a response to the consumerism of unofficial American holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days when retailers lure shoppers with “doorbusters” and heavily discounted items. While these events are part of the holiday season, they aren’t the heart of the holiday season. And that’s where #GivingTuesday comes in.

Studies have shown that more than 70% of donations to nonprofits come from individuals according to the annual Giving USA report and that the month that most donations are made, by far, is December, according to Network for Good. So nonprofits know this time of the year is crucial for raising the funding they need to fulfill their missions.

You can think of it this way: #GivingTuesday is somewhat like Amplify Austin, the 24-hour campaign meant to spur online donations to local nonprofits via a specific platform. Amplify Austin is managed by a separate nonprofit that retains a portion of each donation to cover its operating costs. In 2015, Amplify Austin raised $8.5 million for more than 600 local nonprofits.

But #GivingTuesday is different in that it is national movement with no specific platform and no specific goal. Nonprofits across the country can participate just by fundraising that day and using the #GivingTuesday hashtag, logo or branding. And because it doesn’t direct donors to give through a specific platform, it doesn’t retain a fee from donations.

In 2015, more than $116 million was raised on #GivingTuesday with almost 700,000 donors participating across the country. But because nonprofits weren’t required to report on their #GivingTuesday results, these numbers don’t reflect how much was actually raised that day, nor do they reflect the volunteerism performed that day.

The point of #GivingTuesday is to celebrate philanthropy in America by empowering nonprofits to offer a number of ways for people to support them.

Latinitas, an Austin nonprofit that helps young Latina girls prepare for jobs in technology and media, has a goal to enlist 100 people to pledge to give $10 a month.

Austin Wildlife Rescue want to raise $3000 to purchase food and medical supplies for the animals it will help in 2017.

Everyone who donates $100 or more to Hill Country Conservancy on #GivingTuesday will be invited to a special reception inside the famous TMI Castle, the structure at the top of Castle Hill above Graffiti Park in Central Austin. HCC works with landowners to preserve land from development.

Big Medium, which produced the East Austin Studio Tour among other treasured Austin arts events, has a goal of recruiting 50 new contributing members.

There are about 250 local nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesday, but you can choose from any nonprofit you want. The point is to take a moment to make an online donation to support the services you use and the causes you care about. And don’t forget to share what you did on social media, using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

Learn more about #GivingTuesday here.

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