After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday comes … Giving Tuesday, reports Anne Kadet in The Wall Street Journal (11/30/13). Yes, yet another manufactured day for holiday-fueled action, but this one has an altruistic bent. The idea for Giving Tuesday – “a day for all Americans to give back and make a difference” – actually started with a UK Native, Henry Timms. He got to thinking about what should come after these various retail-driven happenings and the notion of a day of ‘doing good’ came easily.
It so happened that Henry is well-connected, starting with “his mentor, Kathy Calvin, head of the United Nations Foundation,” who had also been Gary Hart‘s press secretary “and the head of branding for AOL in its heyday.” Kathy began seeding the idea with her network of influentials, working through her connections at Unicef to get support from “the nonprofit’s celebrity partners, including Hugh Jackman and Charlize Theron, and her AOL ties ensured support from former CEO Steve Case.” A UN communications chief recruited “a pro bono exec team from top PR firms cranking out press releases.”
Two years later, Giving Tuesday has “1,000 volunteers in all 50 states” and “more than 8,300 partners planning events and promotions, including big names like Walmart and United Way. It has garnered more than 970 press mentions and 2.5 million social-media impressions.” Despite this, Kathy puts awareness of Giving Tuesday at about five percent of the US population. But Henry sees it taking off as the “unselfie” – that is, people “posting pictures of themselves doing good deeds” and Tweeting about it. “It’s a moment of permission,” says Kathy. “It’s cool to tell people what you’re doing.”