Black Friday caught on in the United States long before it became a major retailing event in Canada.
The term was used in the early 1950s, sometimes to denote when a merchant’s annual sales first generated a profit. In recent years, Black Friday has spawned two companions: Cyber Monday in 2005 and Giving Tuesday in 2012.
Whereas Cyber Monday is all about consumption—online, of course—Giving Tuesday aims higher.
Cofounded by several tech companies, including Mashable, and launched by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, its objective is to promote an international day of charitable giving.
And, yes, it’s a response to the commercialization that runs rampant the weekend following U.S. Thanksgiving.
In 2018, Facebook and PayPal announced that they would match up to $7 million in donations to U.S. nonprofit organizations on Giving Tuesday.
There’s also a Canadian movement with a website, givingtuesday.ca, that encourages law firms, chambers of commerce, and other organizations to contribute.
There’s also a tool kit for charities to help them use Giving Tuesday, which falls on December 3, to acquire new donors, strengthen relationships with existing donors, drive incremental donations, recruit volunteers, and build awareness.
The tool kit includes best practices, such as setting specific, tangible goals and underlining the impact of achieving them. As an example, it cites the Montreal-based charity Dans la Rue’s plan to raise $1,500 in 24 hours, which would purchase the equivalent of 500 pairs of new socks for at-risk street youths.
“Using a simple landing page, a video, and social media to spread the word, they raised over $2,000 in 2 days,” the tool kit states. “This was enough to fund 650 pairs of socks, allowing them to be much more prepared for the cold season.”
Food Banks Canada figured out how to attract contributors by encouraging them to share budget-friendly family recipes. It added this clever line in its pitch: “Add the missing ingredient to your recipe—a donation!”
Last year, Vancouver fundraising consultant and author Harvey McKinnon told the Straight that there are two types of donors. One group focuses all of its contributions on one area, whereas the other group is more “promiscuous”, spreading the gifts to many causes.
“I, as a lapsed Catholic, am in the latter category because there are lots of things I care about,” McKinnon said with a laugh.
There is no shortage of deserving charities in Vancouver in a wide range of areas that are worthy of public support.
Those participating in Giving Tuesday and appearing in this week’s edition of the Georgia Straight include Canuck Place Children's Hospice, the Nature Trust of British Columbia, Decoda Literacy Solutions, the Kettle Society, and Variety B.C.
As retired boxer Muhammad Ali once said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
Anyone interested in learning more about registered charities can visit the website of the Canada Revenue Agency. It lists organizations that can issue tax credits for donations, as well as their directors and areas where the money is spent.
On the Canada Revenue Agency website, it’s possible to see salary ranges for the organization’s highest-paid employees. There’s also a charitable-donation tax-credit collector, which enables people living in different provinces to learn how much they’ll get back for their contribution.