America has developed a wide number of social innovations that have matured from novel experiments into best practices for healthy societies. We pioneered new approaches to charitable giving such as the community foundation. We developed national service into a standard rite for youth development. But in just a few short years, #GivingTuesday has emerged as a potent new model of online and offline engagement that was pioneered in our country but has taken root around the world.
Since it launched in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a case study in community organizing in the 21st century. It follows the consumer traditions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the public calendar. But, unlike these commercial counterparts, #GivingTuesday offers a moment on the calendar to encourage Americans to reflect and give back. Some might choose to volunteer their talent, others might make charitable contributions and still others simply to connect with friends and loved ones. Through millions of online clicks and offline acts, we expect #GivingTuesday will take many forms, but all will be energized by a common impulse to make life better, especially for those in need.
It’s exciting that the #GivingTuesday organizers have exceeded the heights achieved in prior years. In 2015, it will take place through more than 18,000 partner organizations spread across all 50 states. It will involve 40 local communities who are developing their own unique campaigns to motivate and organize local citizens on making a difference.
This year, #GivingTuesday also could be described as #GlobalTuesday in 2015 because it is reaching beyond our borders. This year, the event will encompass citizens of dozens of countries around the world who are customizing their initiatives to their cultural norms and local needs. So, without regard to ethnicity, nationality, faith or political affiliation, millions are poised to be engaged in this worldwide moment.
Here at the White House, President Obama is proud to celebrate this American innovation that is creating world changing impact.
So now our question is – how will you celebrate #GivingTuesday?
Jonathan Greenblatt is a Special Assistant to the President and the Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.