'Giving Tuesday' Provides Alternative To Holiday Spending

Hundreds of corporate and nonprofit groups are banding together to designate the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day of giving back. They're calling it "Giving Tuesday" and hope it will gain the same kind of momentum as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amid concerns that our national day of thanks is becoming more consumer-driven, Giving Tuesday is emerging as an alternative to frenzied holiday shopping.

It's a mostly social-media based effort to remind people to give back to local charities and nonprofit causes on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

It has very little presence in Houston yet, in fact only a couple of Houston-based nonprofits we contacted had even heard of it.

Rebecca White is president and CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center, one of the few local organizations getting involved.

"The reason a lot of people have not heard of it is because this is the very first year, and it's part of a national initiative. I believe there are 1,400 different charities across the country participating. But hopefully it's the first of many years. It's a great idea."

White says they're promoting Giving Tuesday on their website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (also using the hashtag #GivingTuesday). She's hoping to see a bump in individual donations as a result.

The United Way of Houston is also participating. CEO Anna Babin says the average charity donor is older, so using social media to promote giving may be an effective way of reaching new supporters.

"I just think it's a reminder. We need these constant reminders and Giving Tuesday is a reminder that we're blessed and to share our blessings."

Giving Tuesday is unlikely to draw the kind of following that Black Friday gets, it's difficult to imagine anyone camping out for days to give money to charity. But nonprofit leaders are hopeful it will gain recognition as a worthy cause during this season of gratitude.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...