Social innovation is about recognizing a pain point, and innovating a solution. One could say that a pain point about the holiday season is finding ways to make donation and charitable giving go ‘viral’ the way Black Friday and Cyber Monday do.

 Giving Tuesday
Enter, #GivingTuesday. There is a new initiative to designate the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day to support, promote, and social  media-ize your favorite local charities.
So, what’s the skinny on #GivingTuesday? Here are 5 things you should know:

5 Things You Should Know About #GivingTuesday


1) This is its first year. If you can’t remember how you celebrated #GivingTuesday last year, you’re off the hook. This, 2012, is it’s debut year—and it will be great to hear back from the charities and non-profits on its effectiveness in kicking off the giving season.
2) It has some major org power behind it.  Over 45 organizations, corporations, and entities are listed as Founding Partners of the #GivingTuesday initiative on the official website, aptly named HuffPo credits the launch of this day primarily to the efforts of the United Nations and 92nd Street Y and has done an entire series of posts around it.
3) Each Founding Partner has committed to do something to support it. Perhaps to avoid support ‘in name only’ the #GivingTuesday website details what each Founding Partner is doing. And though some of the Partners have issued a general commitment to support, others have pinpointed specific actions. For example, Discover committed the following:


“We are engaging the Discover community in giving by offering a 2% match to donations to the national chapters of our charitable partners. We will also waive transaction fees to our charitable partners for donations made on #GivingTuesday. And finally, our cardmembers can donate their cashback bonus to our charitable partners and receive a 2% match”.

4) It embraces technology. Just like it’s cousin, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a product of 2.0 parents. While there may be a number of live in-person events recognizing the day—the real action will be online—on your Twitter feed and your Facebook Timeline. Look for your friends calling out their favorite causes and for corporations matching donations or making donations for each action that you take (i.e. liking a charity, commenting on a news item, or posting in support).

5) It’s real, innovative, and is calling…you ! In case you don’t have a favorite charity to support—I am happy to intro you to one of my favorite. Second Harvest Food Bank has been one of my go-to volunteer locations for the past few years. Well-run, it is a place where bulk food is donated, sorted, packaged, and redistributed—daily! It runs with an amazing efficiency and whether you spend an hour or a whole day volunteering there—your time will feel well spent.

For every photo or post on the Second Harvest Food Bank Facebook page, @LiveOps is donating $5 (or 10 meals) to the non-profit.

So, flex your viral social media muscles—and make it a successful #GivingTuesday!