blog image

We have all been put “on notice” about something big that’s coming.  But it’s not the kind of notice people may be discussing in the news or in their offices today.  This is advance warning about something big that is taking place that will help people celebrate their role as people who donate their time, money, and talents to causes that help create a better world.

If we know anything about the American Spirit, it’s that when the going gets tough, the tough get giving.  That’s perhaps more true this year than ever before.  And it’s something that unites people in the U.S. with people around the globe.  It’s why I am glad we have something inspiring to look forward to and contribute to this December 3rd.

Today marks the 60-day countdown to #GivingTuesday.  You’ve heard a lot about the “holiday shopping season,” but this day allows people to support causes they care about as the opening day for the “giving season.”  #GivingTuesday is a day to give back, give more, and give smarter – and this year there’s even more to the story…it’s even gone global.

Last year’s #GivingTuesday was an experiment that exceeded every expectation.  I was honored to be a part of this effort together with my colleagues at the UN Foundation and partners around the globe. 

With #GivingTuesday founder Henry Timms and under the leadership of UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin, I was able to see firsthand just how powerful people’s stories can be when it comes to personal commitments to philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy supporting issues that matter to them.  Last year we saw how #GivingTuesday helped define a movement that is taking place in backyards and boardrooms and classrooms around the United States.  We are a country that contributes to local causes as well as supporting global issues through support for the UN.  We are a generation that donates to help create change, not just support charity. 

Today’s 60-day countdown is a chance for people to learn how #GivingTuesday has grown and evolved over the past year.  December 3 (this year’s #GivingTuesday) includes some exciting announcements, including how #GivingTuesday 2013 will be:

  • Bigger – more partners and bigger commitments than ever before to inspire and increase giving and service in all 50 U.S. states!  (See the impressive list in the press release here.)
  • Smarter – more trainings, workshops, and online resources for the giving community, purpose-driven corporations, and non-profits! (Check it out on
  • Global – with communities organizing in Canada, Australia and Mexico, inspiring activation and giving around the globe! (See a quote from the head of the UN Development Programme Helen Clark here.)

Now, it has not been an easy year for everyone in terms of their pocketbooks.  Many people are worried about the economy, their jobs, and the budget talks going on in Washington and the budget talks going on in their own living rooms.  But that is one of the most important reasons that charities and non-profits need the support of people like us this year to ensure that important work to fight poverty, improve health, and create prosperity continues.  I have been impressed with the way that some forward-leaning companies who are dedicated to innovation and social purpose have stepped-up to this challenge.  By encouraging people (whether their employees, their customers, or their vendors) to do more than just buy gifts this holiday season, they are showing their true colors as organizations dedicated to change and driving positive impact in their communities.   Now, I am not telling anyone where to do their holiday shopping, but the list of retailers at is a great place to start if you want your dollar to do more than just buy what’s in front of you.  And the list of charities and non-profits is a great place to make a donation in someone’s honor…choosing a gift that your friends will love and that will make an impact in people’s lives everywhere.

The real power of #GivingTuesday story is told through the outreach efforts of charities, companies, and communities and through personal social media communications.  This is the part of #GivingTuesday that inspires me the most.  Last year, people shared with us how happy they were to have a day to celebrate what others do to give back during the holiday season.  People love to catch others “doing good” in their communities.  And people are proud to talk about the charities and causes they support.  I hope you’ll join this conversation as we count down to #GivingTuesday 2013.  There are 60 days until it helps us open up the “giving season.”  Let’s make it a kick-off that includes your voice, your story, and celebrates your role in helping create a better world.

Follow me on Twitter at @ASherinian, and check out my blog Global Extrovert at