David Dulberg
November 2018

The Positive Response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Giving Tuesday

Though Thanksgiving was just days ago it seems like so much longer. Black Friday and Cyber Monday steamrolled in and over, shifting the focus from gratitude to get-me-some. Instead of family, food, and football, consumers hustled empty shopping carts (real and virtual) through stores for the first crack at TVs, tablets, and toys. Back in 2012, all this naked consumerism caused a positive response. The 92nd Street Y in New York and the United Nations Foundation came up with Giving Tuesday to counter all that materialism. Why not give back instead? Rather than accumulate greater amounts of goods, the idea was to come together with your family, church, or company and find ways to contribute to the greater good.

Corporate partners, Mashable, Skype, Cisco, and others, quickly joined in. It was immediately successful. No definitive information is available, but well over $10 million was raised, not to mention countless selfless acts that didn’t cost anything.

Because that’s the beautiful part. You don’t have to be a wealthy partner, like Facebook or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that matched $2 million in donations made on Facebook last year. You can be a kid from a family that is barely making it. Or, you can be someone who is overwhelmed by student loan debt. You can be an older person on a shoestring budget. There are more ways to give than just sending in money.

For example, here are some Giving Tuesday opportunities that will only cost you time:


  • Collect food slated to be thrown out from bakeries and stores and take it to shelters.
  • Take children’s Sunday school classes to retirement homes to visit and chat with elders.
  • Volunteer somewhere, anywhere, instead of attending regular church group meetings.
  • Create “restaurants” at church facilities and serve the homeless.


  • Collect coats from coworkers and donate to shelters.
  • Commit to being greener with recycling or energy saving measures.
  • Give your skills pro-bono to a non-profit.
  • Make a cat calendar, sell to co-workers and give proceeds to an animal shelter.


  • Hand deliver goodies to your neighbors.
  • Leave kind notes on the windshields of cars.
  • Volunteer as a family at an animal shelter.
  • Make homemade ornaments and hand them out to friends and neighbors.

Of course, these are just the beginning. No matter where you are financially, you can come up with ways to give. Student loan debt, underemployment, or big bills—none of it has to stop you from participating. Your imagination and generosity of spirit are the only limiting factors. So go ahead and metaphorically empty your Black Friday and Cyber Monday virtual carts. Say hello to giving and bye-bye to buy-buy.

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David Dulberg

David Dulberg lives with his wife in the coastal hills above a narrow creek, mid-canopy in a redwood forest. He has been writing for non-profits for many years, and volunteers as a pilot on the Baum Squad, a tandem bike riding program for the Earle Baum Center for the Blind. He does not have a pet. This does not make him a bad person.

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