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Friday, October 24, 2014 | Last updated: 1:32am

Giving Tuesday gives anti-consumerism critics something to do



The only people who exert as much energy as Black Friday shoppers are the people who decry post-Thanksgiving bargains and all the evils of corporate America and its rampant consumerism.

Luckily, there’s a way to put that anti-consumerism frustration to good use, and it’s much more productive than demonizing shoppers who are looking to save some money this season.

Tomorrow marks Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving and the first movement of its kind, according to an article in Philanthropy Journal.

Thursday was a day for eating. There were at least two days dedicated to shopping. There might as well be a national day for giving, too.

In 2011, shoppers spent $52 billion on Black Friday. Cyber Monday sales brought in more than a billion dollars. Giving Tuesday, or #GivingTuesday, aims to bring in a chunk of that money by reaching out to spenders via social media.

Founding partners — including the United Nations Foundation, DonorsChoose.org, Mashable and Groupon — vary from nonprofit organizations to leaders in social media, who teamed up to “explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations,” according to the article.

Major corporations are also in on the endeavor. On Tuesday, Discover will offer a 2 percent match to all donations to its national charitable partners. It will also waive transaction fees made to nonprofits.

Microsoft will also launch a donor matching initiative on Give for Youth, which enables donors to fund opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship for young people in developing nations.

The day “offers America a new narrative, challenging us to think beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday and reminding us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, chief executive of the UN Foundation.

It’s easy to point out all the bad in the world, to criticize and complain about how awful other people are. It takes little effort at all to simply talk about everything other people should not do.

The challenge is getting yourself to stop talking. Stop telling people what they should not be doing, like not shopping and or not overeating or not doing whatever it is you don’t approve of. Set an example. Make good happen through leading, not lecturing.

More than 2,000 recognized organizations, from every state, have partnered with Giving Tuesday. In Tucson, downtown-based arts and cultural organizations like the Arizona Theatre Company, the Fox Theatre, the Rialto Theatre and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra could use your support.

Maybe people will hear you when you talk about the decline of American values as a result of growing consumerism. But they probably won’t listen because they’ll be too busy getting in line for a cheaper TV.

On the other hand, you can make a genuine difference by giving back. And maybe other people will notice, and they’ll give back too.

You’ll never be able to make everyone in the world listen to you, no matter how tall a soapbox you stand on. And if you talk enough, most people will just tune you out anyway. Instead, go do something.

Do good. Be good.

— Kristina Bui is the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @kbui1 .


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