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After Cyber Monday frenzy, Giving Tuesday taps the quiet impulse to give (+video)

Giving Tuesday, launched by New York's 92nd Street Y, the United Nations Foundation, and 2,000 corporate and nonprofit partners, aims to make giving as fixed a holiday feature as shopping.

By Staff writer / November 27, 2012

Packages ready to ship move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Phoenix on Nov. 26, expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history. Giving Tuesday, launched today, aims to put the focus on charitable giving.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

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LOS ANGELES

Name days are the newest holiday trend, but don’t worry if you didn’t know that Nov. 27 is Giving Tuesday. This is the kickoff year for what may seem self-evident – a day of being charitable with your dollars rather than ticking off items from your shopping list.

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While many people already include charitable giving in their regular holiday gifting, organizers hope that Giving Tuesday will launch a new kind of seasonal money madness that makes giving a big part of early and regular money outflow for everyone.

Giving Tuesday is the brainchild of New York’s 92nd Street Y, which trademarked the handle. It teamed up with the United Nations Foundation to leverage its broader clout. Before launch, Giving Tuesday had nearly 2,000 partners, corporate and nonprofit alike, cheerleading the idea into the national – and global – consciousness via the website, givingtuesday.org.

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Bill Gates tweeted, “Everyone knows about #BlackFriday & #CyberMonday. Now help me spread the word about #GivingTuesday.”

By midday Tuesday, nonprofits and corporations alike were waving the flag in support of the idea, using Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Some might question the wisdom of asking for donations just as consumers are responding to the barrage of early shopping deals from Black Friday and what is now being called Cyber Week. But just as the early bird gets the $78 flat screen TV, early reminders about what is truly important might help to change the way people give throughout the entire season, says Devin Hermanson, senior marketing director for World Vision, one of the early supporters of Giving Tuesday.

“My blue sky idea is that one day you will report that Giving Tuesday eclipsed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” he says with a laugh, “Why can’t we aspire to that?”

According to a new Harris Interactive Poll commissioned by World Vision, some 83 percent of Americans do aspire to donate to charity, yet when asked the more practical question of will they give this holiday season, the number actually dropped from 51 percent in 2011 to 45 percent this November.

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