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What you can do for Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, and people everywhere are turning their spending into donating. On this day of charity and hospitality, we’re giving you a few ideas to help you do your part.

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    Bumper stickers for national charities adorn a Subaru Forester. Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 is Giving Tuesday.
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The turkey has been carved, the door busters have been bought and many of the online sales have expired. But if you thought Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the end of pre-holiday shopping festivities, you’d be wrong.

Today is Giving Tuesday, and people everywhere are turning their spending into donating. On this day of charity and hospitality, we’re giving you a few ideas to help you do your part.

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is the brainchild of New York City-based cultural center 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. The official Giving Tuesday organization describes the post-Cyber Monday event this way: “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.”

Launched in 2012, Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

The effort to shift the focus of the holiday season from receiving gifts to giving them to others has been gaining steam ever since. Givers are encouraged to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag to share their efforts and spread the word about the day on their social media accounts.

How can you participate?

If you want to join your friends, neighbors, fellow Americans and worldwide participants in this day of giving, there are plenty of ways to do so.

1. Donate to charity. Perhaps the simplest method to give back is to make a donation to a charity of your choice. Instead of buying that one extra Christmas present, devote those funds to a wider cause instead. You can stay local by giving to your community’s homeless shelter or food bank, or go national by contributing to well-known organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association or the Red Cross.

2. Shop at participating retailers. Some retailers are pledging to donate to the Giving Tuesday cause, and by shopping at these outlets, you can help aid this effort. Website development site Squarespace, for instance, will donate $100,000 on Giving Tuesday to education nonprofit Code.org. Squarespace customers can use coupon code GIVINGTUESDAY on Dec. 1 to take 20% off their subscription to the site. Similarly, Old Navy will donate 1% of customers’ total spending made with an Old Navy (or other Gap Inc. brand) credit card on Dec. 1 (up to $75,000).

3. Combine spending and giving. It’s possible to buy gifts and give to others at the same time. Coupon website Goodshop, for example, is helping shoppers feel good about their purchases on Dec. 1. According to a recent press release, “Via Goodshop, shoppers will find more than 500,000 great coupon codes and deals and a portion of what they spend at thousands of stores including Amazon, Best Buy, Apple, Macy’s and more will be donated right back to the cause of their choice.”

4. Give a non-monetary gift. If you don’t have much room in your budget, you can give in other ways. Donate your time by volunteering at a nearby animal shelter or soup kitchen. Sign up to become an organ donor. Give blood. The possibilities for good deeds are truly endless.

5. Keep your giving in the family. Giving doesn’t have to be limited to charitable organizations. This Giving Tuesday, give some extra care and attention to your friends, family members and neighbors. Spend time reading to a younger relative. Volunteer to finish off a project around the house. Buy your grandma or grandpa that one item they’ve been yearning for.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

This article first appeared in NerdWallet.

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