Giving Tuesday the right response to spending spree

| December 3, 2019

Following a weekend spending blitz that saw shoppers splurge hundreds of millions on pre-Christmas bargains, charities and not-for-profits are urging people to counter the consumer frenzy by giving back.

Giving Tuesday, December 3 (today) , is set to raise more than $730m ($US500m) globally across 60 countries, and hundreds of thousand here for good causes.

Hundreds of Australian charities have launched a fundraising blitz; businesses, councils and every type of community group imaginable are involved; and the day will spur thousands to do good deeds of all kinds including volunteering, speaking up for others, or helping people in need.

Giving Tuesday ambassador Tim Costello says the day is all about generosity: “Everyone has something to give, and Giving Tuesday is the day to do it.”

The former chief of World Vision Australia is now chair of the Community Council of Australia and director of Ethical Voice.

He says the Giving Tuesday movement, which began in the United States as a counter to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday online buying bonanza, was rapidly growing in Australia alongside the growth of retail sales at this time of year. Giving Tuesday was a natural antidote, he said.

People should balance spending with giving, and not necessarily to family and friends “who already have everything they need,” Mr Costello said.

“We’re a prosperous nation, so instead of looking to ourselves, this is a great time to think of others.” The inaugural Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Susan Pascoe, has also backed the campaign.

“I’ve seen first-hand the work that charities do to improve the lives of other people. This is your opportunity. No matter how small your donation, it will make a difference.” This year, the Good Friday Appeal –  raising funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne – hopes to raise $100,000 on the day for a specialist microscope for kids.

The Ballet Theatre of Queensland wants $10,000 for tutus; Mecwacare wants to bankroll baby seal robot therapists for dementia patients, and Knitted Knockers Australia, making prosthetic breasts for cancer survivors, will set the needles clicking.

The Leprosy Mission has dubbed its shoe drive “Giving Shoesday”, while organisations like Anglicare and Kidney Health have sponsors tipping in to double donations for the day.

Fundraising Institute Australia chief Katherine Raskob said many members were on board a campaign that taps into the Aussie instinct to help, including many smaller charities. Ms Raskob said even “a modest gift can be transformative”. Social enterprise Our Community, which hosts donation platform, has deployed its staff to promote the event and offer free help to groups wanting to get involved.

“We’re powered by a desire to help the country’s 600,000 not-for-profits and charities and to spread support for a fair go, and we think Giving Tuesday is the catalyst to turn that into action,” Our Community group managing director Denis Moriarty said.