There are a few things I believe in fundamentally, straight down to my toes. One of them is the importance of Giving Tuesday. Why am I so passionate about it? I was there when it was created.
The year was 2012. It was only seven years ago, but it feels like forever. At the time, I was vice president of global partnerships for the United Nations Foundation. I have to give credit where it's due; the idea was very much the brainchild of Aaron Sherinian, who was head of communications at the time and who still is one of my favorite people.
The idea was to partner with 92Y, previously known as New York's 92nd Street Y, a cultural center that encourages and helps top speakers in the world to go out and spread the word on international issues.
The whole notion was that with the popularization of Black Friday, we needed an antidote. What's the opposite of commercialism so powerful that people are forced to skip their holiday celebrations to placate the greedy masses? We decided on a day that would remind people to push that same money into giving instead.
Charity is great at any time of year, and you should do it in your personal life, but the longer I've run a business, the more I think about how take part in Giving Tuesday isn't just morally good, it's good for business. Here's why.
You can spread your company values.
Lifting up a cause that you care about shows the public what your business is about more than just about anything else. No need to be prescriptive about it. If you have a healthcare company, you don't have to donate to something in that space, though that would be strategic. Maybe you and your team love animals and want to give to Best Friends or the Humane Society.
Whatever you choose, just make sure it truly means something to you and will tell your customers that you have strong values.
You can raise awareness about your business.
Your mama always told you not to brag about your charitable donations, but when it comes to business, I'm telling you to do exactly that. Do it far and wide, which these days means social media. #GivingTuesday
Why? Because the more you spread the word about your favorite charity using the proper hashtags, the more eyes you'll have on you, potentially for the first time. If the charity retweets your posts, you'll have new prospective customers with the same values as you, learning about what you have in common -- and what you can do for them.
It's tax season.
I hate to say it, but we all know it's coming. It's the end of the year, the perfect time to make that last big donation to get a write-off come April. If you're like me, you've probably been donating throughout the year, but Giving Tuesday is a great reminder to make that one last big push.
Unless your business is tax-exempt, it could mean big savings later on, while also doing some of the best work you'll do all year for a charity that matters to you.
While there are many charities to choose from, it's best to attach your business to a charity or nonprofit you trust. So while Giving Tuesday really, truly is about doing good for others, the real deal is that it can be pretty great for your company, too. Win win my friend!