On one particular day during last year’s Christmas shopping season a phenomenon from across the Atlantic really took hold in the UK for the first time.
Businesses lined up to get involved, pounds were spent in their millions, social media went into a frenzy, and even the Prime Minister was talking about it.
This year will be even bigger. Lots of extra businesses are marking the day out in their calendar, and millions more people look set to do the same.
For those who crave an antidote to the commercialism of the festive season, this should come as welcome news. Because the global phenomenon to which I refer is, of course, Giving Tuesday, which this year will take place on 1 December.
Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday started in the United States and has now made its way to these shores.
This global movement now spans five continents and has the backing of some of the world’s biggest businesses and leading politicians.
At its core is a very simple idea: it encourages people to set one day of the year to give time, money or your voice to a good cause. Any cause. Supported in any way you want to give. With thousands of small acts of kindness we can transform lives.
Last year the Charities Aid Foundation brought Giving Tuesday to the UK for the first time. With support from businesses, hundreds of charities including and well-known entertainers like David Tennant and Helen Mirren, it mobilised millions of people to do something generous. Talk of good causes and giving dominated Twitter, people spent time volunteering and data from Visa and JustGiving showed a significant increase in donations on the day.
With one month to go until Giving Tuesday 2015, this year is already set to be even bigger.
More than 1,100 UK businesses and charities have signed up as partners, ranging from household names like Microsoft, Morrisons and Barnado’s to local firms and grass roots causes. We also know that, with more people now aware of Giving Tuesday, millions more are planning to get involved.
One of the great things about this global day of giving is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It might be a day to strike up a conversation about your favourite charity, finally commit to doing that bit of volunteering or it could be an opportunity to talk about something you are doing already.
We know that big businesses in the UK do far more to support good causes than most people realise. Firms need to talk more about the charitable work they do.
As the CAF World Giving Index consistently shows, Britain has a proud track record of being one of the word’s most generous countries. For business, charities and the millions of us who support good causes, Giving Tuesday offers a perfect opportunity to celebrate that.