You’ve heard of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and perhaps even Small Business Saturday, but have you heard of Giving Tuesday?
In the frenzied, post-Thanksgiving rush of shopping and deal-seeking, Giving Tuesday urges people to step back and to focus on what the holiday season is truly about: giving.
The tradition was established in 2012 by a coalition of 1,400 charities and non-profits.
The National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation, centered in Fort Atkinson, but serving an international community affected by the rare genetic disease, participated for the first time last year and plans to do so again this year.
Giving Tuesday falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year, that will be Dec. 2.
On this date, people are asked to consider holiday and year-end giving. Both monetary and non-monetary contributions are emphasized, although, of course, the Niemann-Pick foundation is focusing on donations that will help advance research on the rare disease and help it support families around the world who are affected by the genetic disease.
An added incentive to donate on Giving Tuesday is the opportunity to increase one’s donations through matching grants.
Donors to the NNPDF will see their online contributions on this day boosted by $1 for every $25 contributed. A donation of $25 would become $26 and a donation of $100 would become $104.
The overall Giving Tuesday effort stemmed from a trend of decreased donations to charity and organizers’ desire to make giving more of a social, community-building event rather than something people did alone at their kitchen tables while reviewing their tax status at the end of the year.
Organizers of the overall event also wanted to get more young people involved, as most of the donations are given by older people. That’s why Giving Tree events are focused on social media.
“Last year when we got involved, we just asked people to make a year-end contribution on that day,” said Nadine Hill, executive director of the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation. This year, the nonprofit foundation has stepped up its campaign, asking people to consciously think about NNPDF and their other favorite charities as the “season of giving” kicks off.
Hill said NNPDF is working with Network for Good, a nonprofit that helps foundations and other nonprofits to process credit card donations on a secure site without each individual charity having to set up such a site itself.
“They oversee and support many nonprofits,” Hill said. This year, Network for Good is overseeing the matching grant process, as well.
“On this day, it’s an opportunity for even a small donation to make a bigger difference,” Hill said.
The easiest way for people to participate in the Giving Tuesday campaign for NNPDF is to connect on the foundation’s home page, www.nnpdf.org.
The website has a portal linking directly to the Network for Good’s secured online site for credit card donations, and all contributions made on that day are eligible for matching funds.
Last year, the NNPDF saw a little bump on Giving Tuesday, and this year, coordinators hope to see that go up even more as more people learn about this opportunity.
“It’s when year-end giving starts to ramp up anyway, so it’s difficult to tally how much of a difference it made, but it did make a difference,” Hill said.
The foundation director said that every year, the NNPDF’s donors and constituents are becoming more comfortable in making online donations, so this trend is likely to grow.
The “Giving Tuesday” theme resonates with NNPDF planners, who have tweaked the title just a little to make it “Giving Tree Tuesday,” in reference to the classic children’s book “The Giving Tree” about a tree that gives everything from apples to shade and one day gives up everything to provide wood for the person it has assisted for all of these years.
For many years, the NNPDF’s theme has been “Persevere,” later expanded to “Persevere for Life.”
For this campaign, coordinators brought in the idea of the “giving tree” to represent the tree of life and the family tree, standing for both the family members of those with Niemann-Pick Disease and for the support affected families find within the overarching organization of the NNPDF itself.
“The idea of the Giving Tree goes along with the whole theme,” Hill said. “We are there to support Niemann-Pick families and we will be there for life.”
She noted that the work of the foundation includes both family support and funding research. Since Niemann-Pick is a rare disease, there is little to no money for research from government or private industry sources. The foundation helps fund groundbreaking research that is accelerating the pace of discovery in hopes for an eventual treatment for the fatal disease.
“Next year, we are going to have four clinical trials, three for Niemann-Pick Disease Type C and one for Niemann-Pick Disease Type B,”
Hill said that despite its name, the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation actually serves an international community, with families in the United States, Canada and around the world.
But a strong core of support for the foundation has always come from right in this area.
“The Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation wouldn’t be where it is today without the strong and continued support we have seen from Fort Atkinson and the greater Jefferson County area,” Hill said.