Giving Tuesday: A brief history and how to avoid getting scammed


(NEWS10) — This Tuesday is “Giving Tuesday,” a day encouraging donations to charities as families focus on their holiday and end of the year giving. 

First came Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving celebration of consumerism and deals on the latest electronics and doo-dads. Then came Cyber Monday: a day of deals for those who prefer the safety and comfort of their living room to the rough and tumble of Walmart the day after Thanksgiving.

And most recently, giving Tuesday has gained popularity as a holiday focused on charitable giving and service rather than consumerism and deals.

A brief history of Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday was founded in 2012 as a partnership between the 92nd Street Y , a non-profit community center in New York City, and the United Nations. The annual day was set for the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

According to, the hope was to start a viral campaign of charitable donations using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. The partners released a series of guidelines and marketing materials to any non-profit interested in taking part.

The idea quickly took off and Giving Tuesday has only grown since then. Organizers say donors gave more than $380 million as part of #GivingTuesday initiatives in 2018.

How to avoid getting scammed on Giving Tuesday

  • Take time to research the organization: Consult to learn more about the charity’s mission and finances. Be careful of online platforms like Gofundme. They often do not vet the fundraisers posted to their site. Find out if the charity itself has authored the campaign.
  • Know where your money will go: Find out from the charity what it will do with your money. Visit pennies for charity to see how much is spent on fundraising costs and how much will go to programs.
  • Don’t be pressured by telemarketers: You have a right to hang up on a telephone call asking you to contribute to a charity. Be wary of claims such as “all proceeds go to charity.’ Often telemarketing companies receive most of the money they raise.
  • Ask to be put on a ‘Do Not Call’ List: It is not illegal for telemarketers for charities to call telephone numbers on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, but consumers can stop such calls by telling telemarketers not to call them on behalf of specific charities.
  • Be wary of deceptive tactics and emotional appeals: Watch out for charities with names that resemble those of prominent or established organizations. Be wary of emotional appeals that talk about problems, but are vague on how donations will be spent.
  • Don’t disclose personal information: Never give your social security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information over the phone or to an organization you are not familiar with.
  • If donating online of via text, donate securely: When donating online, make sure the website is secure and includes ‘https’ in the web address. Before hitting “Send” on a text donation, check the charity’s website or call the charity to make sure contributions by text message are authorized.
  • Never give cash: Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity

The following websites provide information that help to evaluate charities’ general performance:

If you believe an organization is misrepresenting its work, or that a scam is taking place, please email the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at or call 212-416-8401.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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