Giving Tuesday: What it is and how you can get involved

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Calling all philanthropists: Dec. 1 is Giving Tuesday. Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and you have all your Christmas shopping done (or, you know, at least you've bought a present or two), Giving Tuesday is about shifting focus toward a more charitable mindset.

The founders of the holiday hope it becomes as natural of a habit to give on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as it is to shop during the holiday weekend.

Started in 2012 by New York City's 92nd Street Y, Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement that last year raised an estimated $45.7 million for charities. The idea behind the holiday is fairly simple: Everyone is encouraged to give in any way they can to organizations they care about. This can be money, time or even just kind words.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

Give to your favorite cause

You know that charity you love that you've been meaning to make a donation to? Do it today! And be sure to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to encourage your friends to learn more so they might give, too.

Shop for a cause

OK, we know you haven't really finished that holiday shopping. If you need to make a dent in your list today, there are a ton of ways to shop while giving back. One of the day's official partners is GoodShop, which allows a portion of your online purchases from your favorite stores to go to charity.

Go RED for World AIDS Day

Dec. 1 is also World AIDS Day, which raises awareness about the disease and the estimated 34 million people who are affected globally. RED, an official partner of Giving Tuesday, is hosting all kinds of events to raise awareness and funds on Tuesday, like a Shop-A-Thon on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Clean out your closet -- and give it away

The holiday is an excellent opportunity to donate gently used items to local non-profits while also making some space in your home. Go through your coat closets, toy closets and even your bookshelves and give away the items you don't need anymore.

Sign up to volunteer

You don't have to open your wallet to celebrate the holiday. Whether it's delivering warm clothes to those in need, serving at your local soup kitchen or even singing carols, sign up to spread some holiday cheer.

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