THE BLOG
11/03/2014 11:12 am ET Updated Jan 03, 2015

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday

"Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday."

That's the idea that launched #GivingTuesday in 2012. We hoped that we could convince 100 partners to join the experiment; 2,500 partners signed on. This year, more than 12,000 partner organizations in the U.S. and in more than a dozen countries around the world will come together to make December 2, 2014 -- #GivingTuesday -- a day dedicated not only to giving back, but to the power of community.

Community, broadly defined, is, "a group of people with a common background, interest or characteristic." Today's digital world is providing opportunities for new kinds of community to develop. We have been tremendously inspired by the #GivingTuesday community, which -- in its young life -- has brought together a collective generosity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that has the power to effect real change, in ways both large and small:

  • ŸMajor corporations are rallying their resources -- both human and financial -- to support the causes they believe in, providing matching grants and volunteer drives;
  • ŸStates and regions around the country are working together to create coalitions of nonprofit organizations that are working to address challenges from homelessness to education to the environment;
  • ŸFaith organizations are making #GivingTuesday their own, focusing on campaigns that speak to their values and constituencies, and raising funds for causes ranging from humanitarian missions around the world to food pantries and shelters in their own backyards;
  • ŸMembers of the #GivingTuesday community are sharing their expertise and experience in webinars, videos, social media and blog posts so that everyone can benefit from best practices and inspire each other; and
  • ŸCountries and regions around the world are finding ways to make #GivingTuesday meaningful and tap into the kind of generosity and philanthropy that has long been a trademark of the U.S.

At a time when the news from around the world can be disheartening and when the need in our own communities can feel insurmountable, it is more important than ever to rely on each other, to find community and to use the power of community to address our challenges.

In the coming days, in this space, members of the #GivingTuesday community will be sharing their stories, their thoughts on giving, and their plans for #GivingTuesday.

We hope these voices will challenge you to think about causes and community in new ways, and to think about how to engage donors not only to make cash donations, but to become part of your communities and organizations as advocates and change-makers.

For inspiration and information about the movement, visit givingtuesday.org.

Ultimately, the #GivingTuesday message is simple: Give back, and encourage others around you to give back in ways that are meaningful for them.

This post is part of a series produced in celebration of #GivingTuesday, which will take place this year (2014) on December 2. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season. The Huffington Post will feature posts on #GivingTuesday all month in November. To see all the posts in the series, visit here; follow the conversation via #GivingTuesday and learn more here.

And if you'd like to share your own #GivingTuesday story, please send us your 500-850-word post to impactblogs@huffingtonpost.com.