(NEXSTAR) – ‘Tis the season to be good, especially on Giving Tuesday. Celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and in conjunction with national holiday sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday takes a step back, asking communities to give to others instead of shopping for themselves.
GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement.
Whether it’s making someone smile, helping out a neighbor, or giving some of what we have to those in need, everyone has something to give. There are nearly 70,000 organizations represented on the national list this year, with 2,577 in Virginia alone. You can find one near you on this page, by typing the name of your city.
The Power of Giving
The United Way has made it easy to donate online, with options to support United Way Worldwide, a U.S. community or a global community in need.
Check Your Charity
Despite the wholesome nature of Giving Tuesday, there are scammers who will try to take advantage of the public’s willingness to do good. To protect yourself, you can double-check to see how a group stacks up and where your money will go by using rating sites, like CharityWatch.org, CharityNavigator.org or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. These sites assess criteria such as how transparent a nonprofit is about its finances and how much of its budget goes toward programs.
In addition, don’t click on a link or open an attachment in an email or texted charitable pitch, even if it appears to be genuine. Also, never wire money or send cash. Use a credit card instead, which offers more protection against scammers.