Move over, Black Friday and Cyber Monday—GivingTuesday is almost here.
Launched in the U.S. in 2012, GivingTuesday is a relatively new but growing annual global movement that aims to encourage individuals to give back and support local charities on December 1. The day is dedicated to charitable giving and volunteering and was first celebrated in Canada in 2013.
After the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, individuals have the chance to take part in a day dedicated to charitable giving and volunteering within the community.
While GivingTuesday is a global movement, MississaugaGives is a local adaptation of the movement—specifically, it is a communications campaign that focuses on Mississauga. The campaign was inspired by GuelphGives, which was launched last year.
“We’re promoting GivingTuesday mostly by social media,” says Lauren Walsh, the vice-chair of the campaign and a recent UTM graduate who majored in CCIT and professional writing.
“MississaugaGives does not touch a penny of the money. We’re not a registered charity—we’re more of a communications campaign that is getting awareness out there to Mississauga residents about the charities where they can donate money, actual physical clothing,” she says.
Currently, MississaugaGives has partnered with 35 Canadian charities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel, the Canadian Cancer Society, and United Way Peel. According to Nicole Danesi, the founder of MississaugaGives and a fifth-year CCIT and environmental management major, the movement has “approximately 15 businesses participating and at least three schools”.
“The charities that we work with have to be in the City of Mississauga region and they have to be directly benefiting the city of Mississauga,” explains Walsh. “Essentially, we are trying to spread awareness of all these charities.”
Before joining MississaugaGives, Walsh was not aware of the fact that there were around 200 charities present in the city. “There’s so much work—charitable work—that’s done in the city that people just don’t know about,” she says. “[People] know about the big ones, but they don’t know about all of them. That’s where we come in. By designating this one day, we’re able to really spread awareness, and have charities be in a spotlight for a day so people get awareness about what’s out there.”
Mississauga residents can head to the team’s website to read up on the causes and charities and find one that they identify with.
“[They can] donate however little or much they want. It’s not a certain amount,” says Walsh. “If they don’t want to donate money […] they can donate time and go sign up for one of these charities, or donate old clothing to one of the clothing drives. There’s more than one option—it’s not cash only.”
Danesi started the initiative after hearing about GuelphGives.
Walsh had no idea about what Danesi was planning—she first learned about the campaign during her CCIT Community and Practice course during the winter 2015 semester.
“We had to come up with a campaign related to social movement and that was a final project that we had to do in the class. So Nicole approached me because I knew her from first year,” Walsh said.
Danesi continued recruiting students or recent graduates in Mississauga to join the team. In fact, the entire MississaugaGives campaign is headed by a team of 14, where nine members are currently attending, or have recently graduated, from U of T.
Walsh adds that “quite a few” members of the team are currently, or were in the past, part of the CCIT program. “The reason that’s significant is because we have used our skills that we have learned through that program […] to promote and essentially run this campaign,” she says.
“Ideally, we would love to be able to have each and every Mississauga resident donate $1 on GivingTuesday,” says Danesi. “That would equal to more than $757,000! We are also hoping to collect hair donations, food donations, clothing donations, toy donations, etc.”
For Walsh, the most rewarding aspect of being involved with the campaign is being able to make a difference. “I feel like there’s so much talk about how we’re the entitled generation and all this crap, and I think that it’s really nice that since young people feel like they don’t have much power, being able to use the skills that they’ve learned to do something good in their spare time,” says Walsh. “I think especially with social media and the power of social media […] that for us to be able to use it for a good cause—that’s a really rewarding aspect of what we’re doing and why we’re doing this.
“It’s not just money,” says Walsh. “It’s any form of giving that we’re promoting.”
Disclosure: Nicole Danesi is The Medium’s news editor.