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Forget Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday embodies Utah's charitable spirit

Forget Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday embodies Utah's charitable spirit

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SALT LAKE CITY — Most of us have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what about Giving Tuesday? If you haven't participated before, 2017 is a great time to get involved.

Giving Tuesday, which falls on November 28 this year, is a global movement that was founded in 2012 to celebrate and encourage 24 hours of charitable giving around the world. Diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations join together to raise funds for the causes that matter to them the most.

In the U.S., after the shopping hysteria of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season by encouraging donations to nonprofit charitable organizations doing important work, especially on the local level. In 2016, thousands of people in 98 nations donated $1.6 million on Giving Tuesday, which was a 44 percent increase from the year before. The average gift added was up to $108 per person. Let's do our part and keep the momentum going in 2017!

The nonprofit sector is a significant contributor to the Utah economy, employing 63,000 people (over 6.7 percent of the state’s workforce) and generating over $12.14 billion in annual revenues. While Utah has been consistently ranked the number one for both the highest volunteer rate and the highest percentage of donated income year after year, Utah actually ranks at the bottom of the list in the number of charitable organizations per capita, at No. 49. This means our overall impact has been limited to only a handful of organizations and causes.

In 2013, Utahns gave over $3.3 million to charitable non-profit organizations, about $2,722 per household, representing 4.7 percent of household income, compared to the national average of $1,339, representing 2.2 percent of household income.

Giving Tuesday is the perfect opportunity for Utahns to uphold our reputation as a leader in charity and service by making a concerted effort to donate to the small- and medium-sized charitable nonprofit organizations that are doing impactful work in the state, but often get overlooked.

Here are a few examples:

  • Women of the World empowers refugee women living in Utah to achieve independence, economic success and a voice in the community by providing customized service, practical English and economic empowerment programs.
  • Slow Food Utah is part of the global Slow Food movement in over 160 countries, and one of 150 local chapters in the US, inspiring individuals and communities to create and strengthen local food economies that produce good, clean and fair food for all.
  • Adopt a Native Elder supports the traditional Elders who live in remote portions of the Dine' (Navajo) reservation, providing food, simple medicines, clothing, fabric and yarns to help them live on the land in their traditional lifestyle.

As individuals, we have a huge capacity to make a positive impact where we live. Individual donors made up 72 percent of all charitable giving in the United States in 2016. Utahns alone donated an average of $1.14 million in just 24 hours during the Community Foundation of Utah's annual day of giving "Love Utah Give Utah,” benefitting an average of 448 Utah nonprofits and schools per year.

There are all kinds of ways to be a part of the global movement for generosity and increase the overall impact of local nonprofits in 2018. You can donate to your favorite causes, spread the word on social media and commit to fundraising a certain amount on behalf of your favorite nonprofit.

Since over one-third of overall charitable giving happens in the last three months of the year, Giving Tuesday is one of the most impactful times you can choose to give. Find organizations you are passionate about, give generously, and invite friends and family to do the same. Help Utah boost our reputation as the most charitable state in the nation!

Krystal Rogers-Nelson is a Utah native writer and mother of one rambunctious toddler (with a second one on the way). She can be contacted at

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