While Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off holiday shopping, #GivingTuesday helps welcome in the charitable side of the season.
Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday is meant to be a day of giving fueled by social media and worldwide collaboration.
In 2016 #GivingTuesday sparked $168 million in charitable donations worldwide, topping the previous year's tally by 44%.
This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28th and joining the movement could not be easier.
The Queen City is also heavily involved in #GivingTuesday. Around 230 non-profit organizations locally are particiating in the 2017 campaign. Click here for the full list.
Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are partnering once again to support nonprofits nationwide. The two groups will be matching up to $2 million of funds raised on Facebook for US nonprofits. Facebook is also waiving its fees for donations made on #GivingTuesday.
The match for donations on Facebook will begin at 8 a.m. Eastern and continue until the $2 million runs out. The match includes a cap of up to $50,000 per nonprofit to encourage people to support a range of causes, according to Facebook.
Be sure to help spread the word on November 28 by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday across social media.
And while giving is important, you should make sure your donations are going to reputable organizations. New York's attorney general offered five giving tips.
Research the charity you want to donate to
While there are many worthy causes and charities that a person can donate to, it is important that you know where your money is going.
First, double-check that the organization that is receiving your gift is not a scam or a fake.
Legitimate groups and organizations will be able to send you more information about their mission and tell you what your donation will be going toward, and if your donation is tax deductible.
You can use websites like charitiesnys.com to see if the organization is registered with New York.
Don’t donate cash
Cash can be easily lost, pocketed and spent before it gets to where you would like your donation to go.
Using a check that is written out and sent directly to the charity can help to make sure it gets there.
Don’t feel pressured by phone calls
Telemarketing-style phone calls can make you feel pressured to give money to an organization you might not have ever heard of.
You can always take down the caller’s information and then decide later on if you would like to donate to them.
If you feel like you are receiving numerous phone calls asking you for money, you can ask to be put on a no-call list.
You should be especially careful if giving a donation online or via text message.
Make sure any website you are donating on has the “http” in the address to help keep your credit card information secure.
Checking to make sure you are donating to a charity's official website can help to keep your identity safe. Donations also can take longer to process and be received when given via text message.
Don’t give your personal information
Never give out your Social Security number, birth date or other confidential information when giving a donation.
Do not give your credit card number out while on the phone unless you are certain that you are speaking with someone who is actually from the charity that you want to donate to.
The USA TODAY Network contributed to this report.
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