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Why Britain Should Embrace the #GivingTuesday Movement on 2 December

13/11/2014 10:33 GMT | Updated 12/01/2015 10:59 GMT

When a collection of charities in New York had the idea of launching a day of giving at the start of the festive shopping season a couple of years ago, it looked like an idea that would play brilliantly on some uniquely American traditions, but no more.

Today, thanks to the amazing power of the web to bring people together, the simple idea of a day to give your time, money or your voice for a cause you care about - a contrast to the start of the festive spending spree - has spread across the globe.

What started out aiming to bring 50 organisations together, now has more than 13,000 partners around the world - in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Latin America, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand and now in the UK. Here, more than 500 charities and businesses are joining this global movement this year - a movement which on December 3 2013 reached 2 billion people on Twitter, trended for 10 hours straight and caused a measureable spike in donations to charities in the US.

Last December we witnessed British retailers starting to join the Americans in pushing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales - giving people good deals and a pre-Christmas bargain. John Lewis, Debenhams and Asda all did deals. Amazon broke their day record sales on Cyber Monday, selling more than 4 million items in just one day. Suddenly, a day to give back after these days of consumerism makes perfect sense.

#Giving Tuesday is a fantastically simple concept, which goes to the heart of the generous nature of people both in the UK and in many countries around the world. It is not a simple appeal for money, nor a day to do one thing and forget it for the rest of the year. It is an opportunity to bring communities together and do something different to celebrate and put a huge global spotlight on giving and thinking of others.

Just do one thing for a good cause. Whether that is talking to your friends and family about something you have close to your heart, making a commitment to support a charity regularly, pledging to volunteer a bit of time or going on Twitter, Facebook - or here on the Huffington Post - to talk about ways we can all help to create positive change.

When respected organisations like BT, Facebook, PWC, Cancer Research UK, the NSPCC, Water Aid, Alzheimer's Research UK, the RSPCA and many more come together with smaller local charities to make a difference, you can see the power of this idea.

People are coming together on social media, encouraging volunteering among staff, providing match funding or simply talking about their favourite causes. Organisations are being brilliantly creative with the concept and using the day and the movement to meet their own aims. So we have tiny local groups and big businesses connecting to create online and offline campaigns, like the Lothian Autistic Society's Treasure Hunt in Edinburgh and BT's offer for partners to auction seats at the Dining Club at the Top of BT Tower to raise money for great causes.

Britain is undoubtedly one of the most generous countries on earth. CAF's World Giving Index, the only international study of it's kind, consistently ranks this country as among the ten most generous in the world. Studies on giving show the amazing ability of the British people to keep on supporting charitable causes through good times and bad with their time and goodwill as well as their money. The will to help others, to support family and friends, to raise money and have a bit of fun, is everywhere to see.

Should we celebrate that legacy? Of course. Should we try new ways to bring people together and do more? Absolutely.

This December 2nd, think about making a small commitment to give your time, your voice, or even your money to give a little back.

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