Today is Giving Tuesday. Millions of individuals, communities and organizations around the world are leveraging their social media pages to collectively drive social change through the power of philanthropy.

Founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd Street Y, in partnership with the United Nation’s Foundation, #GivingTuesday started in America as the charitable leg of the holiday spending rush that immediately follows Thanksgiving: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Shop Good Sunday and Cyber Monday. This 24-hour period was created to celebrate and encourage consumers’ small acts of kindness, donating their time, talents and financial resources to support causes in their own communities. The grassroots movement has since grown into a global phenomenon that unites countries through our capacity to care for and help others.

Using #GivingTuesday, individuals, nonprofits, civic organizations and corporations turn to their personal and professional social media accounts to raise awareness and funds for charitable missions close to their hearts. The first Giving Tuesday took place in America on Nov. 27, 2012 and generated $10.1 million in donations through Blackbaud, one of the only online fundraising tools at the time. Last year, Forbes reported people and businesses from 98 countries and territories participated in Giving Tuesday, generating $168 million in donations and thousands of pledged volunteer hours. Facebook was the primary social media platform used. The average gift was approximately $100.

#GivingTuesday has achieved widespread international success because it provides a giving model that is both flexible and accessible. Donors can choose what causes or organizations they support as well as what communication channels they use to promote their participation. Financial contributions can be made through a number of online fundraising platforms and mobile apps, meaning fundraising can happen anywhere, anytime by anyone. And, the way #GivingTuesday is positioned as a day to kick-off the holiday gift giving season ties into the growing consumer demand for products that make a positive impact in the world.

According to a survey conducted by eBay, more than 50 percent of Americans and 67 percent of millennials said they are more apt to purchase a gift from a company that contributes to charity than one that does not.  Roughly 33 percent of charitable giving happens between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 each year. USA Today lists the top five causes that households financially support: politics, health, religion, children and environmental wildlife.

This giving season, consider donating to one of Teak’s nonprofit clients:

Get into the charitable spirit with Teak’s craft vodka partner: Salute American Vodka. The first dollar of every bottle sold is donated to organizations that support veterans and other American heroes. For holiday cocktail recipe ideas or to find a retailer that carries Salute American Vodka near you, visit: www.saluteamerican.com. Always drink responsibly.

See you online!