Giving Tuesday Should Come Before Thanksgiving

Giving Tuesday Should Come Before Thanksgiving

The Nonprofiteer has been ambivalent about Giving Tuesday, the phenomenon which designates today as the day for charitable giving. The press releases she's received on the subject are overwhelmingly of the "If you buy X on Tuesday it will benefit Y" variety, and thus one more example of commerce's highjacking charity. The Nonprofiteer isn't all that enthused about the "buy X" ethos, but she's finally figured out that her personal sulky judgments don't much influence the way others celebrate the holidays, or give to charity; so instead she offers the following modest proposal:

Schedule Giving Tuesday before Thanksgiving instead of after.

Before Thanksgiving, everyone's in the mood to think about things they should be thankful for: the perfect mood from which to give generously.

Before Thanksgiving, most people are at home in their regular lives and regular schedules, not packing or unpacking or sitting in airport lounges fretting.

Before Thanksgiving, people have eaten normally instead of excessively and therefore will find it easier to believe that other people don't have enough. There's nothing like a full stomach to eradicate thoughts of others' hunger.

Before Thanksgiving, no one has spent every single dime s/he has to spare on 67-inch tv sets, Barbie dolls that reproduce, or vulgar underwear. There's nothing like going into debt to make one feel unable to share.

So this year---that is, today---knock yourself out with Giving Tuesday: worthy agencies from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago to the Chicago Foundation for Women to the ACLU are participating, and you don't have to buy anything you don't need: just show them the [charitable] money.

But next year, will the powers that be who created this quasi-holiday please consider scheduling it before, and not after, Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Football-Wagering Sunday and Cyber Monday? That would make a good idea great.


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    The Nonprofiteer is Kelly Kleiman, principal of NFP Consulting, which provides Board development, strategic planning and fund-raising services to charities and philanthropies. Through her consulting practice and in her guise as The Nonprofiteer, Kelly has spent the past 25-plus years helping small and mid-sized nonprofits organize themselves better and raise more money. These days she focuses especially on helping them use high-skill volunteers. Kelly is also a lawyer and freelance journalist whose reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Chicago Philanthropy; in the alternative press; on websites including the Huffington Post; and on the radio, including the BBC and WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She and her fellow "Dueling Critic" Jonathan Abarbanel present a weekly podcast of their reviews of Chicago theater at Earlier in her career she was dean of admissions of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and Executive Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and practiced real estate and zoning law with the firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Kelly holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. She was a founding Board member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits and also served for 5 years on the Board of the Association for Women Journalists–Chicago. She can be reached ("Dear Nonprofiteer . . .") at

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