The concept of “Giving Tuesday” debuted five years ago, and in that short time it has snowballed into the biggest online giving day of the year.

Held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it is a day when the public is encouraged to take time to make a donation to a charity.

Conceived as a philanthropic answer to the commercialism that many say surrounds Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it has evolved into a global day of giving.

The Giving Tuesday Web site explains how a New York City cultural organization nurtured the idea into a movement, fueled by the power of social media.

Local agencies that are taking advantage of Giving Tuesday to launch fundraising campaigns include:

  • Thanks to a matching grant from Medical Mutual, all gifts to United Way of Greater Cleveland made on Nov. 29 will be matched dollar for dollar. Go to http://www.givingtuesdaycle.org to make an online donation.
  • The Diocese of Cleveland will host its first-ever crowdfunding event on Giving Tuesday. During this 24-hour window, people can visit www.wegiveCatholic.org and donate to their favorite participating Catholic organizations, which include local schools, parishes, ministries, Catholic Charities sites and programs.
  • ·Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village will use the social media hashtag #TailsofGivingTuesday to share stories of rescued animals and ask for contributions to help support its work.
  • An anonymous donor has agreed to match all donations, up to $10,000, that are made to Lake Humane Society on or before Giving Tuesday. Donations can be made at https://www.firstgiving.com/LakeHumaneSociety/givingtuesday
  • For Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to promote the proven success of its work to match at-risk youth with positive adult role models. Donations can be made at http://www.wementoryouth.org/site/c.ckIXJdNNKlLaG/b.7981529/k.C9F4/Be_a_part_of_brsomething_big.htm
  • On Giving Tuesday, any membership payment made to Literary Cleveland, an organization linking Northeast Ohio writers and readers, will garner an extra $20 donation for the organization. To register, go to http://www.litcleveland.org/support.html