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Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh Joins International Giving Tuesday Campaign

Giving-Tuesday-PicsBY Heather Ditmars

As we enter the holiday season, many of us start to plan our vacations and compile gift lists. For many people, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year and it is difficult to find the time to give back. Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh has the solution- a social media campaign by the name of Giving Tuesday that allows participants to donate online in a fun and easy way.

Giving Tuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving at the beginning of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. Taking place December 2, 2014 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national movement around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping. The biggest catalyst for this campaign is social media. In order to create interest throughout social media, Giving Tuesday organizers encourage social media users to take an “unselfie,” that is, a photo of yourself with the message of what you’re giving. Last year, there was a huge engagement- a total of two billion unselfies were shared.

Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh is joining the Giving Tuesday campaign for the first time this year. It is the only organization in Oshkosh to do so. To become involved in the campaign, Habitat asks social media users to post an unselfie with the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #HFHO (Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh) on Facebook or Twitter. Participants are welcome to donate whatever they can, whether it be funds or volunteer hours. Jay Barrientes, our Resource Development Coordinator of Habitat expressed his enthusiasm about the campaign: “Habitat has always believed in providing a hand up and not a hand out and GivingTuesday is a fun way that anyone, at any age and of any lifestyle can reach out their hand to someone else in need and give them that hand up.”

Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh, Inc. (HFHO) is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. HFHO serves families in the Greater Oshkosh area. HFHO’s mission is to build simple, decent, affordable housing for low-income families. We built our first home in 1990 and since then have built 28 homes in the Oshkosh Area for families in need. In addition, we have also helped build homes internationally through our tithe program with Kyrgyzstan, Haiti, and Myanmar. Habitat plans on using funds and volunteer hours projected from the Giving Tuesday campaign to increase the impact and capacity of its mission by funding the final home of the year at 1635 Algoma Boulevard and to kick-start projects for the 2015 build year.

Noticing the need for a large-scale giving campaign during the holiday season, a group of friends and coworkers led by the 92nd Street Y (92Y), united to find a way to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Leaders in philanthropy, social media, and grassroots organizations joined with 92Y to brainstorm the most relevant way to give back in our modern world. The idea gained ammunition, and with the help of the United Nations Foundation and other founding partners, more than 10,000 organizations have joined the campaign and are collaborating with each other as partners and social media ambassadors to help make each year more and more of a success.“It’s been a privilege to work with remarkable leaders all over the country building a movement around #GivingTuesday,” said Henry Timms, 92Y’s Executive Director. “This initiative has truly been crowd-sourced by some of the smartest and most connected minds among the next generation of philanthropists and entrepreneurs.”

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”
To learn more about the HFHO Giving Tuesday campaign, please call (920) 235-3535 or email hditmars@habitatoshkosh.org. If you’re interested in learning more about the international Giving Tuesday movement, please visit www.givingtuesday.org.

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