The days after Thanksgiving are mostly dedicated to shopping. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have become the most important days of the year for many retailers.

But a new trend now follows our massive shopping weekend – Giving Tuesday. What started as a social media campaign to encourage charitable giving has grown into a global event in which millions give to their favorite causes or organizations.

Exactly how effective is Giving Tuesday? In 2017, around $300 million was donated online to charitable organizations, and those are just the donations we know about. Giving in the United States last year, including Giving Tuesday, totaled $410 billion!

This year, donations on Giving Tuesday have increased. GivingTuesday.org reports that over $380 million was donated this week. The average size of a donation was $105! Just goes to show that Americans are ready and willing to help each other out.

But giving isn’t just limited to donations on Giving Tuesday. Many spend this time of year engaging with their communities through acts of service. For some that means cooking for those in need or donating clothing. For others it’s volunteering with a local church or giving time to a charitable organization. Giving your time and seeing how your work benefits others is both helpful and rewarding.

With the time and money donated during the holidays, many organizations are able to change lives. Showing compassion and helping others is a great way to get in the holiday spirit and connect with the community around you!