Giving Tuesday. You know, the flipside of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It’s come and gone, but local nonprofits are still counting on the spirit of giving to help folks struggling in Osceola County this holiday season.

#GivingTuesday is a digital marketing campaign that’s been adopted by organizations locally and around the country since it was created by New York City’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation in 2012.

The movement promotes charity amidst the holiday buying frenzy when the American public shops more than any other time of the year.

Marketing charitable giving with the same fervor as holiday sales has worked, according to Philanthropy News Digest.

An estimated $274 million was raised online in the United States on Giving Tuesday 2017 –  a 50 percent increase over the previous year, the news service reported. The success of the campaign over the past few years seems to highlight a backlash, of sorts, to the consumerism associated with the holidays.

But retail still dominates by comparison. In 2017, sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday were estimated at $7.7 billion and $6.6 billion, respectively.

GivingTuesday.org does not accept or distribute donations itself though it’s inspired a wave of giving to more than 50,000 local, national and international nonprofit organizations worldwide. The site offers a toolkit for groups looking to plan and launch a #GivingTuesday campaign and directs site visitors to a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Facebook and Paypal this year offered $7 million in matching donations to givers that used those platforms. But it’s also worth noting that #GivingTuesday is only a small fraction of the country’s total charitable giving. In 2017, people, corporations and private foundations in the United States gave a combined $410 billion to charity, more than half of which came from individuals.

However, social media platforms, online payment portals and partnerships between retailers and charities geared toward giving are on the rise.

Victim Service Center of Central Florida, which operates a rape crisis facility in Osceola County, is now linked with Amazon Smile, which allows shoppers to designate five percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization of their choice. The online retail giant vets the organizations affiliated with the Amazon Smile program.  

But while encouraging supporters to donate, Victim Service Center is also stepping up programs for domestic violence survivors during the holiday season, when suicides and domestic violence tend to spike and many people experience an increase in stress or loneliness.  

Charitable organizations also are looking for more than money during the holidays. They need genuine smiles, helping hands and warm hearts from volunteers to help carry out their missions year round.

So you may have missed Giving Tuesday, but don’t let the opportunity to give back pass you by this season.

Whether you can make a one-time gift or set up a recurring donation to your favorite charity, don’t hesitate to help others if you can. And if you don’t have money to give, don’t worry. Volunteers are often just as needed and as valuable as donations.