Today is hashtag #GivingTuesday, a day when the act of charity transforms into an act of #viral #marketing for #brands. Reject it!

Do not reject giving. Giving is good. Give this Tuesday, give next Tuesday, give every Tuesday. There is nothing at all wrong with giving to charity. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with encouraging others to give to charity. You want to start a campaign to encourage people to give a lot of money to charity on a certain day? Great! Go for it. We already have these on #Thanksgiving and #Christmas, but a few more can't hurt.

The problem with #GivingTuesday is neither the giving, nor the encouragement to give. It is the cynical process of turning charity into a direct PR-for-dollars scheme. Just for example...

RT our hashtag! RT our brand name! Give us that valuable social media viral advertising that we so crave, and we shall deign to donate a token sum to a charity on this day! Gaze in admiration at our skill for leveraging an ostensibly good cause for our own corporate ends!

Not to come off as "too radical," but here is a wacky idea: If you want to give money to charity, just give money to charity. Give money to charity because it is a good thing to give money to charity. Do not make the amount of your charity donation dependent upon the number of RTs you get. Do not make your charity donation purely with the motive of bringing fame to your brand name, and consequently driving sales, putting money into your own pocket. Charity is not a business investment in your marketing budget. Charity is charity. Corporate America's #GivingTuesday programs are tantamount to saying: "We love to support sick kids—to the extent that we are directly rewarded with advertising value for every dollar we give. If we don't get much attention, though, the sick kids can go ahead and die. We're not giving much." Corporate America is sick.

Matthew 6: "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them... So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men."

If you would like to give to charity today, you can find well-vetted lists of effective charities here and here.


[Pic via The Life You Can Save]