Building a Culture of Contribution on #GivingTuesday

Giving takes place in Baltimore and in cities throughout the country every day, but #GivingTuesday is an inspiring occasion to leverage a national effort in a way that really moves the needle at a local level.

Our mission at GiveCorps is to build an army of givers to power their communities. We're creating a culture of contribution in our beloved hometown of Baltimore, and in the college and university communities we serve. So when we learned about the inaugural #GivingTuesday campaign last year, we were motivated by its mission to generate as much passion for giving during the holiday season as there is for shopping.

In 2012, GiveCorps channelled the energy of #GivingTuesday into our biggest day ever. The funds raised had a real impact on many Baltimore charitable organizations, providing much-needed resources to serve those in need. And we were not alone, across Baltimore, organizations launched #GivingTuesday campaigns. In fact, our colleagues at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore led the country as the biggest #GivingTuesday fundraiser, raising $1 million.

However, this past summer, as the second annual #GivingTuesday effort was on the horizon, our team thought about what we as a city, not just as individual organizations, could accomplish if we all banded together on this one day. We imagined the impact that a collective, massive show of strength could have on Baltimore. We envisioned a giving day where small, lean organizations could amplify their giving under the halo of a city-wide campaign. And how #GivingTuesday provided a unique means to get local nonprofits, organizations and businesses on the same team to rally citizens to donate what they can -- be it time, money or talent.

This idea of joining forces for Baltimore really struck a chord with the GiveCorps team, and while summer vacations and weekend barbeques were still on the minds of many, we were already setting up meetings and forming a coalition of key stakeholders -- including our innovative Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, large nonprofits, colleges and universities and major corporate citizens - to secure participation in this yet-to-be-named, city-wide #GivingTuesday initiative in December.

The concept of this singular colossal effort in Baltimore became a mission for this core group, and the foundation for our #GivingTuesday initiative -- now known as Bmore Gives More -- which aims to raise $5 million on Dec. 3. In addition to our 15 core founding partners, our campaign has more than 150 participating nonprofits, and local businesses have signed on to sponsor matching dollars or donate "thank you" coupons as a reward to donors. In total, there are nearly 200 different organizations donating their time, resources, volunteers and talents to generate awareness of #GivingTuesday -- now and leading up to Dec. 3 -- to help mobilize the city.

While our big goal is monetary, we believe that a culture of contribution is about much more than dollars. Our BMoreGivesMore campaign is also an organized day of volunteering, creative community initiatives, and celebration. A local ice cream maker and granola company are teaming up to create a BMoreGivesMore flavor. A local Crossfit gym is offering a special workout. And Constellation -- one of the largest companies in the city, is sponsoring a day of volunteering. Even though some of these efforts may not contribute to the $5 million goal, they are a huge part of building excitement for the day. Because, while this national effort offers a wonderful platform to raise awareness of the importance of giving back to our communities, it's really a means to celebrate what happens every day in a big way. It's truly growing into a local army of givers.

Our city is one that has great pride and passion for all things "Bawlmer, Hon" -- be it the Ravens, Orioles, our neighborhoods or blue crabs -- and we're rallying that same passion for the "Super Bowl" of giving on Dec. 3. Whatever the results are that day, it's a day when we'll celebrate our collective contributions and hope it inspires other cities to follow suit, as the power of many is greater than the power of one.

That's what we're hoping to accomplish in Baltimore this year.

How is your city planning to celebrate #GivingTuesday?

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in celebration of #GivingTuesday, which will take place this year (2013) on December 3. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season. We'll feature at least one post from a #GivingTuesday partner every weekday in November. To see all the posts in the series, click here; follow the conversation via #GivingTuesday and learn more here.

And if you'd like to share your own #GivingTuesday story, please send us your 500-850-word post to