Consider taking part in Giving Tuesday today

We’ve had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, aimed at stimulating holiday shopping.

Now comes a different day making a pitch to part you from your money. But this gift is not for family, or even yourself. In fact, you might never know exactly who benefited from your participation in #Giving Tuesday.

That doesn’t mean it won’t make you feel good to give.

Giving Tuesday — the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving — has blossomed since it started in 2012, reportedly drawing $168 million last year in electronic donations. Keep in mind, too, that may not reflect all that was pledged that day — experts estimate 90 percent of contributions still are made by check.

Predictions are this year’s drive today will top $200 million.

Like the two major shopping days before it, #GivingTuesday offers some definite good reasons — beyond the simple thought of helping some charity or cause achieve their goals — for participating during the event.

A number of organizations, such as American Red Cross, have arrangements that will match at least a percentage of what is donated.

Facebook has waived its fees for donations made to U.S. nonprofits through Facebook, plus it and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are matching up to $2 million of funds raised for the day.

You can go international — all of the recommendations at are outside the U.S., due to the level of help that can be achieved for every dollar, such as combating malaria with $5 mosquito nets. Many more than worthy groups can be found in the U.S. as well.

Or perhaps you’d like to keep the money right in the community, such as assisting the Northern Lights YMCA-Dickinson Center expansion or the major venue upgrades needed to keep the annual Giant Pine Mountain Ski Jumping competition viable in Iron Mountain.

A little advice for #GivingTuesday and any other day you choose to donate: do a little research on how the money is used and how much goes to the cause rather than management, stay away from businesses trying to tap into the trend as a marketing tool, beware of scammers and be certain the site you use is legitimate and secure.

Otherwise, Giving Tuesday is a great excuse to join a growing global movement and help some great causes. Keep in mind as well that giving can happen any day, not just today.