Us Americans are an odd bunch. On the last Thursday of November, we gather with friends and family to celebrate what we have. Then, not hours later, we mow down anyone between us and that incredible deal for a vacuum cleaner, because, Black Friday! The next day, we look to our community and encourage support of local entrepreneurs for #SmallBusinessSaturday. Ironically, this event is backed by one of the largest credit card companies, American Express. Then we take a day off. Because everyone needs to rest sometime.

On Cyber Monday, we’re at it again, but too tired to actually get up. So this deal rush is done with our nimble fingers upon phones, tablets, and computers (you still have one of those archaic things?).

By this point, everyone is broke. Or, you will be when that credit card statement arrives. Have you even started your holiday gift searching?

Finally, after this binge of spending has finished, we remember our non-profits. Today is #GivingTuesday. The day where every non-profit you’ve ever been involved with contacts you with a touching story. With just a small donation, you can make a world of difference! Every one is deserving of the contribution. From my alma mater to local charities, I am touched by each of their successes, plans, and goals.

But do we really care about these causes, or is it all a massive, self-induced, guilt trip? Have our days of unrestricted spending taken their toll? Instead of #GivingTuesday, would it be more appropriate to call it #FeelGoodTuesday?

If people cared as much as we hoped, Black Friday would be dedicated to volunteer efforts, not shopping madness. Small Business Saturday would seek to connect local for-profits with community charities. You’re not only enjoying an amazing pastry, you’re helping kids with developmental challenges. Cyber Monday…yeah, you’d be at work shopping online. A recent article claimed 40% of employees admit to spending more than an hour doing just that in December. I guess the other 60% won’t admit it. Since it’s doubtful you can stop it…just don’t neglect your responsibilities!

How do credit unions fit in amongst all this holiday craziness? Your credit union is a fellow non-profit, with the power to connect individuals, for-profits, and other charities. Engage your charitable giving team, your marketing staff, and members to revolutionize how we think of #GivingTuesday (and donations in general)! Instead of focusing on the same day as everyone else (today), connect your efforts to the spirit of the holidays, even before Thanksgiving! A number of people vow to spend nothing on Black Friday; these are the exact individuals who can be the springboard for a new giving initiative!

Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to promote something other than the best rates in town?