What is an unselfie?

Local Area Community Funds promote unselfies on #Giving Tuesday

Somehow the idea of “giving” gets lost during the “season of giving.” With all the focus on spending and buying, giving to those in need seems to have been buried under a pile of boxes, wrapping paper and discount-TV scrums.

But social media may be coming to the rescue. ‘The Unselfie Movement,’ a campaign in which people take pictures of themselves and their favorite charitable cause, is spreading like wildfire around the Web.

It might be reaching a new peak, dubbed “#Giving Tuesday,” with the intent of setting aside a day devoted to (unselfishly) giving to charity. More than 8,000 organizations in the U.S. have signed up as partners, from charities to businesses to small towns to cities.

The idea for the “unselfie” was hatched by Matthew Bishop, a philanthropy expert, co-author of “Philanthrocapitalism” and one of the creators of #Giving Tuesday.

"To mark this #GivingTuesday, anyone who wants to celebrate the powerful positive role that giving plays in our world is being asked to share their own “unselfie” on their favorite social media sites and by email," Bishop wrote in an influencer post on LinkedIn.

It seems to be working. There are multiple unselfie Instagram pages, countless #unselfie tweets on Twitter and loads of unselfies on Facebook and other social-media sites. Even celebrities like Heidi Klum and Katie Couric have unselfied.

Last year, during #Giving Tuesday, five Area Community Funds promoted unselfies. This year, they are doing it again. One way to join in is to attend your local Area Community Fund #Giving Tuesday event on November 27. There will be refreshments – coffee and conversation - with local Fund Advisory Committee members and unselfie sheets to quickly fill out. They can even help you post your unselfie right to your Facebook page.

To take an unselfie, all you need to do is write on a piece of paper the cause you're supporting on #GivingTuesday. People then hold the piece of paper in front of their face and snap an unselfie.

"The unselfie is emphatically not about showing off or advertising how virtuous you are. It is "a way of saying, this cause is important to me—and seeing that, people may be inspired to look more deeply into the causes you support, or to think about, and hopefully unselfie the causes that matter to them." - By CNBC's Robert Frank, Published 6:12 PM ET Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Notice this quote by Frank, was written back in 2013. 2013! That was five years ago.

Sarah Copeland, the Foundation’s Director of Grants and Programs says, “There are several reasons why this is interesting. First, being charitable and unselfish is great. Think of all good we could do in our community if everyone charitably participated. Is that the most interesting thing? Certainly not! People in the Greater Itasca Area are unbelievably charitable.”

If you want to print out an unselfie sheet at home, simply go to the Community Funds page of the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation’s website and click on the Unselfie tab on the menu. You can also go directly to this website address: https://www.gracf.org/unselfie.

Last year, numerous neighbors stopped by American Bank in Nashwauk on #Giving Tuesday and created unselfies. Many people supported their Area Community Fund through a memorial gift or an honorarium. (An honorarium is like a memorial, but provides a gift in honor of someone who is living.) The Nashwauk Area Community Fund is a great example of Community Giving to Community through honorariums.

The Nashwauk Area Community Fund has grown over the years in part through honorariums. Hundreds of small birthday and anniversary gifts, sometimes $10 or $25 dollars, in honor of aunts, uncles or parents, have grown the Nashwauk Area Community Fund. In the next few weeks, the Fund will be giving back over $20,000 to the Nashwauk Area because of community support.

During Giving Tuesday, look for the event in your community. The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, thanks to a Blandin Foundation grant, will double your donation to your Area Community Fund. “Be on the lookout. November 27 is fast approaching,” concludes Copeland.

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