Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Cyber Monday . . . The beginning of the year-end holiday season seems to be forever tied to a frenetic shopping spree for gifts. But in recent years, attention seems to be growing for a special day set aside from rampant consumerism and focus instead on something more altruistic: charitable donations.

Giving Tuesday this year will take place on Dec. 3. Started eight years ago by the New York 92nd Street Y, Giving Tuesday was conceived as a way "to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season."

And since its founding, Giving Tuesday has inspired charitable giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in communities. 

Whether or not you donate, you can spread the word about Giving Tuesday via social media, including Twitter (using #GivingTuesday).

And before you make any type of charitable contribution, make sure your donation counts.

Go to 
Consumer Reports' 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.