Giving Tuesday: What Is It... and How To Celebrate

Giving Tuesday logo on a colorful background

Most of us know the last part of the year as a time of giving. Whether that comes in the form of thoughtful gifts for your loved ones, opportunities to volunteer your time within your community, annual charitable donations, or even just a tin of cookies shared among friends — ‘tis the season.

This all culminates in Giving Tuesday, when nonprofits across the country (and across the world) rely on the generosity of donors and volunteers to fuel end-of-the-year initiatives. 

And it makes a difference.

What is Giving Tuesday?

The biggest day of giving every year, Giving Tuesday is a celebration of radical generosity, which is the concept that “the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering,” according to the official Giving Tuesday website

In 2021, Giving Tuesday donations totaled a record $2.7 billion in the United States alone. Additionally, there were an estimated 35 million people who participated by giving, volunteering, or donating in some other way than a monetary donation (a 6% increase from 2020!).

Radical generosity invites people to give what they can to create systemic change and reminds us that we each can drive an enormous amount of positive change by using our time, skills, goods, and advocacy to help others. 

This year, Giving Tuesday falls on November 28, 2023. Whether you’ve been saving your spare change for this moment all year, or you’re new to Giving Tuesday, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can celebrate this annual tradition of altruism. 

The Best Ideas on How To Celebrate Giving Tuesday

Donate

Give to a nonprofit serving your community.

We can all probably rattle off the names of some of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations pretty easily. While these groups do incredible, large-scale work, it’s vital to remember that your small, local nonprofits always need your support.

Think about the charity that provides school supplies to low-income students in your area, or the local fundraising collective that provides grants to Black women-owned startups. Your dollars are sure to go a long way when a small organization needs necessary resources to keep the lights on. 

Find a local group that is actively doing work within your community to channel your funds this year. You’ll be amazed by the difference you can make — and how quickly you’ll be able to see that difference manifest for your very own neighbors. 

Give to an organization protecting our planet.

It can be overwhelming to pick one cause that is near and dear to your heart for Giving Tuesday. If you’re passionate about protecting the planet, here are a few great options to consider donating to this year.

Check out:

Give to an organization helping refugees and migrants.

This was a difficult year for refugees and migrants all across the globe. Help folks displaced by war and crisis land on their feet and find the resources to heal and thrive. 

Check out:

Give to an organization that protects animals.

Whether you’re passionate about wildlife conservation or giving furry friends a loving home outside of a shelter, there are plenty of worthy organizations that would appreciate your support.

Check out:

Give to an organization strengthening global health.

In the last few years, global health has become an even more prevalent cause than ever before. Do your part to support the work of doctors, researchers, and communities most affected by global health crises.

Check out:

Give to an organization fueling racial justice movements.

Racial injustice pervades every aspect of American life. Help reconcile and rebuild the systems that oppress our BIPOC neighbors. 

Check out:

Give to an organization that protects LGBTQ+ youth.

In America, LGBTQ+ youth experience extreme levels of bullying, harassment, and social isolation, as well as an increased risk of homelessness. Help support the mental health and safety of LGBTQ+ youth this Giving Tuesday.

Check out:

Give to a mutual aid fund.

Mutual aid is one of the oldest and most effective ways to distribute support in a community. Most mutual aid groups are led by organizers and activists and don’t have the traditional hierarchical structures of nonprofits or for-profit organizations. 

By supporting a mutual aid fund (say, a group that provides funds to trans folks seeking gender-affirming care, or an organization that feeds neighbors experiencing food insecurity), your money goes directly back to your own community neighbors in need — and not to someone’s salary. 

Learn more about mutual aid and find a group to support in your area. 

Give to activists and educators.

Think about your favorite activists who use their online platforms to educate folks, or the organizers in your community who are always on the front lines of a protest or distribution sites. 

The work they do is invaluable — but often unpaid. Consider sending them some direct financial support through apps like Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App. Some well-known activists might also have virtual tip jars or donation sites to help fund their work. 

Give to matching funds.

During Giving Tuesday, you'll likely see some nonprofits talk about matching funds. This usually means that a large donor has offered to match every donation that comes in dollar for dollar. That means that your $10 donation automatically unlocks a another $10 donation — essentially turning your donation into a $20 donation. 

Jump at the opportunity to support this kind of fundraiser because it helps bring in a lot of financial support for nonprofits in a short period of time — and it encourages large donors to continue offering more matching funds in the future.

Similarly, you can ask if your employer offers matching funds for employee donations — which will help unlock even more money for your favorite nonprofits.

Give to “non-sexy” expenses.

You know what a lot of nonprofits might need that you don’t consider when making a donation? Printer ink. Toilet paper. Pens. 

The non-sexy expenses of an organization are necessary things that don’t always get the glitz and glam of ribbon-cutting ceremonies or giant check presentations — but are nonetheless vital to the operation of an organization.

Some groups might have a digital wishlist where you can help purchase necessary supplies, or you can donate items directly to a cause. 

Learn more about this idea in our Instagram post

Consider a recurring donation.

Instead of trying to make a last-minute decision about where to spend your philanthropic dollars each month, consider setting up a recurring donation to a cause near and dear to your heart.

Even if it’s just $5 a month, a recurring donation tells an organization that there is ongoing support backing its mission — and it makes your life a little more convenient! 

Just like you might have auto-pay set up on your streaming services or bill payments, if you have the means to spread the love, a recurring donation can be easily added to your monthly budget. 

Take Action

Post on social media about your favorite cause or organization.

A tweet-sized message can fly a long way. Use your social media profiles for good! Even if you don’t have a huge following, your audience is probably like-minded and also cares about making the world a better place.

Share about a cause you’re supporting on Giving Tuesday and encourage others to do the same. Many nonprofits might have shareable social media graphics you can use to spread the word, too. It also makes an impact if you’re comfortable sharing why you care about this cause or how it has impacted your life. 

On some social media platforms, you can even create your own community fundraisers right from your profile!

Throw in a quote about giving back while you're at it.

Give the world more hope. 

At Good Good Good, we’re pretty keen on the idea that hope mobilizes people to do more good. We all like to have proof that we’re moving in the right direction. 

Start by reading and sharing some good news stories — then you can follow Good Good Good on Instagram or TikTok, or sign up to receive our free daily newsletter full of good news from around the world. 

Get the kids involved.

Giving kids the tools and resources to learn creative problem solving skills is one of the best ways to foster a spirit of generosity and kindness from an early age. #GivingTuesdaySpark is a great initiative that helps young people get involved in the Giving Tuesday mission.

The website helps young people find inspiration, provides a toolkit to rally friends and loved ones, and a platform to share their projects with the world.

(You can also check out our favorite good news stories about kids making a difference for inspiration.)

Buy Products That Give Back

Shop brands and items that give back.

You’re probably already buying your loved ones special gifts this time of year, so why don’t you multitask and consider buying products that give back at the same time?

We know there’s an overwhelming amount of stuff the Internet is trying to sell you, so we made it a little easier and compiled a few gift guides with products and brands vetted by our team — that give back. 

Check out:

Give a Goodnewspaper.

That thing about finding more hope to fuel more good action? We make a whole newspaper about it every single month. Gift a Goodnewspaper subscription to someone who could use a little more hope — delivered straight to their front porch. 

Or better yet, subscribe to the paper yourself and spread the love every month by sharing your copy (or copies) after you’re done reading!

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Volunteer

Volunteer your time.

There are countless ways to volunteer your time and make a difference in the world. Whether you’re serving meals at a local shelter, picking up trash with a neighborhood cleanup group, shopping for and distributing winter coats to those in need, or perhaps hosting an event that raises funds and awareness for a certain cause, you can give back to your community in a way that is fun and engaging for everyone!

Sign up to volunteer virtually.

Sometimes in-person volunteering isn’t the most accessible, or it can be overwhelming to get started in a new environment. Luckily, there are a variety of great virtual volunteer opportunities out there! 

Check out:

Volunteer your talents.

We all have something unique to offer the world. Identify what you’re a rockstar at and what you can contribute, pick a mission that gets you fired up, and combine the two.

For example, a photographer could teach a free photo editing class to a community arts collective. Someone who loves to crochet could host a knit-a-thon to make mittens for folks experiencing homelessness. Home chefs can make double portions to distribute to nurses working overtime during the holidays. 

There is no limit to your creativity. What will you do with it?

Give blood.

Save a life this Giving Tuesday! Give a literal life force by volunteering to donate blood. You can even make it easy by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App to check your eligibility, find a donation center near you, and schedule a time to donate. 

Do a random act of kindness.

Not sure what your Giving Tuesday will bring? Decide the day of to do a handful of random acts of kindness! There are so many ways, both big and small, to spread a little kindness. 

From holding a door open for a stranger or tipping a little extra, to taking a bystander intervention training or writing a thank you note to a teacher, the possibilities are endless.

Check out 100+ random acts of kindness ideas

More Ideas

Practice self-care.

There’s one universal truth many of us are still learning: You can’t pour from an empty bucket. If you’re going to give back — and give back beyond Giving Tuesday — you need to take care of yourself

Proactive self-care gives us the energy we need to show up for the causes we care about and operate from a place of love and community. And that’s what matters most when it comes to doing good.

Check out 100+ self-care ideas

Switch to apps that give back.

There are a million ways to make a difference with your time and money — but did you know you can also give back with actions you already do every day?

When you sign up for Tab for a Cause, the free app will raise money for charities every time you open a new tab. (If you have as many tabs open as I do, that’s a lot of money.)

Similarly, if you switch your default search engine from Google to Ecosia, you’ll plant trees every time you search the internet. 

Explore even more apps that make a difference

Give all year long.

Just like other awareness holidays, Giving Tuesday should be a catalyst for your lifestyle — not an exception to the rule. Spend part of this day planning out how you can best practice radical generosity moving forward. 

One of our favorite tips? Whenever you read the news and a story breaks your heart, take action.

Whether you only have a few minutes to call your senator or have a little more flexible spending money to donate to support a nonprofit that’s working at the heart of the world’s biggest issues, you can give back and be a part of the solution. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday takes place on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Following a weekend of major spending and consumerism, it provides an opportunity to do more good. In 2023, Giving Tuesday is on November 28th.

How do I participate in Giving Tuesday?

Individuals can participate in Giving Tuesday in many ways, including donating to an organization they care about, sharing kindness with their neighbors, providing items or services to those in need, volunteering in-person or virtually, and spreading awareness on social media. 

Who founded Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by Henry Timms to help counteract the spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday through philanthropic giving to charities. The initiative began in the United States and quickly made its way to more than 70 countries.

What are some good quotes for Giving Tuesday?

We’ve collected the best Giving Tuesday quotes for you to use in posts, captions, emails, and more.

What is the hashtag for Giving Tuesday?

Those who want to promote Giving Tuesday on social media can use the hashtags #GivingTuesday or #GivingTuesday2023. Instagram users can also search @GivingTuesday to add official Giving Tuesday GIFs to their Reels and Stories. Shareable graphics and images are also available on givingtuesday.org.

Article Details

November 28, 2023 5:54 AM
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