How To Make Your Giving Tuesday Donations Count — Today and Beyond

This article is presented in partnership with Project HOPE

Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization, working side-by-side with local health workers and communities to save lives and improve the health and well-being of people around the world.

Learn more about Project HOPE

A close-up of a person paying online with their credit card; a volunteer in front of donations at a food bank; a close-up of someone taping a cardboard box
This article is presented in partnership with Project HOPE

We have long been taught that the end of the year culminates in the “season of giving.” A number of holiday traditions include generously volunteering, donating meals, or sharing thoughtful gifts with the people you hold dearest. 

But there’s one tradition during the holiday season that puts generosity first and foremost: Giving Tuesday.

This annual event takes place this year on November 28. Nonprofits across the country (and the globe!) use the holiday to bolster their end-of-the-year projects, build strong communities, and recruit supporters for the important work they do all year long. 

“Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to spotlight charitable giving right after the big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Christine Newkirk, the senior director of operations at humanitarian nonprofit Project HOPE said. 

“It’s a key day for us in the nonprofit world. Giving Tuesday is like our Black Friday. It gives us a feel for the giving season ahead, and ultimately, for what donors are going to help accomplish through our work.” 

But sometimes, it can be overwhelming to figure out the “best” way to donate — or to feel like you’re really making a difference.

So, we’ve got some tips to make your Giving Tuesday efforts count — now and in the future.

Tips for Maximizing Your Giving Tuesday Donations

Set up monthly donations.

Newkirk of Project HOPE said that nonprofits can see about 30% of their annual donations roll in just during the month of December. 

Although this boost is a great way to round out the year, many nonprofits still struggle to maintain funding during other seasons. This means the best way to maximize your impact is by setting up a recurring donation.

“Monthly giving is the way to go,” Newkirk said. “It’s great for nonprofits to be able to count on that reliable funding to help us deliver our mission year-round, and it’s convenient for donors, too.”

She compares it to a Netflix subscription, in which donors can choose an amount that works best for them, set up automatic payments, and make a small difference with ease for the causes they care more about.

“Many nonprofits also have options for you to give a recurring quarterly or annual gift, which is nice because you don’t have to scramble in December to remember all of the causes that are important to you,” Newkirk continued. 

Plus, if it might be difficult for you to make, say, a $60 donation in one sitting, you can set up a $5 monthly donation to a charity or nonprofit of your choice. This keeps you connected to the organization’s important work all year long without breaking the bank.

Give directly to reputable nonprofits.

It is important to do your research about which organizations you want to support to ensure your donation is reaching real, impactful projects (and, uh, not just an ineffective CEO’s paycheck). 

A good way to do this is by vetting the organizations in which you want to support through watchdog websites like Charity Navigator or Charity Watch

From there, you’ll want to go directly to a nonprofit’s website to make your gift. 

“Give directly to the nonprofit, rather than through a third party,” Newkirk said. “That helps ensure the nonprofits receive your gift quickly, and it also limits the fees that companies take off the top before passing your donation along.”

You definitely don’t want a large percentage of your donation going to service or transaction fees, right? That’s why direct donations are so important!

Look into employer matching. 

Lots of employers offer programs to match your charitable donations. If you haven’t already inquired about this with your employer or HR department, take this opportunity to learn more about the options available to you.

If your employer does already offer donation matching, Newkirk said to remember to fill out any forms required to ensure your donation is matched. 

If you’re not sure whether or not your employer will match a donation, you can visit the Double the Donation Database, or check if the nonprofit you’re supporting has a search tool to see if your company matches employee gifts. 

Spread the word.

The next most helpful step you can take is by talking about Giving Tuesday and the organizations you’re excited to support.

“Multiply your support by letting others know about the charities you love,” Newkirk said.

Whether you make a list of the nonprofits you love to post on your social media platforms on Giving Tuesday, share a story about why an organization matters to you, or even text a friend a direct donation link with a kind and genuine ask — you’re making an even bigger impact. 

The official Giving Tuesday website also has resources to make sharing even easier. Additionally, many nonprofits will create shareable social media graphics you can download, as well.

Keep an eye on your donations.

You’re likely already happy to be supporting a trusted nonprofit or organization that’s near and dear to your heart on Giving Tuesday. But one way to stay engaged with philanthropy is simply to read updates and follow the work of this nonprofit throughout the year.

Building an emotional connection to your donation helps you feel more inclined to keep supporting this cause — or to share updates with those in your circle. Plus, it gives you the fulfillment of knowing that your money funded something that matters to you.

Most organizations will automatically sign you up for email updates or newsletters upon your donation, but fight the urge to let those messages get lost in your inbox. 

Even a quick skim of a monthly email will give you a good idea of all the amazing work going on behind the scenes with your support.

Donate something other than money.

Of course, financial support is key to ensuring nonprofits can work toward their missions and make a real difference in the world. 

However, it is also perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to donate your time and talents — or even specific wishlist items — on Giving Tuesday and beyond.

Can you schedule a time every month to volunteer in-person for your local food bank? 

How about donating some pre-loved clothing and accessories to a women’s shelter or mentorship program? 

Maybe you can even use your talents to host a small fundraising event to garner more support for a cause that matters to you or provide a free service to someone in need.

Get creative! Your goal as a donor on Giving Tuesday is to get closer to the important work going on in your community — no matter how you choose to support it.

Header images courtesy of Karolina Grabowska, Lagos Food Bank Initiative, and Kampus Production via Pexels

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