Giving Tuesday—the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year in the U.S.—is an annual celebration in the nonprofit world. It is a day filled with generosity following Black Friday weekend that tends toward materialism. Many nonprofits spend weeks or even months preparing for a season of giving that often kicks off with Giving Tuesday, and churches can participate as well, inspiring their congregations to be more generous. Here are some ideas for ways churches can participate in Giving Tuesday.
Partner With a Local Nonprofit
Does your church already partner with a nonprofit organization in your community? Giving Tuesday is an ideal opportunity to encourage people in your congregation to get involved. Highlight the organization for a few weeks leading up to the event and point people to their website so they can give. You could also spark the conversation about serving the community and how members can start volunteering with the nonprofit throughout the year.
For churches that aren’t already partnered with an organization, choose a cause everyone can get behind, such as a homeless shelter or a food bank. Do a little research and select a nonprofit that’s already doing the work. Then start the conversation in your church about how members can be a tangible expression of God’s love in your neighborhood or city.
Support a Community-Minded Ministry
If your church has a ministry that is community-focused, such as a food pantry, clothing closet, or tutoring program, leverage Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to get everyone involved. Beyond giving direct funds to the ministry, share other ways your people can participate in the cause. You could host a non-perishable food drive or a clothes drive, or collect school supplies to hand out to the kids being tutored.
Get creative. Accept aluminum cans to recycle or host a community yard sale where all proceeds go to the ministry. Feature serve opportunities where people can volunteer their time in addition to giving financial gifts. Every context is different, so decide what is best for your church and the community you’re in.
Focus on Missions
Giving Tuesday can be a novel approach to motivate your people to get involved in both local and global missions. There is endless potential in this realm, but here are a few ideas for how your church can support missions for Giving Tuesday.
If your church supports missionaries overseas, across the country, or even locally, let them share their stories of how God called them and what their day-to-day activities look like. Most missionaries fully rely on the financial support they receive, so don’t be afraid to get detailed about what they need and how your members can help spread the good news by supporting those in the mission field. You could take a special offering during your services, allow people to give to your missionaries from an online form, or point them to a Text to Give option directly on their phones.
You could also use Giving Tuesday as an annual reminder for church members to write notes of encouragement to the missionaries you support. Those notes mean the world to people who may at times feel isolated from their church families. Kids can even be involved in the activity by writing short notes or including drawings with the notes.
Do you have youth or adults heading out on a mission trip, perhaps next Spring Break or next summer? Giving Tuesday is one opportunity for them to get fully funded while showcasing the value of missions your church holds. Allow time during your services leading up to Giving Tuesday for some team members to share why they are going and what they will be doing. Feature the giving form for the trip on your website and make it shareable so team members can post the link on their social media accounts.
Choose an international organization for your church to support this Giving Tuesday. This organization should be part of something your church cares deeply about, such as providing clean water, preventing human trafficking, giving people medical care, or feeding people in food-insecure regions. Do a little research to make sure the organization is reputable and is ideal for your church to support. Then share why you decided on that organization and rally your congregation to support the cause.
Accepting and Tracking Giving Tuesday Donations
Make sure you have the right donation software where you can accept online giving, as well as track any gifts and in-kind donations you receive for Giving Tuesday. You don’t need to worry about donations your members give directly to another organization, but if you serve as the middleman and pass those gifts on or sell any goods, you will need a system that can accurately and transparently track everything your church receives. With Aplos, you can offer easy giving options, easily track financial gifts for any purpose, and track in-kind donations. Plus, all online donations you receive automatically flow into your accounting with no double entry.
We hope these Giving Tuesday ideas inspire generosity in your church as your people learn to be good stewards of the resources God has provided. If you have additional ideas, share them in the comments below.