Home Fundraising What Is Giving Tuesday and How Does Giving Tuesday Work?

What Is Giving Tuesday and How Does Giving Tuesday Work?

by Janie Richmond
What Giving Tuesday is and how it works

You’ve likely participated in Black Friday and Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving. You may have even taken part in Small Business Saturday. But what is Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday is an annual day of giving. It’s also a nonprofit organization.

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Giving Tuesday: The Movement

Created to inspire radical generosity in everyday life, the day of giving began in New York City in 2012. With the consumerism and materialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday happening just after (and sometimes during) the Thanksgiving holiday, the intent of Giving Tuesday is to encourage people to give to others and be generous to create systemic change in our society.

Celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a day for people around the entire world to do good. The hope is that the day is a starting point for how people approach life as they begin to spread generosity throughout the year.

Giving Tuesday: The Nonprofit

Known as Giving Tuesday or GivingTuesday, the movement is also a nonprofit. What’s different about this nonprofit from many others is how it is funded. As the founder of the movement, you may expect that some of the donations collected across the world go back to the Giving Tuesday organization. However, that’s not the case. The Giving Tuesday organization doesn’t collect any donations or fees from the day of giving.

All donations received for Giving Tuesday go directly to each organization that raises the funds, and online donations are processed by whichever donation processing platform the organization chooses to use.

Instead, the Giving Tuesday nonprofit is funded by a variety of generous supporters, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Network for Good, PayPal, Schwab Charitable, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, and more.

How does Giving Tuesday work

How Does Giving Tuesday Work and Who Can Participate?

Anyone can participate, regardless of age, demographic, or location. With people and organizations now participating in every country, Giving Tuesday is truly an international movement.

While many organizations will create entire Giving Tuesday fundraising campaigns, participants are not limited by the decisions those organizations make. What the Giving Tuesday annual day of giving does is take the guesswork out of how you can be kind and generous to others.

You can be part of Giving Tuesday by demonstrating generosity in several ways.

1. Join a project with a local nonprofit.

Some nonprofits will organize special projects or events for Giving Tuesday, and you can join. Go to the Giving Tuesday website to see if there is a movement in your city. You can also navigate to the website of your favorite organization or cause to see what’s happening in your area. Or search the hashtag #givingtuesday on social media to see what organizations are participating.

2. Volunteer your time.

The opportunities are endless. Even if an organization isn’t directly participating in Giving Tuesday, it still may have ways to volunteer. Whether you serve a hot meal at a soup kitchen, pet dogs at an animal rescue facility, repair kids’ bicycles, tutor elementary school students, or organize canned goods at a food bank, nonprofits would love to have you take the time to help them achieve their missions.

You could also do something simple on your own. Mow or rake your neighbor’s lawn, pick up trash around your neighborhood or on a beach, offer to babysit your sister’s kids so she can have some time to herself, make simple Christmas tree ornaments with your kids and hand them out to the people in your neighborhood, prepare and drop off a meal for an injured friend or family member, or write a handwritten card telling your child’s teacher how much you appreciate them.

Volunteer opportunities

3. Give financially.

Finances are essential for nonprofits. That’s how they operate and work toward their goals. You can give directly to organizations from their donation pages. Lots of organizations create Amazon wishlists for their particular needs. Find a wishlist on a nonprofit’s website and place an order.

You can also give finances in simple but effective ways during your everyday activities. Pay for the coffee or meal for the people in the car behind you in the drive-through. Send a meal delivery gift card to new parents or someone who has just had surgery. Put a basket of goodies out for people who deliver items to your door. Or pay the rent for a neighbor who is having a difficult time financially.

4. Donate goods.

Beyond donating money, you can donate items from your business or home life. If you own a bakery, you could donate bread or cookies to a homeless shelter. If you own a nursery, you could donate some plants or trees to a local community center or school. Then you can show volunteers how to properly plant and take care of them.

5. Donate your skills or services.

What skills do you have that you can share with others? Are you a dentist or dental hygienist? You could offer free cleanings for those who may not otherwise be able to afford them. If you can play the piano, you could give some lessons for free. If you have car mechanic skills, you can offer to change the oil in your neighbor’s car when you change your own.

6. Share about the importance of giving and generosity.

Create a social media post around the concept of generosity and giving, how you are participating in Giving Tuesday, or how someone has been generous to you for Giving Tuesday. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #givingtuesday.

Generosity on Giving Tuesday

How Churches Can Participate in Giving Tuesday

Faith-based organizations and churches can also get involved with Giving Tuesday. From partnering with a local nonprofit to organizing a day of serving throughout the city to hosting a blood drive, churches and ministries can bless their local and global communities in unique ways.

Why Giving Tuesday Matters

Because it is a global movement, Giving Tuesday inspires people throughout the world to look beyond themselves and contribute to the greater good of humanity. The movement is proof that everyone has something to give, and it encourages generosity and giving year-round, not just one day a year.

Nonprofit organizations that serve communities and rally behind various charitable causes also raise funds through Giving Tuesday campaigns, and the money they raise as part of their participation in the movement can be significant for their operations.

The Impact of Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday marks the beginning of the year-end giving season for nonprofits, and it’s not uncommon for organizations to raise the bulk of their support during the holiday season. Recently, organizations in the United States raised 3.1 billion dollars in a single day, according to the GivingTuesday 2022 Impact Report.

There are also countless stories of people in countries around the world who have experienced the impact of the movement.

Since Giving Tuesday was started, people have been directly impacted because volunteers:

  • Served meals to families and individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Donated blood
  • Performed acts of kindness for their neighbors
  • Cared for animals
  • Picked up trash
  • Cleaned up beaches
  • Planted trees
  • Taught a skill to someone else
  • And so much more!

Be Part of the Giving Tuesday Movement

Now that you know what Giving Tuesday is and why it matters, how will you turn that knowledge into action? Try one of the suggestions above for how to get involved, maybe invite a friend to join you, and consider how you might be able to show kindness and generosity throughout the year and not just on Giving Tuesday.

At Aplos, we love serving nonprofits! That’s why we offer several tools for nonprofit organizations, including giving options to help encourage generosity, a nonprofit accounting system, budgeting, resources, and more.

Do you love a nonprofit and want to help them level up their fundraising? Point them to our free eBook, Jumpstarting Your Fundraising Efforts. If you work for a nonprofit, grab the eBook below!

Free eBook: Jumpstarting Your Fundraising Efforts

Most nonprofit organizations have too many things to do and too little time or not enough people to do it. Balancing daily tasks and trying to raise money can be challenging and overwhelming, so Aplos put together this eBook to help you build a strong foundation of sustainable fundraising and financial accountability. In this eBook, you’ll get:

  • Tips for reviewing your donor database
  • Expert advice on creating a fundraising plan
  • Suggestions for how to build stronger relationships with your supporters
  • Best practices for growing sustainable giving
  • Practical suggestions for engaging and mobilizing your board

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