What is Giving Tuesday and how to celebrate?

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, people might be beginning to see social media posts advertising Giving Tuesday.

This is a holiday that takes place every Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the US. It’s viewed as a fundraising opportunity which started in 2012 as a project of the 92nd Street Y and the organisation GivingTuesday became an independent nonprofit in 2020. The organisation has also launched a campaign to raise $26 million over five years to expand its database of giving.

At the time of Giving Tuesday’s original creation, a team of innovators at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City sought to create a movement that harnessed the power of social media and technology to promote charitable giving.

The idea was to create a bridge between the hectic consumerism that comes with Black Friday and Cyber Monday that is immediately followed by an influx of holiday shoppers. The goal was to come up with a day dedicated solely to giving to remind everyone of what the true meaning of the holiday season is.

Specifically, those involved in the day’s creation were looking for people to give their money to meaningful causes that had the potential to positively impact society. To accomplish this task they teamed up with various charities including nonprofits and other businesses to spread their message across social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

“Our global network collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life,” the organisation describes the holiday on its website.

“Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbour or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.”

Giving Tuesday was able to raise a record $3.1bn in 24 hours for charitable causes in the US last year, as the event that started as a hashtag in 2012 celebrated its 10th anniversary and its status as a staple of fundraising for nonprofits.

If you are someone looking to get involved for this year’s Giving Tuesday on 28 November, here are some suggestions to give back just before the holiday season starts.

One idea would be to donate to a charitable donation. It can either be an organisation that supports a cause you are very passionate about or any charity using the Giving Tuesday hashtag.

People can also use Giving Tuesday to support local businesses and artisans. Purchase products or services in person from small businesses that give back to the community or donate a portion of their businesses’ proceeds to charity.

If you happen to be on a budget, you can also volunteer for them whether that be helping a local shelter, assisting a cleanup event, or providing pro-bono services.

Another option is to do the fundraising yourself by starting your own. For example, you can organise a bake sale, a 5K charity run, or an online fundraising campaign to encourage friends and family to contribute. There are also plenty of virtual fundraising options that are more low-key like an online auction, webinar, or live stream.