24 Ways to Help Others on Giving Tuesday

Volunteers work at outdoor food drive

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Volunteers work at outdoor food drive
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Guide to Giving

A movement that started as a 2012 collaboration between New York City's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday has become a firmly rooted, incredibly successful global event that presents an opportunity to give back to causes or issues that matter to you. In the eight years since the campaign began, more than $1 billion has been raised in the U.S. alone through online donations. This year, Giving Tuesday will takes place on Dec. 1. Here are some ways to get involved and give back. For more feel-good stories about philanthropic efforts, check out 26 Companies That Are Doing Good Deeds With Your Dollars.

Related: Where to Donate for Racial Justice in Your State

Donate Time to a Worthy Cause
Wasting Time on the Internet

Advocate for a Cause

Do you have a substantial social media following? Or some other powerful platform that can be put to good use? Giving Tuesday suggests using that platform to help transform your community — or the world for that matter — by advocating for an issue you're passionate about. "We can all be activists who affect the kind of change that makes our world a better place," notes the Giving Tuesday website. Need some inspiration? Check out DoSomething.org, which allows people to sign up for a volunteer, social change, or civic action campaign. Change.org is another option that allows you to launch an online petition.


Make a Financial Donation

If you have money available to support a good cause, use Giving Tuesday as an occasion to make a donation. If you're not sure where to donate, Giving Tuesday's website offers a list of participating nonprofits as a starting point. Or you might want to think about contributing to a nonprofit or community organization that has impacted your life in some way over the years.

Related: 8 Ways to Give to Charity and Get a Tax Break

Zoom meeting
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Payroll Giving

Financial support of a nonprofit or good cause can be something that starts on Giving Tuesday but extends all year long. You can make regular donations to a cause important to you via payroll donations. And while you're at it, consider talking to your employer about giving to the cause at an organizational level.

An Act of Kindness

An Act of Kindness

Your effort doesn't have to be huge or flashy in order to impress others on social media. It could be something small and simple, such as a random act of kindness. Giving Tuesday says kindness can go a long way toward inspiring generosity in others, thus creating a domino effect of paying it forward. Consider buying the coffee of the person behind you in line, reaching out to tell someone how much they mean to you, or letting someone go ahead of you when you're standing in line. Kindness.org offers more examples of potential acts of kindness, and the kicker is that performing a kind act has benefits for you as well in the form of improving your overall well-being, according to researchers at Kindness.org.

Bunch Charitable Contributions

Host a Donation Drive

Organizing an event designed to support an important cause is yet another approach to doing something meaningful on Giving Tuesday. You could call on friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to help you collect items to support a particular nonprofit. Before getting started, however, it's a good idea to speak with the nonprofit you want to support and find out what sorts of items they need most.

Offer Your Skills

Offer Your Skills

Many nonprofit organizations work with very limited budgets. If you have a particular skill that could be useful, whether it's writing brochures or providing public relations, consider offering your talent to help a worthy organization or cause. The site Taproot Plus was created to connect skilled volunteers with nonprofits that have specific projects that need support. The opportunities range from doing marketing for a nonprofit to assisting with branding and more.

Inspire Others

Inspire Others

Inspiring others doesn't have to be about taking to social media and publicly advocating for a cause. Giving Tuesday suggests there are more subtle ways to inspire others, such as creating inspirational messages around your community. This might be in the form of creating a kindness wall somewhere, writing kind messages in chalk on sidewalks, or painting rocks with inspiring messages and stashing them where others can find them.

Related: These Are Some of the Nicest Neighbors Ever

Facebook Marketplace
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Create a Facebook Fundraiser

With billions of people around the world using Facebook these days, why not use the powerful platform to start a fundraising campaign on Giving Tuesday, says Cara Haggerty, executive director of the nonprofit Hope Loves Company. "You can post it on your timeline, send it to others via Facebook messenger, and ask your friends to share it," says Haggerty. "It's a very simple way to support your favorite organization."

Send Donation Request Letters

Send Donation Request Letters

Reach out to your favorite organization and ask if you can help them secure donations, suggests Haggerty. Many have a donation letter template that can be used for such purposes. "Personalize the letter with your unique reason for supporting this organization, and share it with people and organizations that you work closely with," says Haggerty.

Show Thanks to Local First Responders

Show Thanks to Local First Responders

Whether it's battling wildfires in California or supporting hurricane victims along the east coast, first responders put their lives on the line every day. Giving Tuesday suggests using the special day to say thanks to these individuals. For example, you could buy pizza or bake cookies for the local fire department. Organizations like Operation Gratitude provide other examples as well as serve as a vehicle for thanking first responders.

Inspire Giving Among Children

Inspire Giving Among Children

There are plenty of causes in the nonprofit world that children can relate to as well, like an animal shelter or a wildlife conservation effort. Consider presenting your children with a list of nonprofit organizations, explaining the mission of the various organizations to them, and asking them which one they would like the family to financially support and why.

Christmas Cards

Send Holiday Cards or Gifts to Military Members

Members of the military often spend the holidays away from family and friends, particularly if they happen to be stationed abroad. Consider setting aside some time on Giving Tuesday to pen some holiday cards and notes of support for such individuals to brighten their day. There are a variety of organizations that help deliver cards to the troops including USASOA, which organizes Operation Christmas Cards for Our Troops.

Assemble Care Bags

Assemble Care Bags

Spending the holidays in the hospital is bleak and, for a child, it can be especially challenging. But you can brighten a child's day by assembling care bags on Giving Tuesday to be delivered to children who will be confined to a hospital over the holiday season. Such bags can also be assembled for others who are hospitalized, including cancer patients.

Start a Kindness Challenge

Start a Kindness Challenge

Enlist others in this day of giving back by posting a kindness challenge at your workplace, school, church, or other location. Call upon others in your challenge to try to perform at least one act of kindness every single day for a month, or customize the challenge in your own way.

Distribute Care Kits for the Homeless

Distribute Care Kits for the Homeless

Often, when you see a homeless individual, it can be hard to know how best to help. One way to offer an act of kindness on Giving Tuesday is to provide care bags for the homeless. Websites like Doing Good Together offer tips for how best to go about doing this. Items you might include in such a bag are socks, water, tissues, bandages, and sunscreen.

Big Life Foundation
Big Life Foundation

Order Merchandise from Your Favorite Nonprofit

Many nonprofit organizations sell merchandise to help fund their efforts. Haggerty suggests making it a point on Giving Tuesday to purchase something from a nonprofit you want to support. Big Life Foundation, an organization that has helped end ivory poaching in portions of Kenya sells a variety of fundraising merchandise including mugs, hats, T-shirts, elephant dolls, water bottles, and more. Yet another example, The Thin Green Line Foundation, which supports rangers who protect wildlife, sells a variety of merchandise including clothing, books, and jewelry. These are just a couple of examples — there are countless nonprofits that offer related merchandise.


Offer Your Photography Skills to a Nonprofit

Donating money is not an option for everyone, including Laura Durenberger, creator of the site ReduceReuseRenew.com. Instead, she offers her photography talents to organizations she wishes to support. "Lots of local organizations need photographers for events and products," says Durenberger. "Not only do organizations use the photos for their own marketing needs, sometimes they need photos for grants to obtain funding." Even if you're not a professional photographer, just having someone dedicated to taking photos is extremely helpful, she adds.

Social Media Management

Volunteer to Do Social Media Management

Are you active on social media? Do you have a particular talent for posting content or professional expertise in this area? Having a staff person dedicated to social media management is not always possible in a small organization, says Durenberger. But volunteering your skills, whether on Giving Tuesday or an extended basis, can be the perfect way to provide support.

Provide Pro Bono Legal Services

Provide Pro Bono Legal Services

Immigration attorney Joshua Goldstein helps people obtain green cards, citizenship, and work visas on a pro bono basis for certain cases. He suggests Giving Tuesday is a good time for other attorneys to do the same. "Legal services are not cheap," says Goldstein, adding that some of those who need help the most are the least able to afford it. "Lawyers are not obligated to do work pro bono. But it's such a great way to give back to the community. I encourage others to seek out opportunities to help those in need."

woman at animal shelter wearing mask

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

People tend to forget about animals left in shelters, says Morgan Taylor, a finance expert for LetMeBank. "These animals don't have a home and, while they may at least have a bed and food, they don't get the attention and love that they need," she says. Consider donating an hour or two on Giving Tuesday to walk a dog or cuddle a cat. "They'll love the affection and be healthier for it," Taylor says.

Christmas presents

Shop for Good

We're all doing a lot of shopping during the holiday season, so why not use your spending to help a good cause on Giving Tuesday? The site GivingAssistant allows users to shop at more than 6,000 brands, earn cashback on purchases, and then donate that money through the site to one of 1.7 million nonprofit organizations. Sign-up is free, and shoppers can choose what percentage of their cashback to give to a nonprofit.

Give Back to the Planet
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Give Back to the Planet

Giving back on Giving Tuesday can also mean taking steps to live more mindfully, says Serina Patterson, founder of the eco-conscious subscription box site Earthlove. "You can help orangutans and other rainforest wildlife, for example, by reducing consumption of beef, palm oil, and soy," says Patterson. You could also buy products on Giving Tuesday (or all year long) from fair-trade companies that ensure everyone receives a fair wage and provide better working conditions.

Related: 25 Earth-Friendly Habits That Can Save You Money

More Inspiration

More Inspiration

Giving Tuesday has compiled a database of events and opportunities around the country that can be searched by type, name, and geographic location — making it easy to find an organization near you that represents your areas of interest.