Giving Tuesday, a day of global action and radical generosity landing on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and the holiday giving season are make-or-break moments for many nonprofits. With roughly 30 percent of annual revenue given during this period, this season offers a chance for individuals to give back to their communities.
Each year, there are more than 37 million participants on Giving Tuesday. In 2022 alone, over $3.1 billion—averaging about $10 per person in the U.S.—was donated in just one day. With so much attention on Giving Tuesday and many opportunities to participate, what is the best way to make an impact as an individual? Where, how and how much should you give on this day? Here are a few tips:
How to decide on whom to give
Think about the causes that are important to you or needs that you see in your community, from food insecurity and arts programming to animal welfare and health research. There is no shortage of opportunities to give back on Giving Tuesday, and it is easier than ever for consumers to see where they can make a meaningful contribution financially or with their time and talent.
Use an online directory such as Charity Navigator to vet organizations—a reputable nonprofit is more likely to make a difference in your area—fire up a search engine to expand your options, and ask friends and family whom they are supporting this year. The hashtag #GivingTuesday gets over 20 billion impressions online each year, so look on social media to learn about the nonprofits you are drawn to and their constituents.
Every dollar counts
Nonprofits seek support in many ways. Of course, there are revenue-generating campaigns. From general online gifts to peer-to-peer registration for events like a 5K walk or membership drives, financial support is a cornerstone of Giving Tuesday. But, you don’t have to give significant amounts of money to make a difference. Even a gift of $5, when added to many others, adds up to impactful financial gains for individual nonprofits.
Depending on their missions, some organizations seek donations of goods and services on Giving Tuesday. Many local organizations solicit canned goods, pet food and other essentials on this day. Blood drives—especially given a critical, national blood shortage—are often set up for the day and the entire week of Giving Tuesday.
Donate your time and talent
Making a difference on Giving Tuesday is not limited to financial contribution or something tangible. Your voice, time and talent matter, too. Did you know a volunteer hour is worth $31.80 to an organization? From one-time events to ongoing opportunities, nonprofits are clamoring for skilled volunteer support, especially given a steady decline in volunteerism over the past few years.
Consider what you can do as an individual or how you can rally your friends, family and coworkers to give time and talent. Do you have marketing, social media, writing or photography skills? Are you able to make phone calls or move boxes? There are millions of in-person and virtual opportunities waiting for a dedicated volunteer. Look for missions that you are connected to and reach out. Even if you can’t give this year, make sure to share with your friends and family which nonprofits you’ve found are making an impact.
Cara Dickerson is the vice president of customer success and account management at GiveSmart, an online fundraising platform that helps nonprofits streamline their donation process.