Giving Tuesday And YOU - 10 Ways You Can Give Back On Giving Tuesday And Beyond

12 min read NOV 02, 2023

During the final months of the year, every year, many folks make room in their monthly budget for holiday parties, fabulous dinners, warm and inviting decor, even gifts for loved ones.

And oftentimes, making room in the budget for these cherished times and traditions means taking advantage of all the sales and deals typical of the season, especially those taking place in the days following Thanksgiving.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with planning, preparing, spending towards, and enjoying all of these things, yet the routine and often extravagant nature of these events occurring this time of year led some folks to spark a gesture of kindness that has since turned into a global movement…Giving Tuesday.

So, what is Giving Tuesday, exactly? And, what is the purpose behind this movement?

When is Giving Tuesday? And, who can get involved?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more as we explore the history, nature, purpose, impact, and practicality of Giving Tuesday, showcasing what can happen when we give our time, talents, and treasures, for the sole purpose of making this world a better place.

What Is Giving Tuesday?

Not long after the Thanksgiving turkey has been carved and the stuffing has been devoured, there’s something that occurs in the following hours and days. And no, I’m not referring to the consumption of desserts and leftovers.

Since the early 1980’s, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed Black Friday, a day of deals, shopping, and gift buying.

Then, in November of 2005, a new way to take advantage of sales and shopping was realized. It was this year that the National Retail Federation dubbed the Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday.

Retailers found that many folks extended their holiday shopping by utilizing faster internet speeds at the office to buy gifts online the Monday following the holiday weekend, and when this suggestive phrase went public, online sales increased greatly.

Since 2005, with both the public recognition of this phrase and the increase in improved at-home internet speeds, online sales have surpassed $11 billion (in 2022) on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

So in 2012, New York’s 92nd Street Y, partnering with the United Nations Foundation, started a movement on the basis of a simple, yet profound idea - doing good to/for others.

In the wake of the rampant consumerism that takes place in increasing amounts each year throughout the holiday season, Giving Tuesday was created to encourage charitable giving, inspiring now “hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”

Giving Tuesday officially takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. And, on this Tuesday each year, this movement is seen as the onset of the giving season, a time to give, and give back, to those around the world and in your local community by seeking to do good.

The official description of this day states:

It’s a simple idea: whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor 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 contribute towards building the better world we all want to live in.”

Often termed the official kick-off day of the year-end giving season, the spirit behind Giving Tuesday extends far beyond a single day.

And, this simple, yet profound notion of giving, caring, showing kindness, and supporting others not only impacts local communities, but it has served to raise awareness and funding for charities, non profit organizations, and causes all across the globe.

Broadly speaking, Giving Tuesday…

- sparks a spirit of generosity in individuals which serves to remind us all of the joy of giving as well as how fulfilling it can be to help others and give to those causes near and dear to our hearts.

- promotes unity and compassion as the day prompts individuals to come together to collectively achieve a positive goal, one which betters neighborhoods, communities, cities, nations, and our world.

- provides greatly needed funds, awareness, and manpower (through volunteering) to allow charitable organizations and/or non profits to make a significant, positive impact.

By some statistics, organizations receive an average of 10 times more donations on Giving Tuesday than other days of giving.

Since 2012, there are now more than 90 national movements which have arised from this initial push towards collective kindness.

More than 300 communities worldwide have been immensely impacted by this day, and millions of acts of generosity have ensued, spurring on a continuous chain of giving which lasts throughout the remainder of the year.

The ultimate and greater goal of these efforts, of course, are to spark a heart of generosity, kindness, and giving which can be evident all throughout the year, all throughout the world.

But, enough about the whats and whys, let’s now get down to the practicality of it all and look at how you can get involved, give back, and impact your own community, city, and the world at large for good.

Giving Tuesday And YOU

Let’s close out our time here today by looking at some ways you can get involved or participate in Giving Tuesday.

One site dedicated to helping folks understand the meaning and efforts of Giving Tuesday states “everyone has something to give.”

How true!

So many times I’m tempted to think of giving as a financial thing, and to be honest, I’ve not always been in a position to give financially. But, it was through those times that I found there to be so many valuable, generous, and needed ways to impact the lives of those around me in my family, community, circle of friends, and more.

Below you’ll find ten ways you can get involved in this global movement. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but I hope it can serve to spark some ideas for how you can participate personally because, to reiterate, “everyone has something to give.”

1- Financial Giving

I know, I just mentioned that there’s so many ways beyond finances to make a positive impact, but we can’t overlook the fact that some organizations, some world-bettering causes, truly need financial support to enact their mission of supporting our communities and world.

So, what’s the best way to give in this manner?

First, making a fulfilling impact best begins with examining your heart.

What are some causes that align with your beliefs and passions?

What are some areas where you find yourself passionately desiring to help but unable to do so due to other demands, locations, etc?

Start with these areas/thoughts, and seek charitable organizations or non profits in need, then donate accordingly.

Contributions to such causes truly make a difference in how they’re able to better our world.

2- Give Through Your Gifts

We all have a unique set of gifts or talents that we can use to make a difference in the world.

Identify your gifts, then use them on Giving Tuesday and beyond.

Can you sing or play an instrument? Do you have a heart for the elderly? Then volunteer your time and talent to enrich the lives of nursing home residents through music.

Using these same gifts, you could also hold a benefit, sharing your musical gifts while raising funds to support causes financially, bringing a smile to all those hearing your talents in the process.

Can you cook? Do you bake the best cookies? Then hold a bake sale where you can raise funds for your local homeless shelter, habitat for humanity organization, youth programs, and more.

I’m sure you get the picture here, but the possibilities are truly limitless when you see your unique gifts as an avenue for bringing smiles and happiness to others, even giving to those in need in the process.

3- Raise Awareness

Did you know that bringing attention or awareness to certain issues can go a long way to further causes, support missions/goals, and even bring folks together for the betterment of a community (and beyond)?

Think about the term Cyber Monday that we discussed above. While shoppers were already taking to the internet to seek out online savings, promos, and shopping deals, it was the act of coining this phrase and “taking it public” that truly made this day what it is now.

In other words, public awareness is powerful!

Using word of mouth, social media, and more you can simply share information about nonprofits and charities, and you can also share needed factual information about the issues and causes which support/facilitate positive change.

Or, if you are able to donate financially, perhaps plan to share a link on social media allowing others to do the same. You’d be surprised how often folks don’t donate or volunteer to help certain causes simply because they do not know these places exist or an avenue by which they can contribute.

If you know of organizations seeking to help others, or those groups in need of donations locally, share this information publicly.

Your voice, even on social media, has a reach. Don’t hesitate to use it with purpose.

4- Donate Food/Clothing/Toys

Especially throughout this time of year, on Giving Tuesday and in the days and weeks that follow, donations of food, clothing, winter coats and accessories in some areas, toys, and more can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

Raise awareness of those places accepting donations in your community by sharing their website/page, and let others know of the good work these organizations are doing.

Then, seek to donate needed/acceptable food or toiletry items as well as gently used or new clothing and toys.

I recently heard a gentleman tell of an email he received from a woman in Africa. He lives in Kentucky and his church had routinely filled Christmas shoeboxes to send to children in need over the years.

The woman’s message to him detailed how she received a shoebox as a child and how this truly changed her life, knowing that someone cared enough to carefully fill the box, bringing joy to her both then and in all the years following as she fondly, happily recalled this blessing.

You simply never know the powerful impact you can have on a person’s life simply by giving from your heart.

5- Donate (Volunteer) Your Time

Thinking of the premise behind Giving Tuesday, there’s something special about getting involved personally, joining hands and efforts with others for a greater purpose.

Aside from donating clothing, money, food, or toys to organizations that help those in need, seek to volunteer your time at such locations (and others).

Seek to serve food at a local shelter, coordinate with local schools to volunteer your time tutoring students, offer to babysit for friends, family, and neighbors, pick up trash in your subdivision or throughout town.

The possibilities are practically endless, and this isn’t limited to helping your human neighbors.

Many of us have a heart for animals, and you can donate your time to help furry friends as well at local shelters, animal adoption centers, and more.

So, if you’re tempted to think that you have no way to positively impact your community, know this…volunteering your time in service to those in need is a profound way to make a difference.

Some would even insist that there’s no better way to truly understand others, gaining empathy and showing compassion, than to get involved “on the ground” serving your fellow man.

6- Give Blood

I realize that not everyone is able to do this, but for those that can, donating blood is a vitally needed act of giving.

We’ve all heard that giving blood saves lives, but some detailed statistics shine a greater light on this need:

According to, every two seconds (that’s 30 times a minute) someone is in need of blood.

Blood cannot be manufactured, and even the blood that’s donated has a limited shelf-life, so there is always a need for blood donations.

One blood donation is said to save up to three lives!

A quick look at the giving=living website can direct you to a blood donation center near you, and it provides helpful questions and answers surrounding the topics of who can give blood and how your donation can help others.

7- Pay It Forward

Most of us have heard of the phenomenon that occurred several years ago in a Starbucks line in St. Petersburg, Florida where a gentleman decided to pay for the order of the man behind him in line at the drive thru.

As the story goes, the recipient then paid for the next customer in line, and this chain of giving went on from 7 am until nearly closing time that day, prompting national news coverage and a trend of giving that still takes place in a variety of venues even today.

So, this Giving Tuesday and beyond, you can positively impact the lives of others by paying it forward, purchasing someone else’s coffee, dinner, weekly groceries, and more as a way to generously spread goodness and kindness to those around you.

8- The Power Of A Smile And A Hug

Hugging random strangers may or may not be a welcomed act, but this Giving Tuesday and beyond, the premise behind a hug is always a good way to make this world a better place.

So, when it’s welcomed, spread kindness through hugs…and in other settings…rather, in all settings, the power of a smile can never be understated.

Wearing and sharing a genuine smile not only improves your own mood and health, it speaks positivity and goodness in ways that words can often lack.

Kind of like paying it forward, one smile shared to a friend, loved one, or stranger can have a ripple effect, prompting a smile in response that creates a chain of smiles.

Then, before you know it, moods (and health) are improved all around.

9- Earth Love

The Giving Tuesday movement has even prompted many to channel their efforts towards helping to improve and support the environment.

Tuesdays4Trash is a group founded by friends and youth activists during the covid 19 pandemic which seeks to clean cities, streets, and the planet.

Plan to use the days leading up to Giving Tuesday this year (and beyond) as an opportunity to first spread awareness of clean up needs in your area, then organize a Tuesdays4Trash group to “clean up your corner of the world.”

Other ways to positively impact the environment this Giving Tuesday include planting trees, committing to reducing waste/trash, and sharing about your efforts in hopes of inspiring others to join you.

10- Thanksgiving

As we mentioned earlier, Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday immediately following Thanksgiving. And, while many of us are drawn to a greater sense of thankfulness this time of year, in keeping with the spirit of spreading positivity and goodness in your world, use this day (or any day) as a reminder to specifically thank others.

Send a thank you note to a coworker who’s been helpful to you in the past.

Be sure to thank your mail carrier, the cashier at the grocery store, the customer service rep who helped to sort out your recent order, and the waitress who takes your dinner order, etc.

You can even go beyond a simple thank you and leave a goodie basket for delivery drivers, or take a box of treats to school or health care employees, public servants, and more.

A spirit of gratitude coupled with such actions can go a long way to make others feel appreciated, spreading the exact kind of goodness and positivity espoused by the Giving Tuesday movement.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Medium Roast.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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