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What Is Giving Tuesday: Need-to-Know Facts to Give Back This Holiday Season


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Published November 17, 2021 Reading Time: 6 minutes

Don’t miss the opportunity to join over 30 million people coming together in the 24 hours of Giving Tuesday to support some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Not sure what Giving Tuesday is or how you can participate as a donor? We’ve got you covered.

When you think about Thanksgiving weekend traditions, it’s hard not to immediately land on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The shopping (and hopefully saving) is part of the long-standing transition into the year-end holiday season. While many people are already spending more to check off all of the names on their shopping lists, Giving Tuesday rounds out the long weekend as a critical day to give back to charitable causes.

Picture this: Holiday sales during November and December are forecasted to exceed $843 billion in 2021. Now imagine how many people or places in need could see relief from ongoing challenges if just one billion of those dollars were donated.

#GivingTuesday is only becoming more popular and impactful each year as social media spreads the word. If it’s your first time participating, you’re in good hands. We’re walking you through the easiest way to find causes, show your support, and complete donations this year.

When Is Giving Tuesday?

Mark your calendar! Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the day directly after Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday 2021 will take place on November 30th.


What Is Giving Tuesday?

GivingTuesday started as a day for anyone, anywhere to give, and it’s grown into the biggest giving movement in the world.

Giving Tuesday sets new donation records each year to help nonprofits such as food banks, healthcare organizations, natural disaster relief, and many more gather the support they need to make a true impact on the communities they serve before the year is over.

Nonprofits use Giving Tuesday to plan specific and timely campaigns that make it easier for you to donate in the way you choose. (We’ll cover fun new donation tools below.)

Giving Tuesday is more significant than ever in its ninth year and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s now the second-largest giving day of the year for nonprofit organizations to fundraise, only surpassed by December 31.

Yes, Giving Tuesday is just one day in the year. That doesn’t mean that you won’t see early access to donate to Giving Tuesday campaigns throughout the month of November, so keep an eye out.

If organizations see enough momentum on Giving Tuesday, they may be able to turn that success into a year-end campaign as well. The beauty of this day for nonprofits is that people are excited and passionate to help ignite change, allowing nonprofits of all sizes and sectors to drive their missions forward with bolstered support.

Head to an organization’s Giving Tuesday campaign to find more about:

  • Who the organization is and why they exist
  • Their work that’s fueled by funding and donations
  • The impact your donation has on the bigger picture
  • Where exactly to donate on a designated donation form
  • Future plans to stay in touch with the organization

What Is the History of Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to counteract the spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with philanthropic giving to charities in need of support. It started in the U.S. and has quickly made its way across more than 70 countries. You’ll likely see the day branded as “#GivingTuesday” to emphasize the collaborative power of social media to spread the word.

In 2020, 261,609 people like you came together to support nonprofits through the Classy giving platform on Giving Tuesday alone. The result was an incredible 95% increase in donations from 2019 despite the pandemic’s financial uncertainty.

As we move forward into a new year that will continue to reflect the impact of COVID-19, 84% of donors intend to give the same amount or more than they did in 2020.

Here are a few examples of how donations drive impact on Giving Tuesday:

Vanderbilt-Donations giving-tuesday-fundraiser

How to Become a Giving Tuesday Donor

Feeling inspired? Let’s dive into how you can make a difference on Giving Tuesday.

Organizations of various cause sectors, sizes, locations, and goals come together on Giving Tuesday, giving you endless ways to show support.

Every Giving Tuesday each member of my family chooses a nonprofit to donate to. Last year we decided to make these donations recurring so that we could create impact year-round for each organization. This year we plan to do the same. Adding the smaller amounts on a monthly basis makes the incremental spend more palatable and means we’ll now each have recurring donations to two organizations a month and we hope to compound our impact every year.

Annual Giving Tuesday Donor

Here are a few ways you can plan to show support for one (or many) causes:

  • Give to a new cause by making it your mission to explore nonprofit organizations that are doing great work to solve a challenge you feel close to
  • Advocate for a cause by sharing their Giving Tuesday campaigns on your social media channels or by setting up your own fundraising page on their behalf
  • Volunteer for events happening on Giving Tuesday, or take the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer in the year ahead  for organizations looking for some extra hands
  • Give a recurring gift that automatically deducts a small amount of your choice from your bank account on a regular cadence, adding up to a larger impact over time for the cause you’re supporting
  • Upgrade your recurring gift if you already give on a monthly or quarterly basis by  just $5 more to show your support for an organization in need of funding for big new year plans
  • Give on behalf of a loved one and use the donation confirmation as a thoughtful holiday gift they’ll never forget

Where to Donate on Giving Tuesday

Each year, it gets easier to find causes to support that you may not have known about previously.

Explore this year’s #GivingTuesday conversation on social media

Social media is also making it easier to explore #GivingTuesday activity within your network. You never know which friends may already be fundraising for their favorite causes, so social media can be the perfect way to give to them directly.

Connect with causes that your company or community supports

Ask your employer about organizations they support and if they would match your donation this Giving Tuesday. You can also attend local or online fundraising events to expose yourself to entirely new causes.

Remember, it doesn’t need to be too complicated. Our Why America Gives 2021 report showed that social media, direct outreach, and word of mouth are the most effective ways donors find causes to donate to.

Why the Donation Experience Is Now Easier Than Ever

Every nonprofit is different, but many offer features that make your donation experience one that feels fulfilling and leaves you confident that your money is going safely and directly to your cause of choice.

Like any great experience you might have with your favorite apps or online shopping, the donation experience makes giving back on the go even more convenient.

The rise in TikTok and short video content sharing makes Giving Tuesday a powerful day of connection and can help you get the word out about the causes you’re supporting, or easily learn about new causes that need your support.

Did you know?

This year, Classy is making it easier than ever to make tax-deductible crypto donations to fund food relief, health, and community support sectors.

What Is Giving Tuesday Bringing to the Holiday Season?

Kick Off the Season by Bringing More Good to the World

The end of the year is a time for reflection and getting ready for fresh starts. If you’ve ever thought about giving back around this time but weren’t sure where to begin, we hope you now know why Giving Tuesday is an excellent opportunity to do so.

If this is your first time participating in Giving Tuesday, you may be on your way to an entirely new tradition to share with your friends and family ahead of the holidays. Regardless of how you choose to support nonprofits, you’ll be joining a global movement for good.

Share this post with anyone asking “what is Giving Tuesday” and get your inner circles involved in a day to remember for the best kick-off to the holiday season.

We also encourage you to share how you’re getting involved on Giving Tuesday on your social media channels.

Giving Tuesday Resource Center

Make a Big Impact This Giving Tuesday

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