Giving Tuesday is a "global generosity movement" celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the US to encourage charitable giving during the holiday season.
After a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising global inequality, climate change, and racial injustice, supporting others and being generous is more crucial than ever in 2020.
Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, holidays that encourage people to shop and spend money on material items. But Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to give back and support organizations helping to unleash everyone's dignity, opportunity, and potential around the world.
Giving Tuesday was first created in 2012 to encourage people to do good during the holiday season. Over the past nine years, the event has grown into a movement that inspires people worldwide to give back.
Especially during the pandemic, Giving Tuesday believes that generosity is key to bringing people of different races, faiths, and political views together.
Giving Tuesday encourages people to donate money to organizations dedicated to doing good, but there are multiple ways you show your generosity and celebrate the day beyond donating money.
Here are some ways for you to celebrate Giving Tuesday meaningfully this year.
1. Support Global COVID-19 Initatives
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s lives in 2020. As we enter the holiday season, cases of the virus are continuing to rise around the world. It is increasingly urgent that the global community comes together to stop the spread of the virus and find a vaccine.
You can donate to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to help the global community understand the spread of the virus better, ensure that patients get the care that they need, and make sure essential health care workers can work safely.
You can also celebrate Giving Tuesday by giving back to health care workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reach out to your local hospitals and clinics to see if you can support health care workers by cooking meals or delivering food.
If you know any health care workers personally, you can embrace the spirit of Giving Tuesday by helping them with their daily tasks or providing emotional support to show them your appreciation.
You can also raise awareness about the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which launched in April 2020 and brings together politicians, philanthropists, and members of the scientific community to speed up the end of the pandemic. The ACT Accelerator focuses on developing lifesaving resources against COVID-19 as soon as possible and ensuring everyone, everwhere, has access to them.
2. Donate to Organizations Supporting Global Health Beyond COVID-19
Although COVID-19 has captured the world's attention and resources, people around the world still need access to health care that has been disrupted due to the pandemic.
You can support Partners in Health, which provides high-quality health care — from cancer and chronic disease to maternal and mental health treatment — to those who need it most.
You can also donate to The Global Fund to make sure that the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria is not overshadowed by the pandemic. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is also working to strengthen global health care infrastructure and provide everyone with vaccines for diseases. Your donation to these organizations can help keep these vital services running despite the pandemic.
And if you can't donate financially on Giving Tuesday, you can still support the medical community by donating blood. Even though most COVID-19 patients do not need blood transfusions, many patients around the world still need them. If you are not medically fit or are otherwise unable to donate blood, you can also volunteer at a blood drive and donate your time instead.
3. Support Global Education and Children Around the World
The pandemic has caused the largest disruption to students' education in history, and 1.6 billion learners have been affected around the world.
You can donate to organizations like the Education Trust, which focuses on supporting students of color and students from low-income families in the United States.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is another organization that works to keep students in school during humanitarian crises and emergencies. ECW works with governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector to develop comprehensive educational programs.
As more and more students turn to online resources during the pandemic, you can also donate to organizations that support digital learning.
Khan Academy is working to ensure that everyone has access to free, high-quality learning materials including online courses that are translated into more than 36 languages and range from grammar lessons to AP Test prep support. If you can't donate, you can also look into volunteering to online tutor students in your community who are adjusting to virtual learning.
And although children are less likely to contract COVID-19, the pandemic has still put children’s lives and futures at risk. When traditional care providers like schools and nurseries had to close, children lost access to their usual support systems and were forced to spend time at home. However, not every household is safe for children, especially during times of financial crisis. During quarantine and isolation, girls are particularly at risk of gender-based violence. Economic stress has also forced some children to start working to support their families.
Donating to Save the Children can help develop social protection systems that can protect children in over 100 countries around the world. Its programming will help ensure children can return to school after the pandemic. A $150 donation can keep 100 children from going hungry during the pandemic, and a $300 gift can buy 60 hygiene kits to keep families clean and safe.
4. Support the Fight for Racial Justice
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in July and the subsequent Black Lives Matter marches further sparked a global movement demanding the end of racial injustice.
There are many different ways that you can take action for racial justice. You can donate to organizations like Color of Change, which is the largest online racial justice organization in the United States working to end violence against Black people and people of color. On Giving Tuesday, you can support one of its campaigns that range from demanding justice for those murdered by police offices to calling on politicians or those in power to make changes.
You can also take time to educate yourself about issues facing marginalized communities by reading books, watching movies, and listening to podcasts about policing, the criminal justice system, anti-racism, and more.
5. Use Your Voice, Take Action, and Spread Awareness
Instead of just donating your money, you can educate yourself on some of the most critical world issues in 2020.
One place to start is to learn about all of the United Nations’ 17 Global Goals that aim to eradicate poverty, inequality, and injustice by 2030.
Education is an essential part of organizing for change, and taking the time to arm yourself with the facts and evidence about the problems facing the world will help you be a more engaged citizen. You can also embrace the Giving Tuesday spirit by sharing your learnings with friends and family.
Take that one step further and take action based on what you've learned. Global Citizens are taking action for people and the planet every day, but Giving Tuesday is an extra opportunity to make your voice heard. You can take action with us across our core issues of gender equality, health, education, food & hunger, water & sanitation, and more by going to our Take Action page. You'll find a number of actions and campaigns — such as Act Together to Beat Coronavirus and Fight for a World Without Hunger — and can earn points toward current and future rewards.
You can also support other organizations leading impactful campaigns, such as Human Rights Watch, which investigates and reports on the abuse happening worldwide and develops advocacy campaigns to support the world’s most vulnerable. For example, the organization is currently running campaigns to eradicate chains used on patients with mental illness and for increased equality for the LGBTQ+ community in Japan.
6. Support Climate Action and Indigenous Peoples
Climate change is one of the most significant emergencies facing humanity, disproportionately affecting the world's most vulnerable. The United Nations’ Global Goal 13 Is dedicated to taking steps to prevent climate change to protect the earth and humanity.
In 2020 alone, the world has experienced unprecedented extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. From devastating wildfires in Australia to hurricanes in the Midwest in the United States, this year has shown the importance of combating climate change.
The Coalition for Rainforest Nations is an intergovernmental organization that spans over 50 rainforests and surrounding communities around the world, from Fiji to Bangladesh. The Founder’s Pledge, an organization that supports philanthropy, found that the coalition is one of the most impactful charities in the climate change sphere. According to the organization’s cost-effectiveness model in 2018, even a $0.12 donation to the organization can avert roughly a metric ton of CO2 emissions. Since the average American causes around 16 metric tons of emissions each year, you can offset your carbon footprint for less than $2 if you donate to the coalition.
You can find more organizations supporting rainforests and the Indigenous communities protecting them here.
7. Use Social Media to Start a Fundraiser
If you're not able to financially support an organization or have already donated, you can still embrace the spirit of Giving Tuesday by setting up a fundraiser on your social accounts.
For example, you can make a personal fundraiser on Facebook to encourage your friends and family to donate to an organization of your choice.
Instead of asking for gifts during the holidays, for example, you can encourage your friends and family to use the money toward supporting an organization.
8. Donate Your Credit Card or Airline Points
One option for people who want to support crucial organizations on Giving Tuesday without spending too much money is by changing the settings on your credit card or airline accounts to donate rewards.
To donate your rewards, go to the website where you would typically redeem them. Depending on how your loyalty program works, the organization you donate to will receive the donation differently: In some cases, the airline or credit card will convert your miles or points into cash before sending it to your organization. Other companies might use your points or miles to cover plane trips or hotel stays for their beneficiaries.
NerdWallet has a great explainer on how to donate your points here.
9. Shop With E-Commerce Sites That Do Good on Your Behalf
As the holiday season approaches amid the ongoing pandemic, many of us will likely be shopping online to stay safe. You can still support Giving Tuesday even in your day-to-day shopping by using vendors who will donate on your behalf.
Look for brands and small businesses that donate proceeds to impactful causes. If you use Amazon, you can swap to AmazonSmile to donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to the organization of your choice. Other e-commerce sites have rewards or special programs that allow you to give back to communities when you shop, or you can opt to group your shipments to decrease carbon emissions when your package ships to you.
There are also tools that make donating while shopping easy. Altruisto, for example, is a Google Chrome extension that has partnered with more than 1,000 brands like eBay, Etsy, Barnes & Noble, and more, and it makes charitable donations on your behalf from your online purchases.
Another option is to download the Good Deeds app so that every time you shop online with thousands of Good Deeds’ brand partners, you can give back to one of more than a million nonprofits. By shopping directly in the app, you automatically earn cash back and can donate some or all of those savings to your favorite cause at no extra cost.
10. Donate Your Time
Last but not least, more traditional volunteering is a worthy endeavor for Giving Tuesday and beyond, especially this year when so many are in need or unable to help. You can work at a food pantry or soup kitchen, deliver groceries to families, or join other community efforts. Even if you aren't able to volunteer on Giving Tuesday itself, use the day as an opportunity to sign up to help in the near future.
Look at platforms such as VolunteerMatch or Idealist for volunteering options near you, or simply use a search engine to search for “volunteering opportunities in [your town or city]." Check what COVID-19 safety protocols organizations have in place (and wear a mask!), and also look out for any remote opportunities you might be able to do from home.
Global Citizen accepts donations to fuel our advocacy campaigns. If you're interested in donating, go here.
UPDATE, Dec. 1, 2:15 p.m EST: This story has been updated to include additional resources on e-commerce sites.