Your organization is probably already planning holiday programming, but is #GivingTuesday on your radar? Held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a charitable response to the consumer craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this day is a critical day for ministries and nonprofits to raise both funds and awareness. But when you're already busy, understaffed, and have more than enough to plan, promote, and preach, it can be easy to put your #GivingTuesday plans on the back burner.

We're here to help! Over the next four weeks, we'll be posting helpful hints, tips and resources (including a free toolkit to download!) to help you make the most of this day.

What is Giving Tuesday?

So for starters, what is #GivingTuesday and why should your ministry or organization care?

Now in its third year, #GivingTuesday is a worldwide movement toward unifying charitable giving. It falls after Black Friday, traditionally a time when the U.S. proudly waves its wallet, and Cyber Monday, an online shopping day for the rest of us who don’t want to stand in a mile-long line for an Xbox.

#GivingTuesday is the brainchild of the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center based in New York, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The whole idea was to get people as excited about giving as they are about scoring a great deal on an HDTV.

Leveraging the power of #GivingTuesday is the smart thing to do to. Check out the beautiful social "noise" generated last year alone (and remember, this was just year two):

The #GivingTuesday hashtag was used 269,000 times on #GivingTuesday.

  • Nearly 3,500 social media ambassadors pledged to support #GivingTuesday.
  • Articles were posted on The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Guardian.
  • Most impressive is the astronomical growth #GivingTuesday saw just in its second year. In 2013, online giving was up 90% for 3,800 nonprofits (data via Blackbaud) compared to 2012. The average online gift last year was $142.05, which was significantly up from $101.60 in 2012.
  • #GivingTuesday just plain works. The United Methodist Church raised a record $6.5 million online last year on #GivingTuesday. Nearly 11,000 donors in 34 countries gave to missions and ministries they believe in. Global Ministries matched the first $500,000 received, boosting the UMC’s #GivingTuesday results.

Simply put, #GivingTuesday is a no brainer. Your community is already in a giving spirit during the holidays. Why not harness the charitable spirit of this global movement to communicate with your supporters, promote your cause, and boost funding?

Now that you know what Giving Tuesday is all about, be sure to take the first step and register your nonprofit or organization on the official #GivingTuesday website: http://www.givingtuesday.org/join/. Our next post will outline simple, but effective, ways your ministry or nonprofit can participate.

#GivingTuesday is just 2 months away! Circle December 1 on your calendars, start brainstorming ways you can leverage this social move toward something significant, and stay tuned for a new hint each week!

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