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Every year around this time, the term “Giving Tuesday” starts circulating in schools, daycares, and even some businesses. In addition to being a great fundraising opportunity, for parent-teacher organizations, this is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference.
But what does getting involved with Giving Tuesday actually mean and how can you ensure your efforts make the maximum impact?
Let’s take a look at Giving Tuesday, what it means, and how you can participate.
What Is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is exactly what it sounds like; a day where people make a conscious effort to embrace generosity. What started as a simple idea back in 2012 has become a day of giving recognized internationally by organizations and individuals alike.
The concept of “giving” isn’t necessarily specific to donating money or goods—it’s a broader definition that could include giving time, giving attention, giving a platform, or even just giving positivity. To quote the official Giving Tuesday Website, “…every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to contribute toward building the better world we all want to live in.”
When Is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is always the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It was initially developed as a way to balance out some of the intense consumerism we see on Cyber Monday—almost like a positive bookend. We give thanks on Thanksgiving Thursday, save in stores on Black Friday, save online on Cyber Monday, then show generosity on Giving Tuesday.
For the next five years, Giving Tuesday falls on the following dates:
- 2022: November 29
- 2023: November 28
- 2024: December 3
- 2025: December 2
- 2026: December 1
How to Run a Successful Giving Tuesday Campaign
Before getting started, it’s best to see what kind of resources are already available. For instance, this teacher toolkit gives an excellent framework of what can be done at a classroom level.
Once you’ve looked at what’s already available to you, you can start building your own school-wide strategy.
Find Out What’s Happening in Your Community
Your area may have an organized Giving Tuesday chapter already! If they do, it’s a great idea to find out what their plans are. If their initiatives line up with your school’s values and priorities, there may be ways for you to participate in a pre-existing plan.
You can find out if there’s an established community movement in your area here.
Even if there isn’t an official Giving Tuesday group near you, there’s still value in looking into local charities, initiatives, and projects. You may find something that resonates deeply with the students, parents, and teachers at your school.
Personal investment in the cause plays a huge role in the success of your Giving Tuesday efforts—which leads us directly into the next point.
Choose Your Cause(s) & Set Your Goals
Giving Tuesday does not necessarily have to benefit any particular cause. But your campaign is more likely to find success and make an impact if you choose one or two specific causes to support.
If you really want the buy-in of your students and their families, choose a cause that either directly impacts them or impacts people they know. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with international projects like digging wells in underdeveloped nations. The only concern is the concept may feel very abstract to kids who have never lacked clean water before.
If you do choose to focus on an international issue, take some time to introduce students and their families to some thought experiments surrounding the issue—encourage them to imagine themselves in the center of the issue. Providing this kind of context makes the cause seem less foreign, inspiring more engagement.
Once you’ve selected your cause, set a goal. People struggle to stay engaged with an issue that doesn’t have a solution. Unfortunately, most of the issues we try to address during days like Giving Tuesday do not have a simple solution. Setting a goal makes your efforts feel more like a drop in a bucket rather than a drop in the ocean.
Send Out Parent Emails
Of course, you will need parent buy-in to get traction on your Giving Tuesday goals. Sending an email out to parents is a good way to keep them in the know.
Ideally, these emails will come as a drip campaign.
Send your first email at least two weeks before Giving Tuesday. Talk about what Giving Tuesday is and introduce the cause your school has chosen to support. Include links so parents can learn more about both Giving Tuesday and your cause. You should also talk a little bit about what you’re asking from parents (volunteer time, donations, etc) but you don’t need to go too far into detail.
Your next email should come one to two weeks before Giving Tuesday. This email should remind parents that Giving Tuesday is coming and go into more detail about the cause or organization the school will be supporting. This is a good time to give details on how families can contribute and support this cause.
Finally, you can send one more email two to five days before Giving Tuesday. This one can be a little bit shorter and remind readers the day is almost here and there’s still time for parents to sign up, collect donations, or do whatever it is you would like them to do.
Multiple emails may seem excessive, but parents are busy. Reminding them of the event and giving them slightly different information each time helps ensure Giving Tuesday doesn’t accidentally slip through the cracks.
Promote on Social Media
Whether it’s a Facebook group for your school’s parents, or an official school Instagram account, social media can play a huge role in the success of your Giving Tuesday campaign.
Start posting about the event at least two weeks beforehand. You can include background on what Giving Tuesday is, information about the cause your school is supporting, and details about how families can get engaged. Your posts don’t need to be quite as detailed as your emails, but can still serve as an excellent reminder.
Be aware, if you use Giving Tuesday hashtags, your photos may end up on the official Giving Tuesday social media accounts. You must not post photos of students with those hashtags unless their parents know their child may end up on an international social media account, and are willing to consent.
Giving Tuesday Fundraiser Ideas
There are countless great ideas for fundraising out there. Here are just a few to get you started.
Ask local businesses to match donations up to a certain amount. This strategy doubles the impact your school can make. Learn more about corporation donation matching with FutureFund.
Fun Donation Incentives
If you have some school staff that are willing to participate, you can add incentives that kids will love to see. For example, maybe at a certain number of donations, the male teachers will perform a silly choreographed dance, or for a certain dollar amount, the principal will dye their hair a crazy color.
Involve Local Celebrities
Whether it’s athletes, comedians, or even social media influencers, you may have some notable people nearby who are willing to help you out. Hosting a comedy night, a Q&A session, or even a meet and greet can raise a good amount of money in ticket sales.
School Garage Sales
Most households have at least one box of stuff they’d like to get rid of. Coordinating school garage sales are a win-win because families can declutter and the school gets to donate the proceeds!
Remember the Message of Giving Tuesday
No matter how your school decides to approach Giving Tuesday, it’s important to recognize the opportunity it presents. Kids are inundated with toy commercials and product placement this time of year. Giving Tuesday allows adults to demonstrate the value of generosity on a local and international scale.