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Corporate Social Responsibility

Giving Tuesday: The Humanity Behind Corporate Giving and Holiday Marketing

Celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is an international day of charitable giving. Here’s why it’s as important to your marketing strategy as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

illustration of two people tying a bow on a very large gift
Giving Tuesday is an international day of corporate giving; here’s why it should be a part of your organization’s holiday marketing plan. [Malte Müeller / Getty Images]

If your holiday marketing strategy doesn’t already include a strategy for Giving Tuesday, it’s time to create one. 

Celebrated the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 30, 2021), Giving Tuesday has emerged as a date in the holiday calendar as pivotal as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Simply put, Giving Tuesday is an international day of corporate giving. And with careful and timely planning, strategic messaging, and thoughtful storytelling, it’s a great opportunity for your organization to help build community and demonstrate leadership.

What is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season. Giving Tuesday is a celebration of corporate giving that allows everyone to give back. It used to be the day that nonprofits launched their holiday campaigns. Now it is the umbrella under which nonprofits, brands, and consumers alike highlight charitable giving and allow others an opportunity to take part.

Businesses can, for example:

  • Donate a percentage of total purchases from the day to a designated charity.
  • Give a percentage of proceeds or a dollar amount from the sale of a particular product to your designated charity.
  • Mention a charity partner and not make a specific financial commitment.
  • Match customer donations to a charity.

Thoughtful planning is key to corporate giving success

When planning for Giving Tuesday, everything from the selection of the charity to the messaging in your email matters.

For the best success in your corporate giving, be sure to:

  1. Define the charity. Is the charity the philanthropic arm to your organization or a partner?
  2. Consider how philanthropy resonates with your organization. This is the chance to speak from the heart about what matters to your organization beyond business. Share how the charity aligns with your organization’s core values. 
  3. Use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to educate. Let your customers, prospects, employees, and partners know about the valuable work done by your chosen nonprofit. People value “doing good” during the holiday season and they’re open to learning about new causes.
  4. Reach beyond Giving Tuesday. Highlight the philanthropic efforts your organization has participated in throughout the year. For many organizations, Giving Tuesday is often just the highlight of a year of good work.

Digital messaging for Giving Tuesday

For readers who are new to Giving Tuesday (and as a reminder to those with experience), here are some digital messaging best practices to keep in mind:

  • Launch your messaging across channels. This includes social media, email, SMS, and push, amongst others. As a key date on the holiday calendar, Giving Tuesday presents an opportunity for message amplification.
  • Reference the day by name. Giving Tuesday or #GivingTuesday should be referenced with prominence.
  • Tell your story. Motivate your readers with storytelling about someone affected by the cause, rather than just focusing on facts and statistics.

Many businesses and organizations do more than just sell products and services. They have a commitment to their community and corporate social responsibility. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to talk about the local and global issues that matter most to your organization. It’s very likely that those same issues will also matter to your customer base. Will you join the cause?

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