As a small business, we’re always on the lookout for ways we can give back to our communities and the many causes that we care about. By nature, small businesses don’t always have the capacity to give a large amount of time or resources, but there are plenty of opportunities to make an impact, especially around the holidays.

One of these opportunities is #GivingTuesday. Scheduled for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year (November 29th this year), Giving Tuesday was developed in response to the corporate retail madness around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As you may have already guessed, Giving Tuesday is all about giving back, and it’s become a pretty big deal. According to the Case Foundation, online giving on Giving Tuesday nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, reaching $116.7 million in donations last year.  As it continues to grow, an increasing number of businesses, from small local operations to large corporations, have found ways to get involved.

Though Giving Tuesday is over a month away, if your company is thinking about getting involved this year, now is the time to start developing your strategy, finding the right nonprofit partner, and developing any supporting collateral. Here’s how to get started:

Determine which organization(s) you’ll support

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Find an organization that is working to address a need in your community that aligns with your company values. How do you do that? Think through your corporate identity and what issues matter to your business and team. Then, think about the issues that are prevalent in your industry or community. Once you’ve come up with a couple of relevant issues, do some research into organizations that are addressing them, either locally or otherwise.

For example, Chicago-based flower company Flowers for Dreams is a small business that values its connection to the local community. They choose a different nonprofit partner to support each month, but each is focused on issues that are prevalent in Chicago specifically, such as RefugeeOne, which refunds the resettlement of refugees in the Chicago area, and NAMI Chicago, which is dedicated to supporting Chicagoans who struggle with mental illness. Check out this blog post for a more detailed process around building a social responsibility strategy that aligns with your company’s values.

Reach out to organization(s) to gauge their interest in a partnership

Once you’ve settled on a relevant organization, reach out to see if and how they’re participating in Giving Tuesday. If they’re taking part, they’ll be able to share their campaign strategy, and ideas for how you can best support their efforts so as to be as impactful as possible. After you’ve settled on the right partner and confirmed their interest, it’s time to make it official: sign up as a partner on the #GivingTuesday website.

Develop a workplace giving campaign

#GivingTuesday -- WhyWhisper Collective

Workplace giving is an incredibly effective way for companies to give back to causes they care about. And launching a workplace giving campaign around Giving Tuesday will likely mean that you’ll raise even more money for your cause than you would if you did so any other time of year. With 698,961 online individuals making contributions on Giving Tuesday last year, it’s a great way to get your campaign in front of those who otherwise might not have seen it. Starting or wrapping up your annual workplace giving campaign on Giving Tuesday is a great way to ensure that you start off strong, or make a final push to reach your goal.

In your workplace giving campaign, you can ask employees to make a contribution themselves or to raise a certain amount by reaching out to their personal networks. You can also consider implementing a matching policy, in which your company matches all gifts up to a certain amount or donations made on a certain day, so as to further incentivize employees to give back and reach fundraising goals.

Spread the word about your partner organization’s campaign

To further support your nonprofit partner’s #GivingTuesday campaign with relatively minimal effort, make a commitment to also spread the word amongst your networks. Follow them on their social media platforms, and share their message both on #GivingTuesday and in the weeks leading up to it. First, spread the word to your employees and tell them why you are supporting your partner organization, encouraging them to do the same. Share their campaign on your social platforms, and provide that copy to your employees as well so they can spread the word to their networks.

Go beyond money

#GivingTuesday: How Companies Can Take it to the Next Level - WhyWhisper Collective

While the primary purpose of #GivingTuesday is to raise funds, there are other ways you can support your partner organization as well. If you’re able, you can turn Giving Tuesday into a paid volunteer day, in which your team supports the cause in whichever way is most beneficial to your partner organization. If that’s not an option, you can hold an in-office drive, asking your team to bring in items from a list provided to you by your nonprofit partner. Before you develop this part of your strategy, be sure to connect with the organization you’ll be supporting – they’ll be in the best position to let you know about their specific needs.


Is your business or organization planning to participate in #GivingTuesday this year, or do you know of one that executed a particularly unique or successful campaign? Let us know! Here’s how: