For those looking to tap into the spirit of giving this holiday season, Giving Tuesday is the perfect day to start. Especially because giving to charities that help others is the most basic act of kindness.
Whether you’re passionate about climate action, animal welfare, or human rights, there are numerous ways you can help make a difference. No matter how great the challenges the world faces—from habitat destruction to food insecurity and the looming climate crisis—there are countless organizations you can contribute to that are committed to making real change. And whether you have a lot to give or no money at all—every single act of giving helps.
Giving Tuesday was founded in 2012 by New York-based 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Giving Tuesday later spun out into its own organization in July 2019, led by its co-founder Asha Curran as CEO.
Held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the day of giving has become a global generosity movement aimed at encouraging people to do good by giving to causes in need.
The biggest giving day of the year, Giving Tuesday commences the holiday-driven charitable season, when donations to charities that support animal welfare, human rights, and climate change action are at their highest. But why should people donate on this day, specifically? Does giving to charity on Giving Tuesday make a bigger difference?
Why Donate to Charities On Giving Tuesday?
Donating to charity any time of year is a great way to give back to your community, and the world at large. But donating on Giving Tuesday has added benefits. Many organizations and institutions match donations made on this global day of giving.
To help raise awareness for various charitable causes and to encourage generosity amongst donors, Facebook will match $7 million in qualifying donations made on the social platform during GivingTuesday.
Some companies will also match their employees’ donations. If you’re looking to take part in the season of giving, be sure to ask your human resources department if your employer will match your donation on Giving Tuesday.
Milkywire also makes donating to charities easy by helping people support grassroots organizations around the world. The platform allows users to maximize their giving power by enabling them to see their impact. Once a donation is made, the app gives updates “directly from impacters” in the field so users are able to see how their donation is supporting the cause in real-time.
Giving has long-lasting health perks too. It’s no secret that giving to others can have long-lasting psychological benefits. A 2008 Harvard Business School study found that giving money to others made the participant happier than if they spent the money on themselves. A similar 2006 study out of the National Institutes of Health found that giving to charities activates a region of the brain associated with pleasure, trust, and social connection.
Which Charities Should You Donate to on Giving Tuesday?
Take part in the spirit of giving this holiday season. There are countless charities you can support. This Giving Tuesday, choose how you want to be a force for change. If you’re looking for more ways to give, here are 12 charities that are making a difference for the environment, animals, and people.
Climate Action Charities
Greenpeace works to expose environmental problems like pollution around the world. The charity also develops sustainable solutions “for a green and peaceful future.” With offices in more than 55 different countries, the charity has a laundry list of wins, including getting companies like ALDI and Bunnings to commit to 100% renewable electricity.
Learn more about Greenpeace here.
2. IDEAS for Us
This Orlando-based grassroots non-profit organization and accredited NGO of the United Nations works to create global environmental solutions through local action. IDEAS is also the parent non-profit of three programs: The IDEAS Hive, The IDEAS Solutions Fund, and Fleet Farming. The former works with local communities to “create real change in a city or college campus.” The latter is an urban agriculture enterprise that converts urban lawn spaces into micro-farms. And the Solutions Fund is a micro-granting platform that enables people to engage with global environmental projects. To date, the organization has helped build 17 school gardens, rebuilt habitats in 16 different countries, and helped clean 53 waterways.
Learn more about IDEAS for Us here.
3. Environmental Defense Fund
Founded in 1967, this charity is one of the world’s leading environmental organizations. EDF works to stabilize the climate, transform the global energy system, and create more sustainable methods of growing food. It also works to protect the world’s oceans and to create healthier environments for all. Due to EDF’s efforts, four million acres of land have been protected that house 63 rare species. EDF Climate Corps fellows have also helped uncover $1.6 billion in energy savings for top companies since 2008.
Learn more about the Environmental Defense Fund here.
Animal Welfare Charities
1. Farm Sanctuary
Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary works to combat the abuses of factory farming and animal agriculture. The non-profit has two sanctuaries—one in Los Angeles and one in Watkins Glen, New York—that house nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals. Farm Sanctuary also advocates for institutional reforms in the food industry and promotes cruelty-free, plant-based living.
Learn more about Farm Sanctuary here.
2. Animal Legal Defense Fund
ALDF works to help exploited animals. The organization provides free legal assistance and training to people who fight injustices against animals. It also files “high-impact lawsuits” to protect animals against cruelty. ALDF supports animal protection legislation and assists animal law students to advance in their field. The organization is currently working 53 cases in 19 states and 36 federal cases in 8 circuits.
Learn more about the Animal Legal Defense Fund here.
3. Sea Turtle Conservancy
If you’re a fan of marine creatures, this organization just might be for you! STC was founded in 1959 in Gainesville, Florida. The organization focuses on research and conservation efforts of sea turtles around the world. With six decades of international sea turtle conservation experience, the organization works to get protective laws passed and establish refuges to help preserve marine turtle habitats.
Learn more about Sea Turtle Conservancy here.
Human and Civil Rights Charities
1. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood has been around for more than 100 years. The non-profit organization provides sexual health care in the U.S. and other parts of the world. With more than 600 health centers in the U.S., Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of services, including birth control, abortions, cancer screenings, and pregnancy care. According to the charity, Today, more than four million Americans rely on affordable family planning services through Title X, of which about 1.5 million depend on Planned Parenthood health centers for care.
Learn more about the Planned Parenthood Federation of America here.
2. Black Lives Matter
BLM was founded in July 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer. The foundation works in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
Learn more about Black Lives Matter here.
3. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is one of the nation’s leading civil rights and legal organizations fighting against racial injustice. The legal arm of the civil rights movement, the organization uses litigation, public education, and advocacy to promote criminal justice, economic justice, and political participation. One of the organization’s most well-known campaign’s culminated in the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawed racial segregation in public education facilities.
Learn more about the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund here.
Food Justice Charities
1. Soil Generation
This Philadelphia-based Black- and Brown-led coalition of farmers and gardeners is cultivating food justice. The organization works to ensure people of color have access to quality, plant-based foods and green spaces.
Learn more about Soil Generation here.
2. Support + Feed
Maggie Baird, the mother to vegan singer Billie Eilish, founded Support + Feed in March 2020 following the emergence of the coronavirus outbreak. The organization provides plant-based meals to those experiencing food insecurity in BIPOC and other underserved communities. It also helps support local vegan businesses that are struggling to stay open amid the pandemic. Support + Feed partnered with plant-based restaurants in Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia to deliver vegan meals to local communities.
Learn more about Support + Feed here.
3. Food Empowerment Project
With a mission to bring food justice to all, the FEP is a vegan food justice organization that promotes access to healthy, sustaining plant-based food for all communities. The organization has four primary campaigns: veganism, access to healthy food, chocolate, and farm worker rights. The group’s chocolate campaign works to inform consumers about child labor and slavery. It also works to get corporations to be transparent about where they source their cacao. The FEP compiled a list of more than 700 companies that make vegan chocolate that the group does and does not recommend. It works to advance farmworkers’ rights through the latter campaign.
Learn more about the Food Empowerment Project here.