The only things more closely associated with Thanksgiving than turkey and family are shopping and consumerism. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, it can be all too easy to forget that this time of year is also a time for generosity and selflessness.
That’s where Giving Tuesday comes in. Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is an annual, global day of giving—of money and of time—on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
What started as an idea among co-workers has grown into a multi-million dollar international day of fundraising, a trending hashtag (#GivingTuesday), and essentially a holiday of its own in the nonprofit sector.
This year, Giving Tuesday falls on November 28 (tomorrow!). It’s not too late to make plans for a meaningful Giving Tuesday 2017, and if you’re currently looking for a job, marking Giving Tuesday can also help you in your search.
To be clear: We’re not suggesting that donating money to an organization you’d like to work for will help you get the job. Instead, here are three non-monetary ways to mark Giving Tuesday that can make you a stronger job candidate and help you find the right social-impact job.
Learn more about Giving Tuesday and its impact on the nonprofit sector
Giving Tuesday 2016 was one for the record books, with donations made that day totaling $168 million—up by 44% since Giving Tuesday 2015.
Being well-versed in an event that has become so important to the nonprofit sector can help you in your job search and interviews. It’s always good to be able to demonstrate that you understand your field, especially if you’re trying to switch from the private sector.
Here are some fast facts about Giving Tuesday to help you out:
- It was started in 2012 by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y to help people reconnect with the charitable spirit of the holiday season after the advent of consumer-centric Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
- The idea spread quickly, with the United Nations Foundation developing the communications strategy and helping Giving Tuesday go international.
- Social media is a huge component—and actually, one of the goals—of Giving Tuesday. The idea is to harness the power of social media to unite people across countries and across charitable causes in a global, collective day of giving.
- Instead of an isolated event, many organizations use Giving Tuesday to kick off their year-end fundraising campaign. And for good reason: The online donation portal Network for Good found that customers who used Giving Tuesday to kick off their annual fundraising campaign raised, on average, five times more in their year-end campaigns.
This knowledge is going to be extra beneficial if you’re applying for a development or social media position because you’d probably have a role in the organization’s Giving Tuesday campaign. Brushing up on these facts can also help you feel at ease when you’re networking with other development or social media professionals around this time of year.
If you find yourself in an interview around Giving Tuesday 2017, you could suggest ways to improve or build on the organization’s campaign next year. Just be careful when making suggestions because you don’t have all the knowledge about the organization’s goals, capabilities, and procedures. You want to strike a balance between demonstrating your expertise without presuming that you know everything about the organization and can do a better job than they do.
Follow the #GivingTuesday social media campaigns of the organizations you’re interested in
This is an easy way to gain insight into how an organization communicates its work to a wide audience and how they interact with supporters—two things you’ll want to know if you’re hoping to work for them one day.
But don’t feel obligated to participate in the organization’s campaign. By passively following their #GivingTuesday campaign, you can gain insight while maintaining boundaries between your personal social media presence and that of the organization.
Pro Tip: Following a #GivingTuesday social media campaign also gives you something specific about an organization’s work to reference in a cover letter or interview. Did you like the selfie campaign they encouraged donors to participate in? Let them know, and explain what you liked about it!
Volunteer for an organization that you’d like to work for one day
Much of the narrative around Giving Tuesday is about giving money, but you can also give your time. Volunteering is a great way to gain valuable skills and get to know an organization, and it can even lead to a job opportunity down the road.
Follow these steps to explore how to give your time on Giving Tuesday:
- First, ask yourself what you want out of a Giving Tuesday volunteer opportunity. Are you looking for a one-time volunteer opportunity or a longer-term commitment? Is there a specific skill you’re hoping to learn, or a specific type of work you want to do? There are many different types of volunteer opportunities, and getting clear on your goals before you start contacting organizations can help ensure that the volunteer opportunity you choose is the best one for you.
- If you’re not sure where you want to volunteer, you can check the Giving Tuesday list of participating organizations or search for volunteer opportunities on Idealist.org.
- If you already have an organization in mind, contact the person who manages volunteers and ask about volunteer opportunities on Giving Tuesday, or in general. Our Get Started Volunteering guide has a list of questions you can ask when evaluating a volunteer opportunity.
No matter how you choose to mark Giving Tuesday 2017, we hope you find it fulfilling. And if any of these tips helps you get a job, let us know!
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As a nonprofit advocacy professional living in Washington, D.C., Deborah works with groups across the country to educate their communities and lawmakers about public policies that can help low-income residents make ends meet. She is passionate about helping people connect their interests to a cause they believe in and empowering them to take action.