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Small Business Giving Tuesday Ideas

November 16, 2020
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
November 16, 2020 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

Every year, many businesses gear up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, rolling out massive sales, prepping their stores, and extending hours for maximum traffic. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, these commercial “holidays” will certainly look and feel a bit different. Even still, after the dust settles, the season of giving commences—starting with Giving Tuesday. 

What exactly is Giving Tuesday and how can small businesses participate? Read on for inspiration.

Giving Tuesday: The What & Why 

Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday right after American Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It’s an international day of service and goodwill to “balance the culture of commercialization” that often sets in around those times, and kickstart the season of—as the name suggests—giving! 

For one day of the year, businesses turn their attention away from profit margins and sales to focus on giving back to the community. 

While some argue it’s easy for large corporations to use this day as a photo-op for their good deeds, it’s equally important for small businesses in the community to engage in meaningful service. Plus, as a small local business, this day presents an important opportunity to build relationships with your most valuable customers: your neighbors. 

Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to be a flashy display. Here are five ways to make a real impact right in your neighborhood, and maybe have a little fun, too.

#1 Donate Your Time & Effort to the Local Community

Hands-on service is one of the most meaningful ways to give back. It’s not about donating money, but about giving up your time and labor to do something with tangible results. 

As a business owner, you can give your employees the day off to volunteer somewhere local or plan a company-wide day of service. Here are a few easy ways to do it:

  • Work at a local soup kitchen
  • Pack and deliver supply kits to under-served community members
  • Plant or tend to a community garden
  • Volunteer to visit an elderly home or children’s hospital
  • Collect and distribute used clothes, linens, and necessities for a local shelter

You can even invite other members of your community to join you in your efforts. This will amplify the impact you can make while engaging your neighbors and friends in your Giving Tuesday endeavors. 

#2 Donate A Portion of Sales to A Local Organization

Donating is a tried-and-true way of giving back (and by tying them to products or services, it might just increase sales at the same time). 

Choose a nonprofit or charity that aligns with your company’s values and identity. It can even be fun to find a connection between what you do and what they do—for example, donating to the local YMCA if you own a fitness center, or to No Kid Hungry if you run a restaurant or bakery. 

If you’re looking to make a big impact and a bigger donation, consider creating a limited time product or offering with 100% of profits going to your charity of choice. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few examples: 

  • A Giving Tuesday teacake
  • An exclusive T-shirt design or tote bag
  • Buy one, get one free gift cards—one to keep, one to give away 

An exclusive item on sale for one day only is a great incentive, especially for loyal customers who want the latest limited edition release. And donating your profit margin signals that you want to make as much of an impact as possible—hopefully, others will be inclined to join you. 

#3 Host A Fun Event

If you have a COVID-safe space, you can try hosting a special event with a small fee that you’ll then donate to a specific cause—you can even let the event attendees nominate charities and vote on which organization their money will go to. 

You can also go virtual, think about virtual Giving Game Night or donation-based group cooking tutorials for everyone at your company—there are no limits to the kind of virtual day you can plan.

An event like this has a few distinct benefits:

  • It acquaints people with your business – By inviting the broader community, this presents a fun and easy way to get people through the doors of your store. It gives them an opportunity to see what you do and who you are in a meaningful way. 
  • Your business becomes a source of enjoyment – If customers enjoy their experience at an event, they might be more likely to come back on a regular day. They now equate your store with a good time.
  • You build a local community – A small business relies on their neighbors, who sometimes become family over time. Not only would this spark a relationship between you and your customers, but it would also form bonds between other customers—plus, you can connect face-to-face in a sales-free environment.

With this year bringing shelter-in-place mandates and social distancing protocols, providing a COVID-safe space (in-person or virtual) for a fun event can be the spark of joy the community needs. What can be better than giving that this Giving Tuesday? 

Considerations for Moving Your Event Online

As you’re probably aware, in-person events can be a bit tricky with current COVID-19 restrictions. If you can’t offer a safety-compliant alternative, then a fun online event is going to be the better option. 

Anything is possible on the Internet these days. Try one of these Giving Tuesday ideas if they fit with your business model:

  • A live stream concert with local bands
  • A speaker series to offer your business’ expertise
  • An at-home cooking class—you could even ship the ingredients to the participants’ homes if, for example, you make certain spreads or products in-house
  • A virtual dance class or work out
  • An arts and crafts DIY tutorial that uses your company’s yarn and knitting needles, or signature paint kits

A virtual event has the same perks as an in-person day of fun, plus a few bonuses:

  • Unlimited attendance—more people to share the day with 
  • Lower expenses
  • Potentially a bigger donation made on behalf of your business!

#4 Conduct An Online Fundraising Campaign

This idea works especially well when your options are limited as businesses migrate online due to the current safety restrictions. You can use your website, Nextdoor Business Page, and social media accounts to advertise, encourage people to donate by offering incentives, and track your progress. 

A great way to generate customer interest is by creating donation price-anchors and announcing the impact for each price point for your Tuesday campaign:

  • Understanding the value of their donation – Let potential donors know how their donation helps. For example, does that $30 donation go to buying a child’s school lunch for the next month?  
  • Meeting incremental goals – Have you set a fundraising goal for your fundraising campaign? Update your customers with what you’ll be able to give based on the current donation amount and next price tier. The value of the charitable donations should increase with each price point. For example, if you’re sticking to a school-based theme: $10 buys crayons and pencils, $100 equals new sports equipment, $500 gets textbooks, and $1000 pays for a new jungle gym. 
  • Offering a customer bonus – As the final tier of your donation pyramid, you can offer something exciting for customers for their charitable donations—for example, a store-wide customer appreciation day with discounts and special offerings if you reach your ultimate goal. 


Research suggests that donors contribute more when they are directly helping the organization achieve their final goal. This is why it’s so important to update your customers and fellow community members as you get closer and closer to the finish line.

You can easily turn your fundraising Tuesday campaign into an exciting experience, with giveaways, regular updates, and compelling content about the organization receiving your donations. 

Sharing Giving Tuesday With Your Community

The first step to a successful Giving Tuesday campaign is to decide on your approach or idea. From there, you’ll want to get the word out so you can reach more potential donors. Nextdoor helps members find local businesses, leave recommendations, and connect with the surrounding community for all things neighborhood-related. Giving Tuesday is no exception.

So how can Nextdoor help you increase your reach and boost your positive impact?

  • Local members can access your Nextdoor Business Page to learn more about your business, your core values, and your products—then, they can leave recommendations about how much they enjoyed your Giving Tuesday sale, which helps increase your visibility.
  • Target neighbors who might actually participate in your special Giving Tuesday event. Nextdoor verifies addresses to ensure your business is being seen by locals.
  • Promote your upcoming Giving Tuesday sale or limited edition product using Local Deals.
  • Use business posts to connect with the community, promote special events, and share updates about your goals and progress.

This Giving Tuesday, you can take things to the next level while keeping it local.

Lean Into the Giving Spirit

Giving Tuesday is one day out of 365. It’s a great time to invest in your community and come together with your neighbors, but it doesn’t have to be the start and end of your goodwill this season. 

With Nextdoor, you can connect with locals that live nearby year-round and show that you are a neighborly business.

They might even have a great idea for a Giving Tuesday event or promotion—try asking them on your next Business Post and see what they come up with!



GlobalGiving. The Psychology of Giving: What Rewards Motivate Donors? 

Eventbrite. Millennials: Fueling the Experience Economy. 

Merchant Maverick. Giving Tuesday for Small Businesses: Why Your Company Should Get Involved, Plus 5 Fun & Clever Ways You Can Participate.

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting businesses, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook.

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting business, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook

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