Make a difference this Giving Tuesday

Discover more about Giving Tuesday, and the impact it can have on charities like ShelterBox

27 November 2023

Two young boys sitting on the floor and smiling in Somalia

During the run up to the festive season, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a sea of commercialism. Adverts designed to pull the heartstrings also tell us that these are the gifts we want to buy. And this seems to be at its peak around Black Friday and Cyber Monday with a storm a special offers.

However, an antidote to this follows swiftly with Giving Tuesday. This is a day to celebrate the work of charities and help others. In this blog we’ll be looking at the history behind Giving Tuesday, and why it means so much to charities like us. 

What is Giving Tuesday?

People posing holding green bags with ShelterBox logo
Team members with the bags made in the Philippines to hold ShelterBox aid


Giving Tuesday came about as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The day after Thanksgiving in the USA was long known as the busiest shopping day of the year. It started becoming known as Black Friday. This is partly because police in some cities disliked the large crowds and traffic on the day. Retailers also said it was the first day of the year they turned a profit. (Known as going ‘into black’ as opposed to ‘being in the red’. This relates to the coloured inks traditionally used in bookkeeping). To attract shoppers this day, shops started offering discounts and sales. This spread to the Black Friday sales we know today. Although other countries such as the UK don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, retailers started offering discounts on Black Friday to rival those in the USA to stop shoppers looking elsewhere for their bargains. In Welsh, Black Friday is called ‘Dydd Gwener y Gwario Gwirion’. This means silly spending Friday, or Foolish Friday! 

Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday. Retailers started noticing a trend that online sales peaked this day. It was thought that people who failed to find what they wanted on Black Friday turned to the internet to find gifts and bargains. As such many retailers also had special offers for this date.  

Giving Tuesday was developed by charities in the USA. It aims to encourage charitable giving, and to celebrate generosity. It also encourages people to express solidarity with others through charity work and donations. Giving Tuesday is the day following Cyber Monday. It is popular on social media, with the hashtag #GivingTuesday highlighting posts by and relating to charities. As with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it has increased in popularity and spread beyond the USA. 

So, does it matter?

Woman with a bag of aid in Ukraine
Natalia received aid from ShelterBox and ReliefAid in Ukraine


It might be tempting to dismiss Giving Tuesday as a gimmick. However it has had a major impact by focusing attention on charities and their work. 

By giving one day for everyone to focus on together it really throws the spotlight on to charities. It has also attracted large corporations as partners and sponsors, increasing its reach. 

The impact of Giving Tuesday has been such that an extra Giving Tuesday was held in May 2020. It aimed to encourage donations to charity during the pandemic. It also highlighted the valuable working being done by charities during this time.  

How can I help charities for Giving Tuesday? 

Someone serving someone else cake at a bake sale
This bake sale was held by a church group to raise funds for ShelterBox


If you are inspired by Giving Tuesday there are many ways you can help your favourite charities. (Although top tip, these work the rest of the year too!)

  1. Volunteer – Many charities rely on the work of volunteers to be able to complete their work. Here at ShelterBox we have around 250 volunteers helping us! As such, if you can why not pledge some time to help your favourite charity? Volunteering tasks can vary a lot between charities. But there is often something available for anyone who wants to get involved! If you’re not sure which charity to support, look out for those who have met the Investing in Volunteers standard. By doing so they have demonstrated how they support their volunteers. We were thrilled to achieve the Investing in Volunteers standard earlier this year. Learn more about this in our recent blog. 
  2. Fundraise – Fundraisers do an incredible job raising funds for their favourite charities each year. And there are so many ways people can raise funds! Adventurous folks can be sponsored for activities such as skydiving or bungee jumping. Those up for a physical challenge could try walks, runs, swims, or marathons. Other possibilities include a coffee morning, or making and selling crafts or bakes. We’ve seen some wonderful challenges undertaken by ShelterBox’s fundraisers. These include 100-mile walks to 15,000 feet sky dives! Many charities will try to support their fundraisers any way they can. You can learn more about fundraising for ShelterBox on our website here. 
  3. Share – Sometimes helping a charity can be as simple as talking about them! By sharing what your favourite charity is up to, you are raising awareness of their cause, work and impact. Talking about their work might attract new volunteers, donors, or fundraisers. While charities work hard to promote what they do, word of mouth is still an immensely powerful tool. So why not chat about your favourite charity with friends? Or share their website or social media posts? Or just react and comment on social media posts to help make them more visible – everything helps! For ShelterBox you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X / Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. And if you’d like to be kept up to date with a charity’s latest news, consider signing up for their mailing list. You can sign up to our mailing list here.
  4. Donate – It’s no secret that times are tough at the moment. The cost-of-living crisis is impacting everyone. But if you can, donating to your favourite charity can make a real difference. Any amount will be greatly appreciated and go towards continuing their work. ShelterBox, like many other charities, receives no money from government. We are entirely dependent on donations to continue our work. As such any donation, big or small, is invaluable. You can donate to us here. And for a week from Giving Tuesday (28th November – 5th December 2023) we are taking part in the Big Give, where donations to support our work in Chad will be match funded up to £25,000 – doubling the impact! You can donate to us through the Big Give here.

Making an Impact

Man sat inside a tent in Syria
Jassim and his family’s apartment was damaged in the earthquake in north Syria


The impact of Giving Tuesday will vary by charity. But any and all shares, donations, fundraising, and volunteering can make a huge difference!

For us, our supporters allow us to support people like Jassim. He and his family had moved to a small apartment to escape the conflict where they used to live in Syria. Unfortunately, the apartment was badly damaged in the earthquake on 6th February 2023. Jassim and his family were at home when the earthquake hit. They ran outside with stones almost hitting them. Afterwards they sought medical attention from a nearby hospital. The effect on Jassim’s children was profound. “After leaving the hospital, the children were in a state of great fear – the shock they experienced in the earthquake, watching the buildings falling while we were running away… The thing that affected [the children] the most was the conditions of the people fleeing and the sounds that were heard.” 

After the disaster Jassim and his family had to move to a small camp. Here they received a tent and other aid items from ShelterBox, working in partnership with Bahar Organisation. “The biggest benefit from the shelter materials was the tent, it allowed us to have our own space.” Jassim said. The family also received cash assistance, allowing them to buy what they needed. “We bought toys for the children, the food they were asking for, and new clothes. 

Looking ahead, Jassim hopes that his home can be repaired, and that his children will have a better life. 

Jassim and his family are one of many ShelterBox has helped through donations. And charities everywhere will have their own stories about the impact charitable support has had! 

Thank you!

Woman smiling outside a brick shelter with a metal roof in Cameroon
Haoua was supported in Cameroon to create a more durable shelter


To anyone who supports our work, through shares, donations, volunteering or fundraising, we would like to say thank you! Your help, on Giving Tuesday and throughout the year, makes everything we do possible.