What is Giving Tuesday? How the annual day encourages generosity

The annual charity event takes place every Tuesday after American Thanksgiving

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. April 26, 2015///

Petroleum Institute's Academic Bridge Program students raised a total 1,885 Kilos of clothes for charity in cooperation with the Emirates Red Crescent. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National 

Reporter: Ayesha Al Khoori 
Section: National  *** Local Caption ***  150426-MM-Clothingdrive-002.JPG
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After discounted shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s another annual day that may be less well known, but is certainly more altruistic.

Called Giving Tuesday, the annual event is held the Tuesday after American Thanksgiving, and encourages people to give to charity and communities close to their heart.

Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York and the United Nations Foundation, the idea behind it is for people to do good through generosity after several days of rampant consumption. The first Giving Tuesday was thought to have raised about $10 million.

Over the years, the idea has grown into a movement, culminating in it becoming an independent non-profit organisation in 2019.

“GivingTuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity, and equity around the globe,” says its website.

Although it started in the US, Giving Tuesday takes place worldwide in 80 countries, including the UK, China, Ghana, Nepal and Lebanon.

It has also been backed by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Emerson Collective, Fidelity Charitable, the Ford Motor Company and PayPal, to name a few groups that have given support.

However, the concept doesn’t only apply to big companies, but also individuals to do their parts in helping others.

How to take part in Giving Tuesday

For those who want to participate, there are a number of ways to do so. The movement encourages any type of generosity, even if it’s something as simple as showing kindness to a neighbour or volunteering to a worthy cause close to your heart.

There’s also supporting local communities through clothing or toy donations or even monetary donations through a registered UAE charity. Even spreading awareness and getting word out about the campaign counts.

“While many call on philanthropists, policymakers and grantmakers to repair broken systems, GivingTuesday recognises that we each can drive an enormous amount of positive change by rooting our everyday actions, decisions and behavior in radical generosity,” says the website.

“The concept that the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering. Radical generosity invites people in to give what they can to create systemic change,” says the website.

Five ways to take part in Giving Tuesday in the UAE

If you want to take part in the UAE, here are five ideas to help get you started.

Emirates Red Crescent

The volunteer humanitarian organisation makes it very easy to help donate to the less fortunate on their website. In addition to monetary donations, you can also sponsor an orphan or sign up to be a volunteer through their portal.

The Emirates Airline Foundation

Do you have unused Skywards Miles that you don't plan on using? You can donate them to the Emirates Airline Foundation and they will be used to sponsor travel for doctors, surgeons, engineers and other professionals volunteering on humanitarian missions around the world.

Animal rescue groups

Give old supplies to local animal charities such as Stray Dogs Centre, K9 Friends Dubai or Animals and Us. Rescue groups are always in need of cat and dog food and supplies (litter trays and travel crates for example), but even something as simple as extra towels, linens or bedsheets are also helpful as they can be repurposed. You can also volunteer your time as a dog walker or foster an animal in need.


If you’re looking for a way to volunteer, visit volunteers.ae – a portal that helps connect people with volunteer opportunities. This include virtual and in-person events all around the UAE. Events are listed by date, time and how many volunteers are needed.

Thrift Distribution and Books Trading

You can donate (and even exchange) your old books to the secondhand book store in Abu Dhabi. Located on Hamdan Street, Thrift Distribution and Books Trading accepts most books for donation but asks that fiction/non-fiction books be exchanged, while school/academic books only be exchanged for the same.

Updated: November 30, 2021, 2:05 PM