“To give” is a verb that is widely understood, but has many different applications. You can give time. You can give money. You can give a hand to a neighbor in need. Giving may look, sound, and feel different across languages and cultures, but at its core giving is an inherent part of human nature.

We—the team at 92nd Street Y—are blessed to have witnessed giving at work on a day-to-day basis through #GivingTuesday. Founded in 2012, #GivingTuesday has proven that the world can come together to do good. From Australia to Brazil and Kenya to the UK, #GivingTuesday is a new global holiday that unites people—no matter their age, language, or background—for one common purpose: to give back.

As the movement has grown over the past three years, we have learned invaluable lessons about how charities can participate in #GivingTuesday. Some ideas include:

  1. Set a goal and try something new. Data shows that the majority of organizations that set a goal for #GivingTuesday achieve that goal. It is a great opportunity to try something new and to leverage the energy and excitement of the day to experiment. Dress for Success, for instance, completely re-branded #GivingTuesday as #GivingShoesDay, and encouraged women to donate their professional shoes to their closest Dress for Success affiliate to help disadvantaged women get back to work. #GivingShoesDay invited participants to take pride in their giving and served as a fun reminder of the work Dress for Success does throughout the year.
  2.  Make a matching campaign and go social. “Double the impact of your gift,” “Make Your Gift Go Further,” “New donors will be matched” – are all fantastic examples of how organizations leveraged a match to get new or increased donations on #GivingTuesday. For example, Michael J. Fox Foundation received a $100,000 matching grant from a long-time supporter for #GivingTuesday. The Foundation asked donors to give against the match and to share their #UNselfies—or selfless selfies—about why they support the Foundation. Altogether, they raised more than $348,200 on #GivingTuesday in addition to the $100,000 match. They also shared 107 #UNselfies and received over 5,000 word of mouth endorsements supporting the Foundation on social media. 
  3. Make everyday #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday is about so much more than just one day. Use the holiday to kick-off a larger capital or end-of-year campaign, or to make every Tuesday a day to give. St. Jean the Baptiste High School in New York celebrated its 85th anniversary by launching the “85 Acts of Kindness” campaign on #GivingTuesday 2014, which asked students in each homeroom class to perform a combined 85 acts of kindness by May 2016 and to post photos of their works to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #85KindActs. This type of campaign will have a lasting impact on the school community and is a great demonstration of how #GivingTuesday can be practiced everyday.

At the end of the day, there is no wrong way to get involved in #GivingTuesday. It is, after all, just a hashtag—a conversation about generosity that invites anyone, anywhere to give. But it’s the acts of giving from organizations and individuals around the world that turns the conversation into action, and makes the movement a reality. Anyone can have an impact and a role in #GivingTuesday. The only question is how.

Kait Sheridan (@sheridankait) is director of Partnerships & Programs, Center for Innovation & Social Impact, 92Y