If you’re like many Americans, you may have done some serious shopping in the last several days. The spirit of giving is alive and well on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, since a lot of the money we spend on those days goes toward holiday gifts for friends and family.

Today, Giving Tuesday, offers an opportunity to think outside our individual gift-giving patterns to the exponential effects of giving to charitable organizations, either by donating or volunteering.

The organizations listed below have missions devoted to Service members, their families, and veterans. This is by no means a complete list, but a representation of the breadth of opportunities. We hope these might spark your giving spirit this holiday season.

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is as much a fixture of the holiday season as snowmen, ginger bread, and sleigh bells. The charitable organization, founded by a U.S. Marine Corps Reservist back in 1947, celebrates its seventieth anniversary this year, and is still run by the Marine Corps Reserve.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

Armed Services Arts Partnership

To “reintegrate veterans into their communities through the arts.” That’s the primary mission of ASAP, and they pursue it through workshops and bootcamps on comedy, improv, storytelling, and writing. The Washington, DC-based program holds frequent performances in that area.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

Give an Hour

Give an Hour exists for those who don’t have access to mental health care. Licensed mental health providers have joined Give an Hour to provide direct services to those who need it,  supporting Service members and their families, veterans, and those affected by natural disasters or man-made traumas.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

Student Veterans of America

SVA is a coalition of student-veteran groups on college campuses across the globe. With more than 1,300 chapters across the county, the organization funds scholarships, offers leadership training programs, funds the building of veteran centers on campuses, works to protect the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and engages in many other projects in support of student veterans.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

ESGR Volunteer Program

ESGR’s dedicated volunteers come from all walks of life. They are business executives, civic leaders, and patriotic citizens. Some volunteer activities include military and employer outreach, public affairs, and acting as an ombudsman between Service members and their employers. Don’t take it from us. Take it from ESGR Volunteer Jennifer Worhle, who recently wrote about how volunteering with ESGR helped her grow her military network.

Ways to Give: Volunteering

Jennifer Worhle

Jennifer Worhle, ESGR volunteer, takes part in a Black Hawk Helicopter “Boss Lift,” an ESGR program that provides employers and supervisors the opportunity to better understand what their employees do when they are away from their civilian jobs.


Vets4Warriors is a national 24/7 peer support network for veteran and military communities 100 percent staffed by trained veterans and members of the military community, their families or caregivers.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

Veteran Tickets Foundation (VetTix)

Veteran Tickets Foundation teams up with major sports teams, leagues, promoters, organizations, venues, and ticket holders to provide free and discounted tickets to the more than 21 million military and veterans. Currently serving military and honorably discharged veterans from all branches of service as well as family of those killed in action are eligible. Tickets are either directly distributed to military bases or claimed through its website.

Ways to Give: Donations

Yellow Ribbon Fund

When a Service member is injured, numerous logistical challenges can arise as a result of medical care. The Yellow Ribbon Fund provides housing and transportation for family members whose injured Service member is being treated far away from home. They also offer various forms of support for caregivers, outreach services, and college scholarship.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

Elizabeth Dole Foundation 

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation devotes its efforts to the nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers—the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation works with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, labor, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans 

The NCHV overseas a national network of community-based service providers and local, state and federal agencies that provide emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid and case management support for hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans each year.

Ways to Give: Donations and Volunteering

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