Gearing up for December 2, organizers for #GivingTuesday expect to double their reach with twice as many participants as last year.

Conceptualized in October 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City, #GivingTuesday was meant to serve as a counterbalance to the consumer-oriented days around Thanksgiving time—Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of focusing on material goods, the day encourages people to give back, or to spend money on alternative gifts such as donations made on friends and family members’ behalf.

The amount of money given during #GivingTuesday has doubled every year since 2012. Last year helped raise $27 million for nonprofits. From 2012 to 2013, the number of participating non-profits expanded threefold from 2,5000 to 7,000.

The hashtag for #GivingTuesday is trending well. Google Analytics show that interest in the day has doubled since last year, with users searching #GivingTuesday as well as discussing the event on social media. Broadening their outreach effort, organizers have also teamed up with corporate sponsors, including Honest Tea, which will host a social media campaign on behalf of #GivingTuesday.

The accelerated pace of #GivingTuesday’s growth is a positive sign for the fundraising industry. By using media tactics used to target millennials, the event is working proof that a new generation of donors are stepping up to the fundraising challenges that face the nation’s 1.5 million non-profit organizations.

There is some criticism of the event. Some fundraising professionals contend that the emphasis on giving right after Thanksgiving will detract from donors’ interest in holiday giving, the most important fundraising period of the year. Still others think that by asking for people to give on just one day will help foster a culture of “slackstervism”—or charitable behavior that is minimal and relegated to easy actions such as clicking a donate button.

While #GivingTuesday grows in popularity, it will be interesting to keep track of how it affects fundraising trends; how donors interact with the event and how it alters their giving habits will become more evident with increasing numbers of participants and a higher profile.

The likely result is the growth of a younger donor base connecting organizations that share their concerns, passions, and interests.


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