” Giving Tuesday, the annual day devoted to philanthropy, raised roughly $380 million for charities from 4 million people, organizers said.
The results represent an increase of 27 percent from last year, when donors gave about $300 million.
New York’s 92nd Street Y and the U.N. Foundation started Giving Tuesday in 2012 as a philanthropic alternative to commerce-focused Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Since then, it has raised $1 billion online.
Reports of this year’s results from online gift processors and individual charities were encouraging — and perhaps indicative of a strong fundraising finish to 2018.
Among the results provided by companies that help charities raise money online:
- Donors brought in more than $125 million on Facebook, up from $45 million in 2017. The social network has introduced new tools in the past year that make online fundraising easier.
Facebook and PayPal together offered a $7 million match for Giving Tuesday donations and saw that match gobbled up “within seconds” after 8 a.m. Eastern time, a Facebook spokeswoman said.
- Blackbaud processed $62.6 million in gifts, up from $60.9 million on Giving Tuesday 2017. The average size of contributions was up, too: $147, compared with $134 the previous year.
Best of all, says Rachel Hutchisson, Blackbaud’s vice president for corporate citizenship and philanthropy, the number of organizations that received donations was up 16 percent over last year’s event. “More organizations are sharing in this generosity, which is terrific because that’s what Giving Tuesday is supposed to be about,” she said.
Twenty-nine percent of gifts were made on mobile devices, according to Blackbaud’s data, up 12 percent from 2017’s event. Mobile is “the tech trend that will not go away,” Hutchisson said.
- DonorPerfect processed more than $35 million on Giving Tuesday, up 27 percent from 2017. The average online gift was $185, over 6 percent more than the previous year.
- The Classy software company processed $15.4 million from more than 128,000 donors, up about 50 percent from $10.3 million last year. One contribution was $100,300. Support for human services accounted for about a third of the total raised.
Camp Kesem, a program that offers recreation to children whose families have been affected by cancer, raised more than any other Classy client — over $2 million, nearly $1.8 million of it on Classy.
“We’re still floating,” says Jane Saccaro, Kesem’s chief executive. She credits the organization’s 5,000 college-student volunteers, who promoted the organization on social media. “Peer-to-peer really fueled fundraising,” she says. The volunteers received training months ahead of Giving Tuesday, along with templates, graphics, campaign timelines, and other tools to enhance their campaigns. Kesem also released a video appeal in time for the volunteers to share on their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
Volunteers juiced giving with social-media stunts. “They’d say, ‘When I raise $5,000, I’ll eat this hot pepper,’ ” Saccaro says. “They got very creative.”
A Boost for Holiday Giving
Asha Curran, who leads Giving Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y, points to a couple of factors that keep the event growing each year.
“The obvious answer is technology — that this idea can now spread so fast, across borders, across the whole world,” Curran says.
In addition, the event remains inclusive, honoring all forms of giving, including nonmonetary ones. “We’re seeing an amazing democratization of giving,” she says. “Giving is about more than just money. It’s only one metric, and not necessarily the most important one.”
But having a Giving Tuesday success usually provides a good jump-start to year-end fundraising, she adds: “Our data indicates that organizations that do well on Giving Tuesday do well throughout the whole month of December.”
And there’s evidence that Giving Tuesday donors are savvy: GuideStar, the online repository of financial and other information about charities, reported that the day saw its highest web traffic, up 33 percent from Giving Tuesday 2017. “Sometimes Giving Tuesday donors get criticism for being too emotive, but I think it indicates that people are doing their homework.”
Other promising trends Curran notes include the rise of fundraising collaborations among charities with similar missions (“I found that downright heartwarming,” she said) and of communitywide campaigns. This year’s event tracked more than 140 such efforts in towns, cities, and states.
For instance, organizers of the Panhandle Gives, in Amarillo, Tex., set a $500,000 goal. Recalled Curran, “They called us and said, ‘We hit our goal. What do we do now?’ ” The answer: Keep going. The effort eventually raised more than $833,000.
How Causes Fared
Following months of hurricanes, wildfires, and geopolitical upheaval, relief charities were on the minds of donors:
- The American Red Cross brought in triple what it raised on Giving Tuesday in 2017, though it did not release specific figures. Giving was powered in part by a $100,000 match by the home-improvement retailer Lowe’s.
- Islamic Relief opted to focus its Giving Tuesday campaign on war-torn Yemen, where millions are suffering from famine. The campaign had raised about $74,000 on Tuesday, a huge improvement on its goal for the day of $25,000 — and way up from the roughly $2,000 it raised during last year’s event.
The charity, which works in more than 40 countries, chose to focus on Yemen on Giving Tuesday in response to donors’ feedback, said Syed Hassan, an Islamic Relief spokesman. Yemen’s famine and civil war have been in the news a lot, says Hassan: ‘Our donors care about many countries, but it’s a country where our donors always want to know what we’re doing.'”
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