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A History of #GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a growing phenomenon. In the last four years alone, GivingTuesday has grown by more than $100 million each year. GivingTuesday raised $168 million in 2016. By contrast, it raised $511 million in 2019. As you consider how to ensure your nonprofit’s successful giving days, learning the history of GivingTuesday is a helpful first step.

The 92nd Street Y started GivingTuesday in 2012, designed as a response to “Black Friday” and “Cyber Mon­day.” Last year, GivingTuesday became its own independent 501(c)(3). GivingTuesday does not primarily fundraise from individuals. Rather, it is a resource and conduit for nonprofits. That said, they have gained a great deal of foundation and corporate support.

GivingTuesday has become a global initiative with 60+ countries involved. Of the $511 million raised in the U.S. in 2019, Facebook’s charitable giving platform accounted for $120 million. Part of the allure of giving has been the huge matching program offered by Facebook. This matching program occurred in partnership with the Gates Foundation in 2016 and 2017, and in partnership with PayPal in 2018. In 2019, Facebook matched gifts on their own.

The ways that online companies and social networks support GivingTuesday include the following:

— In addition to matching gifts, Facebook waives its transaction fees.
— PayPal waives its transaction fees for verified nonprofits. As a first step, check and ensure your nonprofit is verified.
— Amazon encourages users to sign up for their AmazonSmile program.

Where are dollars going?

Major gift processing services include:

— Facebook
— Blackbaud
— PayPal
— Mightycause
— DonorPerfect
— Network for Good
— Classy

Many sources supply reported totals on giving and may not be exact.

Blackbaud provides a breakdown of GivingTuesday revenue by sector. Higher education and K-12 education rank highest when it comes to support. This is likely due to the number of education institutions using Blackbaud.

Large nonprofits receive more than half of GivingTuesday dollars. This gulf narrows every year. For example, 2014 saw 74% of gifts going to large nonprofits. This was reduced to 56% by 2019. Support of small and medium nonprofits grows by a few percentage points each year. (Small nonprofits raise $1 million or less in annual donations, and medium nonprofits raise $1-10 million in annual donations.)

GivingTuesday is free. This includes access to all resources on the organization’s website. GivingTuesday does not accept or distribute donations. Participants are responsible for their own fundraising initiatives and transactions.