October 24, 2018


Giving Tuesday is a fundraising force to be reckoned with, with over $645 million raised over the past six years.

Nonprofits across the country are busy preparing their campaigns for this year’s Giving Tuesday, which is rapidly approaching on November 27. As such, we are excited to launch a series of Giving Tuesday blog posts to help you prepare to meet and exceed your fundraising and/or visibility goals for this day of global giving.

We are kicking off the series this week with an introduction to the history of this growing fundraising initiative, and the critical steps your organization should take now to participate this year.


Now in its seventh year, Giving Tuesday provides a data-proven occasion for organizations to enhance end-of-year giving. Created by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become a global movement, joining diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations for the common purpose of encouraging and celebrating giving and philanthropy. The idea was to create a day of giving on the Tuesday directly after Thanksgiving, intentionally following mega-consumer days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and is unique in that it brings together the collective power of nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, and families and individuals.

Many thought leaders and influencers in social media, philanthropy, and grassroots social change became founding partners of the movement including Cisco, Mashable, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Groupon, UNICEF, Aldo, Sony, Unilever, Skype, Google, and Microsoft. In its first year, the day and concept was quickly popularized by news outlets such as the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and ABC News, and even made it to the official blog of the White House.

By the Numbers

Classy, a leading online and mobile fundraising platform for nonprofits found that nonprofits acquire 3 to 5 times more donors on Giving Tuesday than on a typical day. In 2017 alone, an estimated $300 million was raised online (up from $180 million in 2016) through more than 2.5 million total donations. Last year’s day of giving involved 150+ countries and saw an impressive 21.7 billion social media impressions and 1,010,045 social mentions.

Year over year, Giving Tuesday goals have exceeded expectations. In 2017, Cave Canem Foundation raised well beyond its goal of $5,000, raising about $18,000 in support of African-American poets. The United Way of metropolitan Dallas raised more than $22 million for 92 organizations and logged more than 484,445 volunteer hours. And JPMorgan Chase increased its employee giving 23 percent, generating $4.7 million.

In 2016, had then, their single biggest day in the organization’s history, reporting 17,000 donors, 3,210 completed projects, and $1.8 million raised for classrooms. Also in 2016, the University of Michigan raised $5.5 million and acquired 2,000 new donors.

How Organizations Participate

While Giving Tuesday is a sure bet to increase dollars, the entire day encourages holistic giving in all forms. By harnessing the potential of social media, Giving Tuesday encourages the donation of time, resources, and talents to address local challenges. In 2016, enough toys were collected to break a Guinness world record, and even more notable, one organ-donor registration drive was so successful that someone donated a kidney. The donation of time is also encouraged either day-of or through campaigns and in-person volunteer events that encourage people to sign up to volunteer. Other popular days of service include dance-a-thons, blood drives, and meal and toiletry preparation. Some organizations also encourage or let their stakeholders know how they can hold personal fundraisers on Giving Tuesday with the intent to donate money to their organization.

Last year, the top five issue areas discussed were public and societal benefit, human services, education, health, and the environment and animals. In a survey conducted by Classy, results found that donors feel the number one cause needing the most support this Giving Tuesday 2018 is disaster relief (48 percent) followed by health issues (37 percent) and environmental causes and/or animal issues (36 percent.).

Get Involved!

This year, Giving Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 but organizations should be planning their approach well in advance in order to truly leverage the day.

In order to get started, organizations need to join the movement by registering on Giving Tuesday’s website. The official Giving Tuesday site also provides a downloadable toolkit that provides resources to getting started with a Giving Tuesday campaign along with ideas and case studies on how other organizations  creatively found ways to get their stakeholders involved as well as reach new audiences with their campaigns.

Whole Whale, a social-impact-focused digital agency, predicts that $331 million will be raised on Giving Tuesday 2018.

The potential of Giving Tuesday is immense. Check out our next post in the series where we discuss ways in which organizations can make a compelling wish list to encourage individual donors to give.

This is the first of three posts in our Giving Tuesday blog series. Stay tuned next week for our next post.

About the Author:

Davita Louie