Online and Offline Fundraiser Shatters Old Records
The “Season of Giving” traditionally lasts from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This period of generosity has been a staple of the holiday season for decades and sets the stage for worldwide philanthropy. We are all aware of local and national fundraisers this time of year, but one specific fundraiser has exploded into a global phenomenon. If you’ve never heard of #GIVINGTUESDAY, you will know all about it once this article is over. And hopefully participate next year.
History of Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday began as a direct response to the consumerism of Black Friday (which lasts 3-4 days now) and Cyber Monday. These shopping days have become centrally focused on getting the best deals and promote a “buy now!” attitude because the prices are so great. Black Friday has become an embarrassing spectacle with the stories of trampling and adults fighting over merchandise, and the Season of Giving needed to take the power back. #GIVINGTUESDAY’s donation period lasts a full 24 hours and has made a significant impact thus far.
The first Giving Tuesday kicked off in 2012. As mentioned above, the selfishness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday needed to be countered with a day of selflessness. Founded by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, the first year was strictly a domestic campaign. Despite being its inaugural year, the 24-hour effort raised an estimated $13.46 million with an average online gift of $101.60. Over 2,500 non-profits and 2,500 partner organizations participated from all 50 states.
2013 remained a domestic effort but the numbers experienced a dramatic increase. In fact, the estimated total raised more than doubled to $28.09 million. That year over 9,500 non-profits and 10,000 partner participated from all 50 states.
Results of Giving Tuesday 2014
2014 saw an explosion of participants and donations across the board, and for good reason; Giving Tuesday went worldwide. Help came from countries all over the world including Australia, Brazil, The United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Guatemala, and many others. 68 total countries including the United States. Overall, an astonishing $46.68M was raised in 24 hours and several statistics more than doubled from 2013.
Henry Timms, executive director of the 92nd Street Y who helped start Giving Tuesday, offered this statement in a USA Today article:
“We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous generosity and creativity of the #GivingTuesday movement around the world this year — the data emerging today is powerful, and shows continued growth and momentum. #GivingTuesday’s impact reaches far beyond the numbers – it’s about children learning the importance of giving and about people coming together at a time when so many things are pulling us apart.”
Statistics of Giving Tuesday
A recent Huffington Post article about Giving Tuesday offered a variety of quality information and statistics for all three years of the charitable holiday. Here are some figures pulled from their infographic:
Estimated Total Raised: $13.46M
Participants: All 50 States
Number of Non-Profits: 2,500
Number of Participating Partner Organizations: 2,500
Estimated Total Raised: $28.09M (increase of 47%)
Participants: All 50 States
Number of Non-Profits: 9,500 (increase of 7,000)
Number of Participating Partner Organizations: 10,000 (increase of 7,500)
Twitter Impressions:10M (increase of 7.5M)
Hashtag Mentions:269K (increase of 84K)
Estimated Total Raised: $45.68M (increase of 61%)
Participants: All 50 States and 67 other countries
Number of Non-Profits: 15,000+ (increase of 6,000+)
Number of Participating Partner Organizations: 20,000 (increase of 10,000+)
Twitter Impressions:32.7M (increase of 22.7M)
Hashtag Mentions:698.6K (increase of 429.6K)
Celebrities Contribute to Giving Tuesday
It’s no secret that many celebrities support charitable causes, and Giving Tuesday is an ideal platform for a celebrity to use their influence to spread the word. The majority of famous people have a giant list of followers on social media so just one picture could generate thousands, even millions, of views. Organizers came up with the hashtag #UNselfie for people to tag in their Tweets promoting Giving Tuesday. Carey Mulligan, Maria Shriver and many other celebrities joined in on the social media campaign, as well as President Obama. Every day people also used this hastag to thank the organizers and tell the world who they support. To see a list of these Tweets, visit this Huffington Post page.
Social media is a great way to reach people worldwide, but some famous people like more of a hands-on, in-person approach to giving back. Take for example Andre Johnson, wide receiver for the Houston Texans and Santa Claus in the eyes of many children. Every holiday season since 2007, the same year he signed a 6-year contract extension worth $60 million, Johnson has hosted a shopping spree for local kids. On December 2nd, 2014, he took 11 children in the care of Child Protective Services to Toys ‘R’ Us and gave them all 80 seconds (his jersey number) to fill a shopping cart with whatever they wanted. The Texans cheerleaders helped the children with their carts during the spree.
After the 80 seconds were over and four registers rang up all the goods, several reports say the total was between $16,300 – $19,500. Johnson, who admittedly had a rough childhood, takes great pleasure in bringing joy to the children during the holidays:
“I just enjoy doing it. I always felt like if I was ever to make it, I wanted to give back. You go through stuff as a kid growing up. You understand certain situations. I understand some of the things these kids go through.”
The spirit of giving is so powerful and life changing, it sparks a unique emotion that can only be felt by donating, sharing or volunteering. When we were children, the phrase, “It is better to give, than to receive” did not make much sense to us. Especially around the holidays. But as adults, and given we are in the position donate, share or volunteer, the true meaning of this phrase is as clear as a Christmas bell.
Thank you to all of the organizers and supporters of #GIVINGTUESDAY and thank you all for reading. Please leave your comments below!