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The Difference A Day Makes: What Went Down (& Up) This #GivingTuesday

The Difference A Day Makes: 

What Went Down (& Up) this #GivingTuesday


Tell Me Again How It Goes?

Black Friday. 
Small Business Saturday.
Cyber Monday.
And, if you have anything left... 
Giving Tuesday.

Despite being last on the list, #GivingTuesday 2019 was a big success in terms of dollars donated. reports on its website that $511,000,000 were raised online this year - a 28% increase over 2018*. Started by the 92nd Street Y in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown in popularity and fundraising success year over year. Nonprofit organizations all over the world participate in the movement to capitalize on the collective awareness and excitement of the day. Even very small organizations are able to tap into the brand equity of #givingtuesday and use it to fortify their asking power.  

Sounds Like People Are Becoming More Generous. Yes?

Not exactly. My friend, Christopher Smith, at GiveGab (a nonprofit giving platform) pointed out to me recently that, although the last 40 years have given rise to many tools that make fundraising easier (email, the internet, texting, online payments, social networking, crowdfunding, the iPhone), individual giving as a percent of disposable income is actually down - holding steady in the 2% range. And, this year’s 28% Giving Tuesday increase only provided a slight rise in charitable giving as a percent of the current national GDP (2.37%). So, while the amount of cash collected continues to rise, donors remain about as generous as they were in the 1960’s.


Exactly. In general, nonprofits haven’t been able to capitalize on new technologies that have revolutionized the way we work, live, and (want to) give. What’s more, it would seem that the social and cultural norms related to making financial contributions to charity have also remained largely unchanged. Our propensity to give is neither higher nor lower than it ever has been. 

 So, What’s a Nonprofit (ahem, Social Profit) Organization To Do? 

Sweeping cultural shifts get filed under Long Term Projects. So, what can nonprofits do today to remain relevant, visible, and available to prospective donors?  Make online giving a priority in your fundraising strategy. Don’t abandon your tried and true methods, rather, add to your portfolio by incorporating a giving day (like #GivingTuesday or some other day of the year) or a year-round digital giving campaign. Many communities have developed days - like this one in Knoxville - by pooling organizations together through their local community foundations. The collective effort leverages the reach of each participating organization, builds community spirit, and captures donors’ ever-shrinking attention spans by concentrating many opportunities into one large campaign. 

Online giving campaigns are an important complement to direct mail, phone, or other gift-making methods because they offer convenience (donors are already online), less transactional friction (they don’t have to remember to write a check, buy a stamp, etc), and automation for recurring gift options (helping donors support you as much as they wish without having to bombard them with reminders). 

Basically, We Put a “Donate” Button On Our Website, Right?

As with every other proven fundraising system, executing an effective online giving strategy requires careful preparation, a willingness to try and adjust as you go, and consistent effort over time. Thankfully, there are multiple giving platforms available that make developing a great online presence achievable - and some offer world-class resources and education to aid in your success. A good platform host will offer ample support and guidance. If your team is technologically shy, overextended, or stuck on “what we’ve always done,” now is the time to ‘fess up, boss up, and show up - online.

Fine, I’ll Look Into It For Next Year.   

The time to start planning is now. Here’s your official notice:

You’ve got 360 days until #GivingTuesday2020

You can do it!

Keep Up the Good Work,


*See more Giving Tuesday stats and trends here:



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