Was 2015 the watershed year for Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday started in 2012 and is observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving; it is a day that was conceived to kick off the charitable season. Giving Tuesday follows the annual shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Our clients saw very little activity the first few years on Giving Tuesday, with the majority of donations made during the final days and hours of the year. In 2014, there was a modest increase in Giving Tuesday donations for a few clients, but nothing to write home about. This year, however, the results were dramatically different: multiple clients had record online fundraising days, not counting fundraising from December 31. This occurred in all nonprofit verticals, from animal welfare to social services to research organizations. We even saw a sizable overflow of donations on the next day.

Was 2015 the watershed year for Giving Tuesday?

I believe it was. I know some of my colleagues in the industry have been somewhat skeptical of the made-up holiday, but I have always thought a day dedicated to kicking off the charitable season was a great way to start our holiday and year-end campaigns, even if we didn’t raise a lot of donations on the actual day. The positive media coverage of charitable giving is always a good thing.

In 2015, something changed and the concept finally penetrated Americans’ consciousness. The increased news coverage, waves of emails from nonprofits and barrage of posts on social media newsfeeds had a powerful effect on Giving Tuesday. It reminds me of an essential principle that marketing is most effective with repeat messaging. That same principle applies to our fundraising campaigns – and now to Giving Tuesday.

As charitable giving is as American as apple pie, maybe now Giving Tuesday will join the American pastimes such as camping outside of Target on Black Friday or eating chicken wings and watching the Super Bowl. Hopefully this will become another one of our most cherished yearly holidays. What’s better than shining a positive light on the collective community of charitable giving?

Let us know what you think about this year’s Giving Tuesday! Join our conversation on Twitter or Facebook!

Paul Habig


Paul Habig

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