#GivingTuesday sparks a big spike in charitable donations

Gifts to charitable groups shot up 53 percent to $10 million on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which is being promoted as #GivingTuesday.

Ross D. Franklin/AP
Packages ready to ship move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com 1.2 million square foot fulfillment center on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, in Phoenix. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year. Charities are promoting the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as #GivingTuesday, a day of online giving. This year's #GivingTuesday appears to have been a success.

#GivingTuesday may well become a new holiday tradition, as donors generously responded to charities’ pleas to take time off from shopping days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday to give and volunteer.

The amount of online donations processed by Blackbaud, a processor of online gifts,  shot up 53 percent to $10 million on Tuesday Nov. 27, compared with the same day last year.

Network for Good, another processor of online gifts, also reported a spike.  The total number of donations more than doubled, to 113 percent, on #GivingTuesday versus the Tuesday after Thanksgiving 2011. The amount collected Tuesday was also 55 percent more than the amount of donations collected on Monday.

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Of course, with the holiday season just starting, it’s hard to know yet whether people accelerated the giving they typically wait to do until the end of December or whether the money will be an overall lift for nonprofits.

Still, charities both big and small, reported modest-to-big increases in donations on #GivingTuesday. Here’s how the day unfolded for some of those groups:

Project Hope, an international health charity, collected $6,720 on Tuesday, a more-than-eightfold increase from the $784 it collected on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving last year. It raised $2,950 from online donors and $70 from mobile-phone giving. But the most successful effort was a drive to encourage its workers to give: More than 100 employees did, raising $3,700.

Charity: Water, which builds clean-water systems for people in impoverished countries,  increased donations 14 percent on Tuesday, raising $40,000 in total versus last year. The number of small donations grew from 361 last year to 505  this year, sparked largely by promotions the nonprofit made on social networks. It’s awaiting more donations from corporate supporters like Bonobos, Match.com, and Other World Computing, which sold services or goods to encourage their customers to give to the charity.

The Fishing School, a youth-development charity in Washington, raised $3,305 from 17 donors during #GivingTuesday. Last year, it didn’t receive any donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In promoting this year’s event, the group appealed to its loyal donors and new ones via Facebook and Twitter.

The same strategy worked for Manna Food Center, a food bank in Gaithersburg, Md. It increased its one-day fundraising total threefold, from $620 last year to $1,875 this year. About 200 people saw the charity’s Facebook posts about #GivingTuesday; its tweets were redistributed a few times too, says Allison Krumsiek Anderson, a development manager.

This article originally appeared at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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