#GivingTuesday Gets $1 Million Kickoff

December 2, 2014       Mark Hrywna and Patrick Sullivan      

Updated at 2:20 p.m. EST

Email servers are working overtime churning out fundraising appeals and thank you messages on #GivingTuesday.

Halfway through the annual day of giving back, early and incomplete estimates show at least $2 million raised on payment process platforms Network for Good and Razoo. Million more were raised on other platforms not yet reporting data and gifts were given directly to organizations, such as $1 million to the 92Y, one of the founding organizations of #GivingTuesday.

Network for Good was reporting almost $1.8 million at mid-day while Razoo has tallied more than $700,000, with the West Coast only recently starting its work day.

There are more than 20,000 partners involved this year, up from 7,000 last year and 2,500 in the inaugural year of 2012. Not only are many more partner organizations involved this year, including corporations, they seem more organized.

Here’s a look at some efforts around the country today:

Matching gifts

Matching gifts are a staple of the any fundraiser’s toolbox and #GivingTuesday seems to have brought them out in force. While some charities have issued general fundraising appeals seeking donations, others have announced an assortment of matching gifts and challenge grants:

  • All gifts to the Land Trust Alliance made today by new donors are eligible to be matched at 50 percent. The 32-year-old organization represents 1,200 member land trusts, supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide.
  • Contributions to UJA-Federation of New York will be matched dollar for dollar by UJA-Federation donors.
  • An anonymous donor will match gifts to Save the Children up to $250,000.
  • The board of directors of Transportation Alternatives in New York City has pledged to match gifts received today dollar for dollar.
  • A group of donors has offered to match all unrestricted gifts to Conservation International, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 through the end of #GivingTuesday.
  • A supporter of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will match all giving this month, up to $100,000.
  • 3 Generations, a New York City nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of atrocities tell their stories through filmmaking, will target three specific “Razoo Power Hour” time slots for matching gifts: Earlier Risers (7-8 a.m.), Afternoon Blitz (2-3 p.m.) and Night Owls (11 p.m. to midnight). Donations during those time slots will aim to win Razoo Power Hour prizes of $1,000.
  • A board member of Center for Effective Government will match all gifts of $50 or more, up to $2,500.
  • National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia set a goal of raising $2,500. Gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a museum donor, doubling the collective impact to $5,000. The 2014 pilot project, the Traveling Suitcase, helps teach K-12 students about immigration journeys.
  • Edible Schoolyard NYC announced that it already had surpassed its #GivingTuesday goal yesterday, securing a match from The Newman’s Own Foundation of another $10,000.
  • The Food Bank for New York City makes clear in an email appeal that every dollar donor donated can provide five meals to New Yorkers in need.



Some charities are combining giving dollars with giving time. At 92Y, volunteers are participating in a “Knit-a-thon,” knitting hats for pediatric oncology patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, or a charity of their choice. The goal is to “bring as many communities to together as possible to knit for good.”

* Volunteer New York is asking supporters to donate at least $50 or two hours of volunteering time in 2015. The Tarrytown, N.Y. charity also issued a fundraising appeal that the first $10,000 received will be matched in donations by a private donor.

* World Vision and Thirty-One Gifts, a direct-selling company focused on personalized totes, purses and home organization solutions, will work with the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx on #Giving Tuesday to spread holiday cheer and necessities to local women and children in need. Hope Kits, along with Family Food Kits and holiday gifts, will be assembled and distributed at the club to 150 women and children living in poverty in the Bronx.

* Support Center for Child Advocates aims to raise $1,000 to secure a matching challenge grant from donors. Jade Yoga will donate 10 percent of its online wholesale and retail sales proceeds to the fundraising efforts. The Philadelphia-based organization is also hosting a toy drive at its Logan Square headquarters.



The Pledge 1% program launched today with a target of securing 500 pledges by next year’s #GivingTuesday for companies the pledge 1 percent of equity, profit, employee time and software licenses. Atlassian, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado and the Salesforce Foundation released the announcement today.

The 1% website details how companies can pledge 1 percent of their equity, product and employee time. The site aims to provide a turnkey solution with tools, best practices and relevant information to make it easy for any company or person to incorporate philanthropy into their business model from the state.

The movement already boasts organizations such as Google, Yelp as well as B Lab and the Robin Hood Foundation, which have committed to help by encouraging early stage companies they work with to make giving back a priority.

Salesforce transformed corporate philanthropy with the 1-1-1 model of integrated giving and it was one of the best decisions we ever made,” Suzanne DiBianca, president of the Salesforce Foundation, said in a press release.

“When our company was small we made a public 1 percent pledge so that our employees and the world would hold us accountable,” Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, said. “We pledged 1 percent of equity, profit, employee time and software licenses. That little 1 percent decision at the beginning has turned into more than $30 million aimed at making the world a better place,” he said.

* PayPal announced that it would match 1 percent of every charitable donation through December made via the PayPal platform.

* Walmart launched the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign to support food pantries nationwide with facility makeovers, more than $1.5 million in grants to be distributed by the public voting online for participating food pantry to receive funding.

Until Dec. 12, the public can cast one vote per day to help a participating food pantry. The 75 food pantries with the most votes at the end of the voting period will receive a $20,000 grant to be used for makeovers, including the purchase of new kitchen and storage equipment, furniture, paint and other supplies. One of the 75 food pantries will be selected by television host and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) expert James Young to receive an in-person design consultation to maximize the grant and facility upgrades.

* In an email appeal, Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast announced that Belk has pledged to donate $1,000 to Komen NCTC if 50 people donate a gift on #GivingTuesday.

* This year #GivingTuesday has become a focal point to launch products or services related to charities and philanthropy.

Youth Service America (YSA) launched #Donate to @YouthService, to support “young leaders and youth-led solutions to make #GivingTuesday bigger and better than Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” The Washington, D.C.-based organization urges supports to share the news of their donations, with template tweets and Facebook posts, such as:“I am investing in youth! #Donate for @YouthService this #GivingTuesday. Retweet & make a difference!”

“I’m supporting youth-led solutions this #GivingTuesday. I #Donate to @YouthService. Retweet & join me!”

* American Red Cross and Bit.ly unveiled hope.ly, a website URL shortener that adds a donation ribbon to a web page or story link that’s shared via Facebook, Twitter or email.

The Launch

The 92Y gift was contributed by a group of more than 20 lay leaders, to recognize the organization’s role in establishing the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day dedicated to community and philanthropy. #GivingTuesday already was a trending topic earlier this morning on Twitter.

Whole Whale, a New York City-based consulting and analytics firm for nonprofits, predicted that this year’s #GivingTuesday would reach $54 million. That figure was based on an average $3,500 received by each organization, estimating 15,000 organizations.

Last year, The NonProfit Times estimated that almost $35 million was donated on #GivingTuesday, based on estimates provided by several payment processing firms, including Blackbaud, PayPal, DonorPerfect and Network For Good. In 2012, Blackbaud alone reported some $10.1 million in donations processed on #GivingTuesday.

The Case Foundation has partnered with Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy this year to support research efforts to identify outcomes from #GivingTuesday and its implications for overall donation trends. An estimate on the total number of dollars donated on #GivingTuesday will be released “immediately following the holiday.”

The research team will present broader findings on how #GivingTuesday is affecting overall giving and giving behavior in a Giving USA Spotlight Report to be released Dec. 17.

Nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesday last year outgrew participating peers during the December 2013 giving seasons, by 6.8 percent to 3.7 percent, according to research by DonorPerfect, a Horsham, Pa.-based online fundraising software firm. Nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesday also saw an increase in online giving of 19.4 percent last year compared with December 2012, compared to 8.4 percent for non-participating organizations, based on a sample size of 546 organizations who collected both offline and online donations through DonorPerfect in the last three years.

The NonProfit Times will continue to update the activities throughout the day.

Nonprofits in Baltimore, Md., banded together last year to leverage #GivingTuesday with the BMore Gives More campaign, which raised $5.75 million. For this year’s #GivingTuesday, whole states are getting in on the action. At least three states — Maryland, Illinois and Arkansas — are coordinating statewide campaigns through their respective state nonprofit organizations.

“We didn’t know whether the effort could be replicated at the state level but we wanted to try. That’s why we volunteered to take over the campaign,” said Allison Albert, membership and marketing director at Maryland Nonprofits. “Maryland has over 32,000 nonprofit organizations. It’s our mission to help nonprofits to achieve their missions, and fundraising is a big part. We thought we would give it a go and see what happened.”

Albert said 300 Maryland nonprofits signed on by the eve of #GivingTuesday. While the campaign, called Maryland Gives More, has set a goal of $12 million for the day, “Our declaration of success is that Maryland is the most generous state,” said Albert. “That comes down to dollars and cents, but we’re also monetizing volunteer hours and counting those. Really we just want to say that x dollars donated makes us the most generous state. But even if the other (states) raise more, we’ll still feel good that we brought visibility to nonprofits doing amazing work in Maryland.”

Donors Forum, Illinois’ statewide organization, has also set a $12 million goal for its campaign, Illinois Gives Big. According to Delia Coleman, director of public policy and strategic communications, said this year is the first that Donors Forum is participating in #GivingTuesday.

“Even if we don’t make our $12 million target, who knows what could happen? We’ll be learning a lot of things and that’s the important lesson,” she said. “Could we engage members and non-members around a campaign? Boy, have we. We set a modest target of 300 nonprofits, and to date there’s over 600.”