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GivingTuesday Expected To Blow Through $3 Billion Mark

GivingTuesday was the single biggest day for donor acquisition in 2020, with Dec. 1 showing the highest percentage of donors acquired across all cause areas, according to Giving Tuesday Chief Data Officer Woodrow Rosenbaum. Donor acquisition was up, there were more donors in the system, and multi-year trends for contraction reversed. 

“We’ve been handed an opportunity. It’s not often that you have an industry that’s had a multi-year trend that just suddenly turns positive,” Rosenbaum said on a bonus episode of The NonProfit Times’ Fresh Research podcast. “Whether that becomes a positive legacy of this crisis, depends on what we do now. How we engage them now, in this absolutely critical time, is going to be the difference between preserving this shift and going back to a declining donor base,” he said.

#GivingTuesday in 2020 raised an estimated $2.47 billion both online and offline, which was up 25% from $1.97 billion in 2019. Almost 35 million people participated in 2020.

Whole Whale predicts that this year’s #GivingTuesday will surpass $3 billion for the first time. Using an analysis that includes trends in Google Search terms, national giving trends, and adjusted linear regression, the digital consultancy to nonprofits estimates that $3.048 billion will be raised on #GivingTuesday, which would be 27%, or $648 million, more than the 2020 total.

This year is less predictable, according to Whole Whale, with remote work and a lack of social connection to on-the-ground nonprofits, increased social assistance from the government that could impact the perceptions of nonprofit needs. A return to pre-COVID giving patterns might also depress giving this year. At the same time, Google searches for Giving Tuesday were up 60% year-over-year for September and October and there’s an increased money supply thanks to government stimulus and the stock markets’ performance.

There also are new avenues for donation like Crypto #GivingTuesday. Some 1,000 nonprofits are expected to participate — almost 10 times more than 2020.

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), created in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., aims to raise $755,000 from grassroots donors to secure another $755,000 in matching funds from major donors as it heads toward its 10th anniversary. 

“We know our grassroots donors are really motivated by that,” Dawn Lyons, vice president of marketing and programs, said. This is the third GivingTuesday campaign that Sandy Hook Promise has involved a matching campaign. “It really continues to over-deliver for us year over year,” Lyons said. “It’s by far and away the biggest fundraising day of the year.”

The most common behavior on #GivingTuesday is giving money but the least common behavior is only giving money, according to Rosenbaum. And not all campaigns are million-dollar efforts. The Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) hopes to raise $4,000, to cover the $100 semester tuition for 40 pre-Kindergarten through second-grade Explorer students. Since 1976, DAPCEP has provided year-round Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming to nearly 11,000 pre-K through 12th-graders each year, with an even female-male ratio and a near 100-percent graduation rate.

Big organizations get most of the money but that’s less true on #GivingTuesday than the rest of the year, according to Rosenbaum. “This is a moment to engage people in a way that is really personal, connected to your mission and to your community. Small organizations are the heart and soul of the amazing effect we get on #GivingTuesday,” he said.

“There’s definitely a lot of activity on GivingTuesday and it continues to get harder but that’s why we have so many different messages on that campaign, to make sure we can stand out,” Lyons said. “One of those things where on #GivingTuesday, you have to really go all in or just don’t do a campaign. If you’re not doing a lot throughout the day, you run the risk of not getting noticed. That’s been more of our strategy,” she said. SHP aims to send almost 30 messages on #GivingTuesday, across email, SMS and social media.

“There’s a really pervasive scarcity mentality in the nonprofit sector and it’s really harmful and most of all because the data do not support it. The giving economy is a lot more elastic than people realize. #GivingTuesday is one example of the potential to get more and not have it cannibalize other giving,” he said.

“As soon as you release yourself from this fear of competition and this scarcity mentality, it opens up all kinds of opportunities to engage and to re-engage. Donors aren’t tired of giving but that doesn’t mean they’re not tired of your message.”

As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.


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