#GivingTuesday Launches With Great Expectations

It’s here. #GivingTuesday, the charitable sector’s international day of enlisting supporters to give and finding new recruits is off and running with some estimates suggesting the haul will double last year’s roughly $117 million.

Launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y, The United Nations Foundation and Blackbaud, it is estimated that some 45,000 organizations will participate worldwide. Blackbaud will have a “command center” at the NASDAQ exchange’s studio in New York City. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will also be keeping a running total of reported donations.

The NonProfit Times will be updating the various totals throughout the day.

The top four payment processors last year were PayPal, $45.8 million; Blackbaud, $39.6 million; DonorPerfect, $14.9 million; and, Network for Good, $6.55 million. And while it’s a mostly online event, donors can give by any means, although accounting for those donations will be delayed.

Faith-based, education, and human services organizations receive the largest percentage of #GivingTuesday online donations, with larger organizations leading the way.

The average online gift amount was $137 per donation last year, an increase of 6 percent. Online donations tend to be larger than traditional direct mail gifts and #GivingTuesday donors also show this behavior, according to statistics from Blackbaud.

There are also large gifts announced during the day. For example, the Hewlett Foundation announced today a $50 million grant to Resources Legacy Fund to establish the Open Rivers Fund, a new program to support river restoration and local communities’ efforts to remove aged and obsolete dams across the western United States. It is the largest grant to support solely dam removal and river restoration. One of the first projects will support the removal of the Matilija Dam in Ventura, Calif.

As expected for such an event, mobile is a prime method of donating on #GivingTuesday.

The event raised $12 million its first year with just 2,500 organizations involved in 2012. The giving more than doubled to $27 million via 7,000 reporting nonprofits for 2013. The next year the numbers jumped to $47.5 million and 15,000 nonprofits.

While nonprofits employed strategies such as matching gifts to stoke giving, firms also tried to encourage more giving. Several processors waived administrative fees for any U.S. donations. Typically, the platforms take a fee of 2 or 3 percent plus a transaction fee.

PayPal processed $45,830,714 in payments last year, setting a Guinness World Record for the most money donated and processed online within 24 hours. The previous record was $19 million facilitated by BT, a United Kingdom telecom company, after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.