It’s Off. #GivingTuesday Launches Again

The fourth #GivingTuesday is officially under way, with inboxes being deluged with email messages from charities and the hashtag quickly taking over the top trending spot on Twitter.

#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has taken its place in recent years alongside the holiday staples of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a kick-off to the giving season, a time when many nonprofits raise the bulk of their contributions. 92Y has teamed up with Blackbaud and Microsoft to power the “#GivingTuesday Command Central,” featuring the GivingTuesday Dashboard to monitor activities throughout the day. The organizations started the day by ringing the opening bell for NASDAQ.

More and more nonprofits have participated in Giving Tuesday each year, whether specifically to raise dollars or awareness, though some fear their message can get drowned out among all attention on a single day. Still, Giving Tuesday is becoming viewed as the kick off to the holiday giving seasons, often the most active – and most important – segment of a nonprofit’s fundraising calendar.

Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Case Foundation estimated that nearly $46 million was raised overall last year, up 63 percent compared to 2013. That’s largely U.S.-based organizations. It does not include smaller donation processing firms and some others that process gifts. Among the largest fundraising software firms, Charleston, S.C.-based Blackbaud processed $26.1 million in online donations on #GivingTuesday, 36 percent more than the $19.2 million in 2013. In all, some 20,000 nonprofits participated last year, raising almost $50 million.

Blackbaud will waive administrative fees for any U.S. donations made through its consumer crowdfunding platform, Everyday Hero. Typically, the platform takes a 5 percent service fee on donations plus a process fee of 2.9 percent and $0.30 per transaction, which would amount to $4.25 on a $50 donation.

This is the third year that Bittersweet Farms will promote a specific Giving Tuesday campaign. The Whitehouse, Ohio-based charity has a goal to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of its Bittersweet Creative Arts program for all 100 individuals. The organization has four Ohio locations, serving people with autism either living or working on various aspects of the farms. The model “brings purpose and meaning to the people who live on the farm and work there everyday,” said Shannon Solt, development and marketing coordinator.

The Giving Tuesday campaign is part of Bittersweet’s annual fund appeal but focusing on its programs, specifically Bittersweet creative arts. Normally, the art program is supported by revenues from several art fairs throughout the year or paid for out-of-pocket. “If we can raise all the money on Giving Tuesday, it gives us more time to provide the services we do,” Solt said.

Last year, Bittersweet Farms raised $6,000 for its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and its first foray into Giving Tuesday in 2013 was just a general donation. Solt said they’re using a similar concept this year to promote Giving Tuesday, sharing stories about artists and how the arts have impacted their lives. Ten artists have been featured in the campaign, which started promoting it across social media, e-newsletters and the Bittersweet website since August, she said.

The national Civil War Trust launched its Giving Tuesday effort a few days early, with an online campaign focused around a matching donation. The Washington, D.C.-based organization aims to raise money to save a key piece of land associated with the October 1864 Battle of Cedar Creek in Middletown, Va. An anonymous donor has pledged to match funds raised online, up to $12,500, with the campaign having kicked off on Friday and lasting through Tuesday.

As part of grant from the Case Foundation, NPR Generation Listen will launch its first NPR Listening Party Hub and Kit. Thirty public ratio stations around the country are working with NPR’s Generation Listen to convene listening parties where fans can gather to listen to public radio storytelling and talk about the ideas generated by the stories. The kit includes a curated collection of NPR stories aimed to inspire dialogue around why people give, the future of philanthropy, and people’s personal stories of giving.

More than $100,000 in matching funds and prize money will be doled out to organizations that manage to raise $100 or more on Giving Tuesday.

Network for Good, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit-owned B Corporation, has committed to offering matching funds for organizations using its donation platform that raise at least $100. After the $100 minimum is met, additional donations made to organizations using Network for Good’s platform during the Dec. 1 event will be matched at an estimated ratio of 1:40, according to a release, a sum based off of a projected donor volume of $4 million.

Eligible nonprofits will also be in line to be awarded prize money in three categories: most donations raised in terms of dollars, most donors participating and most recurring donors based on the number of individuals who pledge to give a set amount each month. Awards of $2,500 will be given to the leading nonprofit in each category with $1,000 going to each runner up and $500 being awarded to each second runner up.

“Our team of experts and advisors at Network for Good are working around the clock to support nonprofits in gearing up for the busiest fundraising season of the year,” said Caryn Stein, Network for Good’s vice president, communications and content in a statement.

The matching funds and prize money, along with webinars and trainings, will be part of Network for Good’s “All TUEgether” campaign, which will run through midnight Pacific Time on Giving Tuesday. For more information, visit www.networkforgood.com/givingtuesday.