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#GivingTuesday will be here before you know it. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving — this year, Dec. 3 — is when the charitable sector has come together to help offset the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday last year was responsible for raising an estimated $400 million. That figure has grown each year since the first #GivingTuesday in 2012, eclipsing $1 billion in giving overall.

But does #GivingTuesday cannibalize year-end or other giving? Is it just moving donations from the end of December to the beginning? And with the crush of nonprofit messages spewing forth on social media, email and elsewhere on #GivingTuesday, is it worth your nonprofit’s time and effort to try to break through all that noise?

Woodrow Rosenbaum, data and insights lead at, joins this month’s episode of Fresh Research to answer some of those questions. GivingTuesday. org, which split off as its own independent nonprofit this year, put some data behind the arguments, with #GivingTuesday By The Numbers.

“It looks a lot like a natural disaster with respect to donation behavior,” Rosenbaum said. “People give more and that lift has been increasing year over year and it’s sustained. So this does generate a net lift on donations, without cannibalizing the rest of the year,” he said.

Organizations that participate in #GivingTuesday don’t just do better on the day, they do better on the entire month of December, according to Rosenbaum. “There’s a big, big advantage to starting your campaign on Giving Tuesday.” Matching gifts also do better on the day, he said, adding that starting early is better and provides for a longer giving season.

“Your donors are going to be asked. Do you want to be part of that conversation or not? The answer is messaging,” Rosenbaum said. “You need to go out with something that’s compelling and authentic and nonprofits have lots of opportunity to do that.”

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