News and analysis
December 05, 2013

Giving Tuesday Doubled Donations in 2nd Year

In just its second year, Giving Tuesday delivered—and it delivered big.

More than 10,000 nonprofit organizations galvanized throughout the country to persuade their supporters to give time or money on December 3. Last year, only 2,500 nonprofits participated.

The increase in participants helped double online donations from $12-million to $21-million, according to data from Blackbaud and Network for Good, two organizations that help nonprofits handle online gifts. PayPal says donations given through its site doubled from last year but didn’t release figures.

Giving Tuesday organizers say that the two most successful fundraising efforts were conduced by the United Methodist Church, which raised $6.5-million, and the city of Baltimore, which took in $5.6-million, exceeding its $5-million goal and collected more than any other city tracked by Giving Tuesday organizers.

The United Methodist Church offered to provide $500,000 to match donations made online Tuesday. By promoting that idea throughout the day, mostly by email, it encouraged nearly 11,000 donors in 34 countries to make more than 16,300 gifts on its site. The group didn’t participate in Giving Tuesday last year, says Ben Rhodes, a spokesman, but managed to break its previous record for amount raised online in a single day—$493,000 in January 2010, after the Haiti earthquake.

Here’s how a sampling of organizations did yesterday:

Chicago Foundation for Women

Amount raised this year: $6,076

Goal: $10,000

Amount raised last year: $50 (It sent out a fundraising email.)

What the organization did: Before Thanksgiving, it recruited board members and other supporters to be a “CFW #Giving Tuesday” champion and asked them to spread the word about the fundraising campaign. It gave them templates of messages they could use on social networks and asked them to forward a fundraising email to at least five friends. It also sent emails to its 10,000 supporters before and on Giving Tuesday. That night it hosted a phone-athon to remind supporters to give.

Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry (Naperville, Ill.)

Amount raised this year: $97,148

Goal: $25,000

Amount raised last year: $0  

What the organization did: By September, the group had created a plan to promote Giving Tuesday on social networks and in emails and newsletters. Those messages noted that a longtime supporter had made a $20,000 matching gift during the day. It began to promote Giving Tuesday early—the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, including posts on Facebook and LinkedIn. The day before the event, the charity’s staff members called 100 donors, mentioned the fundraising appeal on social networks, and sent fundraising emails. Then it got an extra push when the donor decided during the day to put in $5,000 more to match contributions

Maryland SPCA

Amount raised this year: $25,260

Goal: $5,000

Amount raised last year: $2,256

What the organization did: Last year, the organization sent a fundraising email on the Monday after Thanksgiving. This year, it sent the email on Giving Tuesday and noted that a donor would match up to $1,000 in contributions made on Giving Tuesday.

University of Virginia

Amount raised this year: $106,245

Goal: None

Amount raised last year: $0

What the organization did: Six weeks before Giving Tuesday, it emailed graduates of the classes of 2009 to 2013 about the fundraising campaign it titled “Giving TueHoosDay” (playing on a nickname for the university sports teams) and recruited volunteers to post messages on Twitter and Facebook. It offered to match the first $37,000 in donations made on Giving Tuesday.

Send an e-mail to Raymund Flandez and Sarah Frostenson.