November 30, 2012

More Charities Report Fundraising Boost From #GivingTuesday

How the Pennsylvania SPCA thanked supporters on Facebook for their #GivingTuesday contributions.

#GivingTuesday, the effort to turn the Tuesday after Thanksgiving into a new national day of giving, is getting more momentum as charities tally their hauls for the day.

In addition to Blackbaud and Network for Good, which on Wednesday both reported more than 50-percent increases in dollars, more Web sites that process charitable contributions are offering similarly sunny data.

Razoo, whose fundraising Web site lets charities raise money for specific projects, said it received a 50- percent increase in donations on Tuesday compared with last year's Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

SofterWare, whose DonorPerfect fundraising platform is used by many small to midsize nonprofits, reported a 46-percent increase that day over the same day last year. The average gift amount rose 25 percent, from $109.81 to $136.85.

GiveCorps, a Web site based in Baltimore that raises money for local charities, processed about $25,000 for about 40 charities in the area on Tuesday. Last year, it collected just $200 on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Thrilled by the response, the site urged people to donate more on Wednesday, announcing that a donor had promised the group $2,500 if other donors contributed that much in total. In total, the site has raised about $30,000, says Peter Jackson, vice president for GiveCorps.

Success Stories

More charities are also reporting their #GivingTuesday totals. In two cases, social media played a big role in persuading donors to step up:

World Concern, a Christian humanitarian aid organization in Seattle, said it raised about $30,000 by encouraging supporters to give through a gift catalog it calls the "Global Gift Guide."

The charity also promoted the #GivingTuesday campaign a week in advance through social media and e-mails to donors. That notice prompted people to give a total of $20,000 in online contributions even before #GivingTuesday began, an amount that's in addition to the $30,000 in matching gifts for the total raised Tuesday. In 2011, the group raised only $1,820 online on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

World Concern says it doesn't typically raise so much online except on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

Cathy Herholdt, a spokeswoman for the charity, says she's not concerned that the one-day event will erode giving later in the season. The donors who gave, she says, "are folks who were already going to donate during the month of December but were intrigued with the concept of #GivingTuesday."

The Pennsylvania SPCA, an animal-welfare organization in Philadelphia, said it raised about $20,000, which included a $5,000 matching gift from its board members, by peppering social networks like Facebook and Twitter with appeals. It didn't hurt that those appeals included pictures and stories about dogs and cats. Its board members also reached out to donors personally, with phone calls, letters, and personal messages through Facebook. During the same day last year, the charity raised $135.

"We saw it as an opportunity to really get together with our donors and get them to give online and think about online giving," says Lois Giovacchini, director of development for the Pennsylvania SPCA. "That's why we joined #GivingTuesday."

Like World Concern, the animal-welfare group isn't worried about whether #GivingDay supporters will also step up during the crucial year-end fundraising season this month. "Rather than cannibalizing year-end giving, we think that it spurred some people to give their gifts earlier, which is a good thing for us," says Ms. Giovacchini. "Because the more money that comes in, the better off we are."

She adds: "We look at this as kind of a kickoff for our year-end close. We got a running start, and now we're going to drive all the way through to December 31."

Tell us how your nonprofit did during #GivingTuesday in the comments below. Did you raise more than the same day last year?

Send an e-mail to Raymund Flandez.