Giving Tuesday: a Q&A

Giving TuesdayMove aside Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s time for Giving Tuesday.

Since 2012, the growing movement known as Giving Tuesday has captured worldwide attention- and scrutiny. This year’s Giving Tuesday promises to be the biggest one yet. So what’s really behind the hype?

Question:  Is Giving Tuesday just a gimmick, a trend that will fade fast?

In just four years, Giving Tuesday has grown from a U.S. grassroots effort to an international movement celebrating generosity.  Last year, more than 700,000 donors from over 70 countries took to social media on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to kick off the annual holiday giving season. They celebrated their donors and encouraged contributions of time, talent, and treasure to their causes.  The response was impressive, with an estimated $116 million raised online on that day alone (more than double funds raised in 2014).

Question: Does Giving Tuesday take away from donations made on other days?

Research by our colleagues at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy shows that Giving Tuesday gifts account for a larger and larger percentage of total year-end giving. However, Giving Tuesday has also been shown to positively influence the number of donations given and the number of nonprofits receiving donations. In 2012, the first year of the campaign, Giving Tuesday increased the total amount of contributions that organizations studied received during the year. “It’s a case of a rising tide lifts all boats,” says Steve MacLaughlin, director of the Idea Lab at Blackbaud. “When you have that much awareness being generated and nonprofits latching onto it and personalizing it, that creates a very powerful combination that we really only ever see with major disasters and political election cycles.”

Question: Why and how is Giving Tuesday effective?

As our founding executive director Kat Rosqueta explained during an NPR interview, “There’s nothing like a great deadline that really focuses people’s attention. They’re kind of borrowing a page from some commercial activities – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” That focus contributes to Giving Tuesday’s effectiveness in raising awareness, encouraging participation, and raising funds.

The trick now is ensuring that Giving Tuesday translates into year-round social impact. This year, our annual giving guide changed its name to High Impact Giving Guide to reflect the fact that every season is the right one for social impact. We are excited to once again have partnered closely with Fidelity Charitable and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to help more donors identify and support high-impact opportunities.

To provide even greater access to the guide’s content, Fidelity Charitable, which launched the first national donor-advised fund program in 1991, is extending the Center’s guidance to donors and visitors of its website, highlighting opportunities to give smarter and make each charitable dollar go further.

We are thrilled at this opportunity to extend the reach of our work, helping more donors maximize the impact of their giving, now and throughout the year. Here’s to a successful, happy, and high impact Giving Tuesday!

For more on Giving Tuesday and how to participate, visit

For our annual high impact giving guidance, visit