Make the Most of #GivingTuesday All Year Long

DeArmond_Laurie Head ShotSpecial to the Philanthropy Journal

By Laurie De Armond

#GivingTuesday has come a long way since its debut in 2012, with substantial growth in partners, donations and social media attention every year and now, a hugely successful 4th year under its belt. For participating organizations, its impact and potential benefits stretch far beyond just one day. BDO logo

According to data from the 92nd Street Y, participating organizations raised a staggering $116.7 million this year, marking a 180 percent increase over 2014. Social media buzz also exploded this year, with 1.3 million mentions related to #GivingTuesday, yielding 114 billion global impressions on Twitter alone.

Seventy-one countries participated, even where #GivingTuesday’s commercial counterparts–Thanksgiving’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday–do not have mass appeal, demonstrating the day’s power to kick off a global season of giving. And in the U.S., more than 50 local communities all over the nation branded their own #GivingTuesday civic movements to drive community engagement.

It’s important to remember that the day’s gifts make up 10-12 percent of yearly online donations, which in turn make up about 6-8 percent of overall charitable giving.

#GivingTuesday is still a relatively small slice of the pie. Looking ahead to next year, organizations should establish their goals early on, because #GivingTuesday can serve as much more than a day to simply collect donations. #GivingTuesday doesn’t exist in a vacuum–it can serve as a platform to increase brand awareness with its immense social media reach, start a conversation with donors or other key stakeholders about your organization’s legacy or kick off a longer-term giving campaign. It can serve as a vehicle for smaller nonprofits to level the playing field with larger, well-known nonprofits if they plan properly to engage their stakeholders on that day. Perhaps the most important implication of #GivingTuesday is that a wide swath of the global public is keyed into the nonprofit sector on one day, whether or not they intend to open their pocketbooks. As participating organizations evaluate their year-over-year results and plan for 2016, they may find it helpful to consider other desired outcomes and metrics for measuring for success beyond dollars donated.

The infographic below gives a snapshot of where #GivingTuesday has been up until this year, who stands to reap the most reward and four ways to get the most out of the day, regardless of your approach for the year ahead. GivingTuesday Infographic 2

Laurie De Armond is an Assurance Partner and Co-Leader of BDO’s national Nonprofit & Education practice with more than 20 years experience providing audit and consulting services to a wide variety of tax-exempt organizations. For more information, please contact Laurie at

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