#GivingTuesday breaks records for charity

The White House got into this year's #GivingTuesday spirit.
The White House got into this year's #GivingTuesday spirit.

Updated: The upstart charitable event has amassed more than 10,000 partners in the U.S.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may dominate the holiday buying season, but Giving Tuesday is shaping up as a day for generosity by individuals and brands. 

The numbers for Giving Tuesday 2014 were better than ever, according to numbers from two important nonprofit online donation platforms. BlackBaud Inc. reported donations reached $26.1 million this year, up from $19.2 million processed on Giving Tuesday 2013, a 36 percent increase. Network for Good processed 148 percent more donation dollars this year, processing just under $4.6 million.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving got the "Giving Tuesday" moniker (and #GivingTuesday hashtag) in 2012 thanks to a hashtag campaign by Henry Timms, executive director of New York's 92nd Street Y. Timms and his wife Colleen conceived Giving Tuesday as a chance for nonprofits and brands to encourage consumers to share the holiday bounty.

Three years later, Giving Tuesday continues to grow. "It’s been very exciting," Timms told Campaign. "What we’ve seen is people in the U.S. and all around the world really responding to the idea of Giving Tuesday and engaging in meaningful ways."

Giving Tuesday has more than 10,000 partners in the U.S. and 800 in the U.K., where it was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron today. The hashtag has hovered in the top three trending hashtags on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day, and Timms said more and more brands are getting involved by matching individual donations to specific causes. .

"Signs are pointing toward an uptick in terms of the incremental giving," he said.

Ritu Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Social Media for Nonprofits based in San Jose, Calif,, is a Giving Tuesday true believer. She said the numbers support the idea that Giving Tuesday is making a huge difference to nonprofits. According to Sharma, last year Blackbaud.com, one of the biggest online donation-processing platforms, collected $19.2 million on Giving Tuesday; the average donation was $142.05.

"It makes people think about the causes that they really care about," Sharma said.

She said Giving Tuesday has become an effective way for people who normally give around this time of year to maximize their impact because so many brands are matching donations.

"There’s a chance that what you’re giving might leverage a lot more money," she said. "It actually amplifies that giving."

Macy’s, VH1 and the Los Angeles Clippers are a few of the recognizable brands that are using #GivingTuesday to match or donate funds to pet causes. Timms has been particularly impressed by the  #GivingShoesDay campaign by Dress4Success and a $100,000 donation match by Groupon to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Kiva, DonorsChoose.org and ioby.

"It really gives brands and nonprofits a chance to get creative," he said.

Sharma and Timms expressed confidence Giving Tuesday is on its way to becoming an annual institution.

"There’s lot of overeating on Thanksgiving — and immediately after that, there’s a big frenzy of buying and spending," Sharm asaid . "Giving Tuesday is a great launching point for the nonprofit sector, and it gets people in the giving spirit. It should continue to grow."

This story was updated to include final 2014 figures for Giving Tuesday.

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