LOS ANGELES — You’ve gone to the Black Friday barnstormers. Perhaps you’ve busted out a credit card or three for Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
That can only mean one thing: It’s time for GivingTuesday — the annual worldwide celebration of generosity that encourages people to perform acts of kindness by donating time, money, things or simply their support for the communities and causes they believe in.
What You Need To Know
- GivingTuesday is an annual worldwide celebration of generosity that encourages people to perform acts of kindness
- It began as an initiative of the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation in New York City
- It has since grown into a global phenomenon supporting events in 80 countries
- GivingTuesday is one of the highest traffic days of the year for Charity Navigator, which evaluates the financial health, accountability and transparency of charities
“So far this year, there’s a level of excitement and continued embrace of this desire to give back,” said Caryn Stein, chief communications officer for GivingTuesday, which is promoting causes this year as diverse as disability rights, public zoos and nonprofit newspapers.
“Last year was really encouraging because we saw during the pandemic that giving actually increased across the board,” Stein said. “Providing a shared moment of giving gave people a way to do something and connect with others and take action at a time when they might not have felt empowered.”
GivingTuesday began as an initiative of the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation in New York City. It has since grown into a global phenomenon supporting events in 80 countries, including almost 300 in the U.S. this year. In 2020, GivingTuesday generated $2.47 billion in the U.S. alone — a 25% increase compared with the same day in 2019. More than 33 million Americans participated.
“This year, we see giving keeping pace with last year with some fluctuations,” Stein said.
Because of the uncertainty around the new omicron coronavirus variant, there are more virtual events. There are also more young people organizing their own programs, including Khloe Thompson, a 15-year-old in Irvine who runs the charity Khloe Kares.
For GivingTuesday this year, Thompson is giving away menstruation kits because “period poverty doesn’t just affect those who are experiencing homelessness,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “500 million people worldwide are affected.”
Another growing trend is giving circles, where people come together around a single cause or charity and pool their money or other resources to give collectively. The idea is that they make a bigger impact if they work together.
The website Grapevine.org has become a hub for individuals, nonprofits and companies that are looking for like-minded folks to pool resources and support a verified nonprofit on a recurring basis. In addition to collecting donations, the site helps its members find active giving circles or set up one of their own and facilitates communication amongst the circle.
“Sometimes people want to be able to give more money or be associated with a larger gift,” said Michael Thatcher, president and chief executive of Charity Navigator — a website that helps people find nonprofits that align with their values, validate them and even allow for direct donations through the site.
GivingTuesday is one of the highest traffic days of the year for Charity Navigator, which evaluates the financial health, accountability and transparency of more than 9,000 charities. Thatcher said traffic at the Charity Navigator website this year is up 5% compared with last year.
And last year, he said, was "record-breaking” with 9.5 million visits to the site — a 23% increase compared with 2019. On GivingTuesday alone, people donated $1.4 million to almost 4,000 nonprofits through the Charity Navigator giving basket.
Like last year, organizations that work to improve racial justice are among the top causes for charitable giving in 2021, as are groups that provide food relief, Thatcher said.
Like prior years, many organizations leverage GivingTuesday for their own fundraising, oftentimes luring donations with matching contributions that double their impact. The Los Angeles regional Food Bank, for example, is matching the first $100,000 of donations it receives today with a contribution from the Herb Alpert Foundation.