I love #GivingTuesday.

If you know me, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  Back in early 2012, when we heard the first whisperings of what would become #GivingTuesday, it didn’t take much for me to say, “Now this is interesting… I’m in.”

It wasn’t just the “new and different” factor that made me stand up and take notice.  It was the fact that this effort to launch a kick off to the giving season was truly for everyone.  For nonprofits seeking to attract new followers and donors, for companies seeking to allow for “good” action to be tied to consumer behavior, for cities looking to unify around a cause, even for individuals, whether they be 6, 14 or 92.

I have this fundamental belief in my life that “good is for everyone.”  And as the movement began, that’s what captured my imagination, that it was a movement for everyone.

That’s the true spark behind why I, and Blackbaud, got involved, jumping in to help Henry Timms and the #GivingTuesday team at the 92nd Street Y amplify the movement and make it as noisy and wonderful as it could be.  It was a chance to educate nonprofits about the opportunity to try something new (perhaps pushing donors new and old to the online channel, building that new muscle), to encourage individuals—including our own employees—to find personal ways to express why they support specific causes, to give companies an opportunity to lend their voices and reach to philanthropy.  If any of these efforts resulted in new people engaging in social action, in philanthropy, then the world was going to be better off.  Why not try?

More than three years later, as we begin planning for the fourth annual #GivingTuesday, I think everyone involved agrees that #GivingTuesday has outperformed anyone’s imagination.

  • Year one online giving on the day (as a proxy for growth of the movement and according to Blackbaud data) grew 53%.
  • Year two it was a whopping 90%.
  • Year three is was another 36%.

In 2014 alone, Blackbaud processed more than $26.1 million in online donations (made up of more than 4.300 individual transactions) on the day.

My colleague, Steve MacLaughlin has done a terrifically interesting retrospective on #GivingTuesday, sharing an array of data that paint a picture of a growing movement (what’s coming in, to what kind of organization and in what form).  Probably most fascinating to me is the shift, in 2014, to donations made using a mobile device.

As Steve’s report tells us “About 17% of online donation form views on #GivingTuesday were on a mobile device.” (Tweet this)

Why is this so important?  Because an organization seeking to get involved and capture some of the momentum can’t assume that having a website or Twitter account is enough.  People ARE being attracted to #GivingTuesday, we know that.  And a segment is seeking to engage from their smart phones and tablets.  We need to meet the consumer—in this case, the potential donor or social change agent—where they are.  And that’s, basically, on their mobile devices.

Going into year four, Blackbaud is going to continue to focus on data, both capturing it and helping others to understand what they say so we can all make the most of December 1, 2015.  We seek to help amplify this “movement for all,” doing our small part in making it a highly successful way to broaden the net, attracting people who might not consider themselves as philanthropists (yet or ever).  And we’ll continue to leverage #GivingTuesday as a way to have our own people’s voices be heard, as we did in partnership with the NASDAQ last year.  To share what they believe, care about and want to make happen in the world.  We are citizens of the world.

This movement is for all of us.  And we are’t anywhere near done.

Download the full Giving Tuesday report here!


Rachel Hutchisson is the vice president of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Blackbaud, headquartered in Charleston, SC.  She is responsible for the company’s global corporate citizenship efforts, a role that allows her to leverage her 20+ years of experience of working with nonprofit partners.  She is a member of the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International, the Giving Institute (producers of Giving USA), and the Coastal Community Foundation.  She is also a Past President of the AFP SC Lowcountry chapter. Rachel is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she is a Renaissance Weekend participant and was the recipient of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Influential Women in Business Rising Star Award.  Rachel is an avid soccer fan and spends far too much time driving to remote parts of the state to watch her children play.  Connect with Rachel on Twitter at @RachelHutchssn or on LinkedIn.

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