Why #GivingTuesday is Here to Stay in Social Media (and Elsewhere)


As some of you may (or may not) know, today, Tuesday, December 2nd marks the third annual date for Giving Tuesday. Launched in 2012 as a collective effort of the United Nations and 92nd Street Y to promote a day of giving, it encourages individuals, businesses and others non profit organizations to give back to the community by donating their time or money to a worthy cause.

And of course, how can you forget the whole sharing-your-efforts of charity on social media. While the results for this year are yet to be seen, the stats of the previous year look promising.

Last year, online donations reached 19.2 million dollars in the US, a 90% increase in comparison to the year before (2012). Another thing that has increased is the average size of donations,  $142 was the average size last year, up from $101 in 2012. Not only have donations increased, but participants as well. This year, Giving Tuesday has gotten 20,000 nonprofit organizations to partner with them, a huge leap from 2,500 in the year of its inception.

This goes without saying, but the movement has been largely successful. A reason for its popularity is in part because it has allowed for organizations and businesses to create their own campaigns around this event to encourage giving. One examples is Crowdrise’s Giving Tower. This company, that focuses on crowdsourcing for charity, has created a virtual giving tower, which allows people to ‘see’ the power of giving. Users can visualize the tower in augmented reality through an app on their phone and follow its growth in real-time. Each donation is seen as a brick that is contributing to making the tower taller.


Another reason for its wide acceptance is because it uses one of the most important vehicles for promoting and spreading the word about something today – social media. The hashtag #GivingTuesday for example was tweeted up to 700 times per minute during peak hours. The hashtag #unselfie, where users are encouraged to take a picture and upload it to social media to show support for the cause has also become tradition.

Giving Tuesday is here to stay. Here is why it is more than just a fad to fuel the philanthropic bug in everyone:

  • The timing is just right: timing plays a huge role in the success of an event. As social media marketers, we know that time is of the essence. The impact of a tweet put out at a wrong time is tremendous. In this regard, the timing for Giving Tuesday is perfect: not only is it set right at the beginning of the holiday season, but comes after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, days when people tend to spend a lot of money. Feeling a bit of guilt after these days is commonplace.


  •  Allows room for change: the purpose of Giving Tuesday is to get businesses and individuals to give back to the community. While people are encouraged to participate, they are not told how to. That is completely up to them.This freedom to choose allows for ideas to flourish and creativity to kick in. This is essentially what differentiates it from other events that gained widespread popularity on social media, like the Ice Bucket Challenge for example. While the Ice Bucket Challenge was an innovative idea that was fun and easy to participate in, it offered very little room for innovation and thus died quickly. And as a simple rule of content marketing, content does not only have to be unique and relevant, but be provided on a regular basis. This is where other campaigns fail, and where Giving Tuesday’s works.

  • It targets human behavior: Giving Tuesday exploits the power of personal networks. By encouraging others to help share their experiences on social media channels, they tap into human behavior. Individuals sharing their own giving experiences on Facebook and Twitter will encourage others to take action and follow suit. After all, there is more power (and pressure) to give when a person who know – say, a friend or a member of your family – asks you to participate.

Social media provides a huge potential for giving. Not only because it facilitates and makes the whole process more accessible, but because it is allows for anyone to participate. And if done right, it can lead to great results.

If your business or organization is not yet participating on Giving Tuesday, consider starting to do so – pronto. After all, 91% of consumers are likely to switch to a brand that is associated to a good cause. If you need help thinking of ways to launch a social media campaign to celebrate Giving Tuesday, or simply to promote your business on social media, consider us as your digital marketing team.


Written by Tanu Gupta


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