Moneyish: It’s now easier than ever to give to charity on Giving Tuesday

There’s no excuse to scrooge on Giving Tuesday this year.

Supporting the seventh annual global day of giving is easier than ever before, thanks to apps and online platforms that have made donating as simple as tapping your screen — not to mention the events hosted by community organizations and companies in more than 150 countries that encourage people to break from their holiday shopping to help their fellow man.

“There are already these two days surrounding the retail community — Black Friday and Cyber Monday — where everyone is looking for the best shopping deal, and talking about shopping,” said Jessica Schneider from the 92nd Street Y’s Belfer Center for Innovation Social Impact, which was the brainchild of Giving Tuesday in 2012. “And we thought, ‘What if there was a day for talking about philanthropy and volunteering and advocacy in the same way?’”

That first Giving Tuesday generated $10 million in online charitable donations; last year, Schneider’s team estimates that more than $300 million was raised online in the U.S. alone in just 24 hours, or a 2,900% increase in just six years. While almost 100 countries participated in 2016, that number hit more than 150 in 2017. And last year, 75% of those donating money were repeat givers, with an average donation of $120.

Also read: How to donate shares to your favorite charity

Social media has been vital in making this day of giving go viral. The 92nd Street Y claims that the #GivingTuesday hashtag is now a bigger trending conversation on social media than #CyberMonday, and that more than half of Americans (58%) are now aware of the holiday; and of those, 67% participate in some way. “We grew up with social media,” said Schneider. “People used to be very private about their giving, but there’s been a cultural shift (with oversharing in general) where people are a lot more comfortable talking about their giving. And the most effective way to get someone to give is to have the ask come from a friend.”

Facebook’s fundraising features, for example, have helped raise more than $1 billion on the social network for nonprofit and personal causes. The site is encouraging users to support Giving Tuesday on their Facebook pages by partnering up with PayPal and pledging to match up to $7 million in donations made on Facebook to eligible U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits this Tuesday. Creating a fundraiser is as simple as selecting a nonprofit such as the California Fire Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or No Kid Hungry on Facebook’s Fundraisers page, or selecting the “Support A Nonprofit” option when creating a status update.



Steve Debenport/iStock

Giving Tuesday encourages people to pitch in their time or their money.

Text-to-give donations are also making participation easier. Network for Good, which offers fundraising software and services for nonprofits, reported that while only 4% of donations were made from mobile phones in 2013, that climbed to 14% last year. And the U.K.’s Phone-paid Services Authority, which regulates payments taken by text services, expects donations by text to increase 34% in the next year. Donating online with a credit or debit card remains the most popular giving method, however, with 54% of donors worldwide preferring to donate this way, with giving cash or by direct mail tied for second place among 11% of donors.

Also read: How much money should you be giving to charity?

For those strapped for cash, no donation is too small. Not everyone can make a $1.8 billion donation in college aid to their alma mater the way former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg recently did for Johns Hopkins University. “Every donation we get is important, and the smallest donation we get is a dollar,” Carolyn Weiss, the chief financial officer at The New York Community Trust, told Moneyish. Her organization works with more than 40,000 nonprofits in the NYC metro area, connecting do-gooders with groups in need to give money and supplies, or to volunteer their time. “We will aggregate all of those $10 donations, and we’ll bundle them together, and we will be able to make a difference with the collection of those small amounts,” she said.

And Giving Tuesday isn’t just about donating money; another meaningful way to kick in is to donate your time. Schneider also suggests using your skills — like your financial expertise, marketing acumen or legal knowledge — to help a nonprofit out. Either reach out to local community organizations to see what services they need, or check out Taproot+ , which can connect you with pro bono opportunities. You can also volunteer in your neighborhood; sites like Volunteer Match and The New York Community Trust can introduce you to local organizations in need of a helping hand.

“Give your voice, if nothing else,” said Schneider, such as writing a social media post about an organization you have supported in the past, with a link on where to donate. “Sign a petition for a cause you care about. Sign up to give blood or be an organ donor, and share that. Or make an online pledge to volunteer when you have more time around the holiday season.”

Also read: How workers could donate to charity as easily as putting money in their 401(k)

Or turn your holiday shopping into a charity drive by supporting businesses that are donating a portion of their proceeds to those in need. For example, if you shop on AmazonSmile — a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features as the main site — the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charity of your choice. Or create a fundraising campaign on ShoppingGives, which teams up with retailers such as Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s and Home Depot, providing coupon deals for you and your supporters. And then every online purchase from these retailers results in a donation to your cause – up to 40% – which you can track using your personalized dashboard.

Even brands like Pizza Hut are getting in on the giving action; the pizza chain is supporting children’s literacy by donating $1 from every “First Book Bundle” order (two large three-topping pizzas and 1 order of breadsticks starting at $20.99) to the First Book nonprofit providing equal access to quality education for kids in need.

After all, consumers are shopping around for brands that are giving back, according to a new Mintel report, which found that nearly two-thirds of people believe it is a company’s responsibility to give back (65%), while around half expect brands to improve the local community (53%) and donate proceeds to charity (49%). And doing good makes a company look good. Mintel also reported that 82% of surveyed consumers believe that brands demonstrating social responsibility, like through charity drives, have higher quality products.

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