Donations poured into nonprofits and schools for the seventh annual Giving Tuesday, an international online-giving event akin to Minnesota’s own Give to the Max Day.
For Minnesota nonprofits, especially those with national or international reach, it’s a second opportunity to appeal to donors during the critical holiday fundraising season.
Giving Tuesday generated an estimated $274 million in donations in 2017, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and could exceed that this year.
CaringBridge, the Eagan-based nonprofit social network for families and friends facing health issues, rallies donors on both days. CaringBridge raised $40,000 on Give to the Max Day on Nov. 15, and it’s aiming to raise $100,000 on Giving Tuesday to unlock a matching grant, said spokeswoman Beth Betcher.
“We are a global organization, so we have always participated in Giving Tuesday as well as Give to the Max Day,” she said. “We have millions of users all over the country and the globe.”
Betcher said loyal Minnesota donors often give on both days, especially if there’s a matching grant on the line.
The Minnesota Community Foundation and other philanthropies started Give to the Max Day in 2009 to help nonprofits fundraise. Three years later, the 92nd Street Y in New York and the United Nations Foundation launched Giving Tuesday in 2012 as a rebuke to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Give to the Max Day, run by the nonprofit GiveMN, focuses on one central website and donations portal. But Giving Tuesday is a more decentralized movement that urges generosity through thousands of nonprofit websites, online fundraisers and social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday. Many businesses also offer promotions related to the day.
The success of Give to the Max Day, which raised a record $21 million this year, has muted interest in Giving Tuesday here in Minnesota, said GiveMN Executive Director Jake Blumberg.
“We don’t look at it as competition. We look at it as another good thing in the community,” said Blumberg, who teaches fundraising at Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas. “We encourage organizations to choose the right strategy for them. A big part of that decision is: Where is your reach and where are your donors?”
The international charity Feed My Starving Children, headquartered in Coon Rapids, celebrates both days, said Andy Carr, vice president of development and marketing. They raise more on Give to the Max Day — $238,000 in donations and matching grants this year — but said Giving Tuesday is growing every year. He said it’s harder to track Giving Tuesday numbers and declined to share that estimated total.
“It’s gaining more traction in the national and international social media world, especially with the hashtag #GivingTuesday,” Carr said.
This year, Facebook and PayPal pledged $7 million in matching grants for charities around the world.
Giving Tuesday’s timing on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving appeals to donors who have just spent the past few days eating rich foods and splurging on shopping sprees, Carr said.
“We’ve had this indulgence for several days. We should probably do something to help other people,” Carr said. “For charities in general, Giving Tuesday is very good. It reminds people there is need out there.”