Giving Tuesday and the case for online donations

Giving Tuesday is a day for charity. Following Thanksgiving weekend, the event started in 2012 as a response to the over-commercialization of the holiday season. While donors can make offline gifts or volunteer, the majority of Giving Tuesday campaigns center around online donations. Organizations that accept donations online stood to benefit the most.

Charities raised nearly $46 million for this year's Giving Tuesday, and more than $26 million of that total was netted in online contributions, according to Mashable, citing data from Blackbaud. Within the U.S., 4,396 individual nonprofits received donations on Dec. 2. 

Awareness of Giving Tuesday, as well as donations, have increased every year since its inception. In 2013, Giving Tuesday contributions saw a 36 percent year-over-year increase. This year, donations skyrocketed 159 percent compared to 2012. This day is well timed to start your holiday campaigns, and the huge rise in awareness shows the strong potential. 

Giving Tuesday and social media promotion
Giving Tuesday would not have become as popular without social media. People who give to charity or volunteer on Giving Tuesday can post a picture of themselves with a sign highlighting the cause they supported. It's called an "unselfie." This is an easy way to share information about causes with friends and followers on social media, raising more awareness. The movement really took off this year because of the number of celebrities who posted unselfies, The Chronicle of Philanthropy stated. 

Social media is a crucial tool for nonprofits that utilize online fundraising because it expands the size of your audience. If your followers share your posts, their friends may get interested in your cause. This enables you to connect with people who may not have heard of your organization of their own. 

Awareness and donations for all
It isn't just large charitable foundations that can leverage the power of Giving Tuesday to raise online donations. 

"The cool thing about Giving Tuesday is that any size organization can participate and meet some new donors and get a little more visibility and notoriety," Allison Albert, director of membership and marketing at Maryland Nonprofits, told The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 

Maryland Nonprofits raised $8.3 million by 10:30 p.m. on Giving Tuesday, and the organization processed more donations after that time. 

Even though Giving Tuesday is over for now, it's important to understand how online giving can make a serious difference for your organization. With the right fundraising idea, you can expand your donor database. However, you need to realize that the campaign doesn't end immediately after Giving Tuesday. You need to focus on your stewardship efforts to retain donors over time. Getting the first gift is great, but starting a lasting relationship with new contributors is even better. This allows you to curate content for your database over time and make more meaningful connections. 

Nonprofits that accept online donations have a chance to significantly increase revenue and reach more individuals.

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