The Margin: What is Giving Tuesday? 5 facts about how it started and how much money it raises


So, you shopped till you dropped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to an event that focuses on something more charity-minded.

In other words, it’s time for Giving Tuesday.

As its name suggests, the day, which directly follows Cyber Monday, is all about giving — as in making donations to your favorite causes. But it’s also about charity in a broader sense: GivingTuesday, the nonprofit organization that promotes the event, encourages people to help in other ways, from giving blood to assisting an elderly neighbor with some household chores. 

Want to know a little more about Giving Tuesday? Read on…

When did Giving Tuesday start?

The event was launched in 2012 led by New York City’s 92nd Street Y through its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact. As Henry Timms, former executive director of the 92nd Street Y and now president and CEO of Lincoln Center, once explained: “After the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday sees people rally around community spirit and gratitude. After two days for the economy, one good for the soul.” 

How much of an impact has Giving Tuesday had?

A significant one, according to Asha Curran, CEO of the GivingTuesday organization. She says that more than $10 billion has been donated during the past decade of Giving Tuesdays. In 2021 alone, nearly $2.7 billion was donated, almost a 10% increase over the prior year. “This is an extraordinary sum especially when you consider that these are not billionaire gifts. They are normal American citizens doing their part to give back to their communities and their world,” Curran told MarketWatch.

Is Giving Tuesday just in the U.S.?

No, it’s global. The GivingTuesday organization says people participate in every nation in the world, adding that the movement “has proved to be a powerful intervention for countries facing devastating disasters and crises, enabling people to quickly come together and organize.”

What is expected this year in terms of overall donations?

Curran of GivingTuesday notes that it’s difficult to predict what the figures will be. “Every year is unique and has its own set of factors that impact people’s behaviors,” she said. 

What if I don’t have extra money to give?

As noted before, Giving Tuesday is not just about cash. Nor is it about giving only on the day itself. At heart, the movement behind the event is about encouraging people to think and act charitably — in any number of ways — on a regular basis. “We want everyone to join in (on Giving Tuesday), but we want them to carry that inspiration and focus on community with them every day and every month throughout the year,” Curran said. 

: Tight budget this Giving Tuesday? Try these 7 tips to maximize donations — including channeling MacKenzie Scott

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