Posted by Steve Lettau on Dec 16, 2020

Participating in the online giving phenomenon makes altruism simpler

by Whet Moser in The Rotarian Magazine 

In 2019, the philanthropic event known as Giving Tuesday raised nearly $2 billion. And eight years after its inception, what began in the United States as a day focused on monetary donations has expanded across the globe and transformed to include volunteering, finding ways to show gratitude, and educating people about the value of altruism. For Rotary, as for many other nonprofit organizations, Giving Tuesday has become an important part of the philanthropic calendar.

The idea came out of the 92nd Street Y (short for the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association), a 146-year-old New York City institution similar to the YMCA that is well known for its cultural programming. The organization’s reputation helped it get 1,400 other entities on board for the first Giving Tuesday. Several months before its 2012 debut on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S., the idea was rolled out on Mashable, a tech news website that had partnered with the 92nd Street Y on previous undertakings.

“The idea was extremely simple,” says Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday, a spinoff nonprofit that organizes the event. “Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday: a day to give following two days of consumption.” The organizers reasoned that a weekday would work well because people are more likely to be in front of computers and on phones, making it easier to donate in response to a reminder. And the late-in-the-year date has another advantage: Research shows that philanthropists make a higher proportion of donations in the last three months of the calendar year, whether it’s because they are focusing on tax write-offs or attuned to the arrival of the holiday season.