'Giving Tuesday' Follows Record-Breaking Cyber Monday

Dec 3, 2013
Originally published on December 3, 2013 4:19 pm

Cyber Monday, the Super Bowl of online sales, broke all records this year, with sales up 19 percent over last year.

Mobile traffic accounted for 13 percent of total site visits, and sales are projected to reach $2 billion for desktop online sales, according to comScore.

But the bonanza isn’t over. Today is “Giving Tuesday.” The movement to create a national day of giving started last year, raising $10 million dollars for more than 2,500 charities nationwide.


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From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Robin Young. It's HERE AND NOW.

Cyber Monday, the Super Bowl of online shopping, broke all records yesterday, sales projected to reach $2 billion. But if you're feeling guilty about all that crass consumerism, welcome to Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving that was started last year by nonprofits like New York's 92nd Street Y and Blackbaud, a company that supplies software to nonprofits. In 2012, Giving Tuesday raised $10 million for more than 2,500 charities across the country, and now it's gone international.

Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal usually joins us to talk business. So, Jason, weigh in on the business of charities, and this day in particular. How does it work?

JASON BELLINI: Well, hi, Robin. Well, a lot of businesses are getting involved, and just getting in on a movement that one of my colleagues, Anne Kadet, described as a vast conspiracy of do-gooder types.


BELLINI: And there are a lot of luminaries who are behind this. You've got Bill Gates, the White House. Hugh Jackman has been tweeting about it. Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed it. And the idea is, you know, you get people to give and encourage others to do the same today by flooding Facebook and Twitter with updates about it. And the objective is here is to make Giving Tuesday a little like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and capture some of that enthusiasm that shoppers have on Black Friday.

And I spoke with a representative at Giving Tuesday, and she told me that they're seeing an approximate average of 450 tweets a minute using the hashtag #givingtuesday. So - and they've also - they're also getting more and more partners, they said, by the minute. They have over 10,000 partners at this point. These are individual people, organizations and businesses that are on board with Giving Tuesday.

YOUNG: Well - and there's different ways you can join it. There are charities that join, and everybody's mailboxes are probably stuffed with their appeals to donate to them at this time of year - Audubon Society, all sorts of other terrific groups. But then also, you know, schools or community groups can commit to starting a project that'll benefit at least one registered charity.

BELLINI: Yeah. That's exactly right. And so these are available directly through the Giving Tuesday website. You can pick one, and pick one to give to, and then tweet about your efforts. I mean, really, what this is about is asking folks to change their habits. Most Americans already gave a lot, but they wait until after Christmas, when they're busting over tax deductions.

Now, this year, many of the partners are planning events and promotions. These include big names like Wal-Mart and United Way. The Fisher House Foundation, they got over $500,000 from Wal-Mart this year, and they're hoping to build on that by having Wal-Mart promote what they've done to help that organization, that helps military families with housing.

YOUNG: Well, a hotel, Sofitel in Beverly Hills, is having an event, is holding a Giving Tuesday event. Google - if you go on, Google's holding a hangout. But what about the idea of when to give? You mentioned that people start scrambling right before they do their taxes to find deductions to offset how much they have to spend. Obviously, the organizers of this event are hoping that, one, you'll feel guilty about all the shopping and eating in the last few days. But is there a tax benefit to giving at this time of year?

BELLINI: Well, the tax benefit comes any time that you give in a calendar year. And - but most people really do wait until December to give. In fact, 30 percent of annual giving at Network for Good is done in December. And they're an organization that sort of pools a lot of donations, is the way that a lot of organizations get their money.

I also spoke with Charity Navigator, a site that evaluates different charities. And they told me that the last three days of the year - and actually, the last few hours of the year - are really tremendous for charities at that particular point. So, you know, Giving Tuesday, the idea is to move it up a little bit earlier. Get your giving going a little bit earlier. In terms of tax benefits, do it before the end of the year if you're worried about this year.

YOUNG: Right. You mentioned Charity Navigator. There's also Charity Watch, different charity evaluators to help you out with this day. And we say, why not? We have a link to Giving Tuesday, their campaign, at hereandnow.org. Check that out, as well. Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal, looking at the business of charities today. Jason, thanks so much.

BELLINI: Thank you.

YOUNG: You're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.