Giving Tuesday Definition, Taxes, and Impact

What Is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday is a global initiative that encourages people and organizations to donate their time and money to charitable causes on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States. The initiative was created in 2012 as a joint project between New York City’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation.

As the Giving Tuesday movement focuses on giving and the awareness of those in need, it acts as a counterweight to the retail shopping events that immediately precede it on the calendar: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Key Takeaways

  • The Giving Tuesday initiative was started in 2012 to encourage the global community to focus on altruism.
  • People can take part in Giving Tuesday by making financial donations or helping their communities.
  • Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
  • The event has raised billions of dollars in charitable contributions for nonprofit organizations.

Understanding Giving Tuesday

The U.S. government first floated the idea of setting the last Thursday of November as a national holiday in 1789 for people to give thanks. In 1870, Congress passed legislation to make it an official national holiday. Thanksgiving has since been observed on the fourth Thursday of November. It aimed to help businesses that suffered during the Great Depression by adding an extra week to the Christmas shopping season.

The holiday is followed by several other key events. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all follow Thanksgiving and relate to retail shopping experiences, giving consumers a chance to take advantage of special deals and sales for Christmas shopping. Giving Tuesday is a relatively new phenomenon and occurs on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Giving Tuesday was established in 2012 as a day of global giving. As such, it is meant to promote altruism and generosity following days of consumerism after the Thanksgiving holiday. It was designed to encourage people to open their wallets and make donations to worthy causes. In other cases, organizations ask people to consider making other gestures to support their communities like volunteering their time.

Millions of people have taken part in Giving Tuesday since its inception, raising billions of dollars for charities and communities around the world. Corporations and other organizations also take part in the event—many of which promise to match donations of up to 100%.

37 million

The number of people who participated in Giving Tuesday in 2022, up 6% over 2021.

Special Considerations

From its start, Giving Tuesday has seen its mission as encouraging altruism, both through personal efforts and by giving one’s time and resources to nonprofit organizations. It provides various resources—including organizing and communication tools—to assist nonprofits that participate in the event.

According to the GivingTuesday website, organizations can capitalize on the awareness generated by the event in a number of ways, whether by creating volunteer-driven events, developing fundraising campaigns, or hosting guest speakers. It also encourages businesses and nonprofit groups to amplify the message of giving back by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on social media. 

The movement also fostered the development of philanthropic efforts tailored to local needs and specific groups. Hundreds of Giving Tuesday communities have sprouted up in the United States, including groups using the hashtags #MuslimsGive, #iGiveCatholic, #GivingTuesdayLGBTQ, and #GivingTuesdayMilitary.

The GivingTuesday organization does not receive funds on behalf of charitable entities?—nonprofits receive the donations directly.

History of Giving Tuesday

Leaders at the 92nd Street Y in New York City launched Giving Tuesday in 2012 as an effort to focus on benevolence during the early holiday season when events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday often command the public’s attention. The idea was to unleash a wide array of charitable efforts, from organizing local food drives to making donations that support anti-hunger initiatives worldwide.

Asha Curran, then 92Y’s chief innovation officer, and Henry Timms, who was its executive director, traveled across the country to promote the idea. The organization was able to draw vital support from the United Nations Foundation, which became the initiative’s co-founder.

In the decade since, the idea has gained a large following, spurring billions of dollars in financial donations to nonprofits worldwide. The hashtag #GivingTuesday is now a popular tool to inspire generosity among social media users.

Giving Tuesday spun off from 92Y in 2019, becoming an independent organization named GivingTuesday, with Curran serving as its chief executive director (CEO). According to its website, the organization’s goal is “to create a more just and generous world, one where generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity, and equity around the globe.”

Global Impact of Giving Tuesday?

More than 2,500 nonprofit organizations took part in Giving Tuesday in the first year, raising approximately $12 million.?The movement’s impact increased dramatically since then. Donations totaled $3.1 billion in the U.S. alone in 2022, representing a 15% increase from 2021. It is now a global phenomenon, with more than 80 countries claiming their own national Giving Tuesday movements.

A number of key corporate and philanthropic partners helped bolster donations by offering matching funds on individual donations. For example:

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has taken part in the Giving Tuesday movement. In 2022, the organization made a $10 million grant to GivingTuesday to further the cause.
  • Major corporations like Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Apple offer matching donations made by their customers to registered charities and other organizations.
  • Meta joined the Giving Tuesday movement and now has a six-week Giving Season. It added the option of “Donate” buttons on Facebook to the profile page for nonprofits, pledging $7 million in matching funds in 2022 during Giving Season, which began on Nov. 15.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Giving Tuesday created #GivingTuesdayNow, an event that took place on May 5, 2020, to spur donations, civic engagement, and volunteerism to combat the health crisis. The one-time event raised more than $503 million in online donations and spawned a social media presence in more than 145 countries around the globe.

Tax Deductions and Giving Tuesday Donations?

Taxpayers who itemize their deductions have an extra incentive to make contributions on Giving Tuesday and at other points throughout the year, as those donations reduce their taxable income.

The number of households that itemize shrank considerably after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, which eliminated many individual deductions and nearly doubled the standard deduction. This remains in effect until 2025.

Some of the tax incentives for making charitable contributions were reinstated temporarily following changes made regarding 2020 federal taxes. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allowed individuals to use up to $300 of qualified donations as above-the-line deductions on their 2020 taxes.

This meant that even filers using the standard deduction could receive a tax benefit. In 2021, $300 per person was allowed, so couples filing jointly could take up to $600. This tax benefit expired, which means it is no longer available for tax filers.

When Is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. In 2023, it falls on Nov. 28.

How Much Does Giving Tuesday Raise?

In 2022, Giving Tuesday raised $3.1 billion in total donations in the United States. This amount was 15% more than the previous year.

How Can I Participate in Giving Tuesday?

There are numerous ways to participate in Giving Tuesday. You can donate your time or money to a charitable cause. Promoting the movement and altruism by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on social media is another way.

The Bottom Line

Since its inception a decade ago, Giving Tuesday has raised billions of dollars for nonprofit organizations. It was launched to encourage people around the world to donate money or their time to charitable causes. Today, more than 80 countries take part.

Article Sources
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