Reflections on Giving Tuesday
December 29, 2020
As I wrote earlier this month, nonprofits have played a critically important role in our communities over the last nine months. From providing food to families in need to helping students bridge the digital divide to supporting communities of color, nonprofit organizations have been among the heroes of 2020.
Yet, as another piece of mine explored, nonprofits are struggling to make ends meet.
Within the nonprofit space, December is a make or break period. The month in which many nonprofits pull in more than one-third of their annual donations, December often determines for nonprofits the size and scope of the operations and programs they can develop over the course of the ensuing year.
Giving Tuesday, celebrated on the first Tuesday of the month of December, is a modern holiday developed to help facilitate ambitious fundraising goals at the month’s beginning. Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Giving Tuesday seeks to channel in generosity what Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday generate in revenues.
In the years since the 92nd Street Y’s first inception of this event, GivingTuesday, an official independent organization, has launched to “inspire hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”
This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant recession, Giving Tuesday has taken on a new resonance. The services of nonprofits and charities will be direly needed as the pandemic persists into 2021, and Americans took notice on Giving Tuesday.
This year, more than $2.5 billion was donated to charitable causes on Giving Tuesday, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. It is both exciting and encouraging to see grassroots action that supports the critical organizations, and the brave men and women who staff them, that have worked tirelessly to fill in the gaps in state service provision.
Giving Tuesday has been so successful a vehicle for generating critical funds for nonprofit organizations that GivingTuesday (the organization) leadership organized an impromptu iteration of the day in May 2020, realizing that the unprecedented challenges of the moment had placed immense strain and renewed responsibility on organizations across the country.
Americans responded in force, contributing more than $500 million to the #GivingTuesdayNow campaign.
#GivingTuesdayNow illuminates a peculiar dilemma within the nonprofit fundraising space—how can organizations ensure they have the means to respond to exigent situations, whenever they may happen over the course of the year?
The answer, to some degree, lies with philanthropists. While Giving Tuesday is a heartwarming annual act of generosity that truly brings out the best in America, donors, both big and small, should consider giving over the course of the year as well. The reality is that disasters, emergencies and crises can strike at any time. Nonprofits are best prepared to handle them in January, leaving the potential for asymmetric responses.
Giving Tuesday encourages people to be generous every day. Right now, that can mean helping neighbors in need, supporting medical and essential workers. It can even mean volunteering to work outside the home, or simply wearing a mask.
At the Amit Raizada Foundation, we seek to inspire lasting social change that promotes community health, educational attainment, and tolerance. We applaud the organizations working to realize these goals in their communities.
We have all been blessed over the course of this last year by our country’s robust nonprofit sector. It’s our job, through opportunities like Giving Tuesday, to pay it forward.
Amit Raizada is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and investor whose mastery of investment and growth strategies has helped launch and grow countless successful business ventures across the globe. In 2002, Raizada founded Spectrum Business Ventures which today consists of more than 80 operating companies spanning multiple industries including technology, entertainment, real estate, financial services, hospitality, retail, eSports, fashion and others. Raizada is a lifelong philanthropist with a devout passion for giving back to the community, and in 2017 cofounded Vision Global Foundation, which supports charitable causes around the globe that focus on children and families in need. For more information about Amit Raizada please visit his bio page.