Where Does ‘Giving Tuesday’ Come From?

This year, Giving Tuesday is on December 1st, which is right around the corner! In the non-profit world this day is basically a Christmas/New Years/4th of July/Sparkler jamboree. But what exactly is Giving Tuesday and when did it come to be? 

The History of Giving Tuesday:

While you’ve probably heard of (and participated in) the holiday shopping events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, society tried to balance out the rampant consumerism with new themed days following Thanksgiving. Mainly, Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday. This has actually been a pretty new addition! 

Giving Tuesday was initially created in 2011 and was originally called Cyber Giving Monday. This was, “the brainchild of the non-profit Mary-Arrchie Theater Company and then producing director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia urging donors to take a different approach to filling up an online virtual cart with goods,” (Source: Wikipedia). 

By 2012, it was rebranded into ‘Giving Tuesday’ and now has become a global phenomenon. Over the last 8 years, millions of dollars have been donated to charities on this day! 

What is Giving Tuesday?

Well according to the experts, “#GivingTuesday is a day to inspire generosity around the world and for people everywhere to support the causes they believe in and the communities they care about. It is celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It started as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past few years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity,” (Source: GivingTuesday.org). 

Basically? It’s the one day a year that the world helps us push the idea of donating to charity and sharing missions that inspire you. (Although, for non-profit people, Giving Tuesday feels like every day – amiright?)

Giving Tuesday by the Numbers 

As a growing trend in giving, millions of dollars will be donated to charity on this day. But just how many people get into the spirit? 

A recent report from Funraise showed that 26% of people in the U.S. and Canada donated to charity on Giving Tuesday in 2019. Just 26% of the population was able to donate tens of millions of dollars. (Which is outstanding, but that’s such a small portion of the population! Let’s see that number start to skyrocket! *star-eye emoji*)

HOWEVER, get ready for a warm hearted humanity boost! Just a few months after 2019’s Giving Tuesday, our world went into full blown Coronavirus pandemic. The economic strain on the country (re: the world, but I can only speak on trends in the U.S.) meant something different to every individual person. In response, we saw an increase in charitable giving up to 62%! Even in some of the worst economic times, people were able to come together and show true care for their neighbor and we love to see it. 

You can click here for the full Global Giving Trends Report.


In 2020, as per the theme of the year, the world had to adapt and do things a little differently. It was announced that May 5th would host a #GivingTuesdayNow with the intention of giving coronavirus relief themed donations. While as a global community of non-profit professionals and fundraisers, we were thrilled about this additional call-to-action for service, it also means that we are quite uncertain what this means for December 1st. 

If you want to hear my thoughts on this with rockstar fundraising coach, Mallory Erickson, check out this interview on The Make An Impact Podcast!

In the last few years, Facebook has even joined in on the trend (and buying themselves some good PR) by matching all donations made through Facebook fundraisers. The trick to this is, they release the matching capabilities around 7am central time and give a limit of $2 million (roughly). Well in anticipation of getting the most bang for your buck thanks to Facebook, that matching money is usually claimed in the first few minutes. Wild to think about – but how cool that we really get into the generous spirit so early in the morning?! 

**Fun Fact: Facebook is increasing their matching level thanks to the insanity of 2020 and $7 MILLION is up for matching grabs! Read more about the breakdown by clicking here!

Giving Tuesday, The ONA Way 

In Operation Not Alone history, we have participated mildly on this day. This was for a variety of reasons; from lack of resources, lack of a solid donor base, and honestly a lack of time from a small team who was recovering from Veterans Day services. Plus, Giving Tuesday used to seem overwhelming and intimidating by seeing these million dollar benchmarks from the big non-profits. We felt like we could never get a crumb of the pie. So, we would put out a Facebook fundraiser, try to get some matched dollars, and call it a day. 

But this year, that all is about to change. 

This year, our website has received an amazing fundraising facelift thanks to Harness Giving, our team has grown by 150%, and we’ve cultivated some amazing new relationships! Enter: our sweet friend Jack Cheng and The Cheng Real Estate Group!

This will be the 3rd holiday season that we have gotten to grow with Jack Cheng and we could not be more grateful. As a person, he is such a generous and heartfelt man who has embraced the ONA mission from the first time he heard about us. And this beautiful partnership has only grown. 

Last year, he decided to keep the ONA love going all year long by dedicating a % of any commission on his real estate sales if the home buyer mentions ONA in the process. How incredible is that?! 

And now in 2020, he decided to be our matching partner for Giving Tuesday! Any donation made (on any platform) on Tuesday, December 1st will be matched by him and The Cheng Real Estate Group up to $2,000!

Our Final Feels

We hope that you’ll consider giving this Giving Tuesday — to any organization or mission that has tugged at your heart strings or that you feel called to. We hope that you take an extra moment to be grateful, give thanks, and give kindness (every day, obviously) but especially on December 1st. 

However, if we have persuaded you, please feel free to donate to Operation Not Alone for our #GivingTuesday campaign and know that your donation will be matched all day long thanks to Jack Cheng and The Cheng Real Estate Group! Check out the links below and save the date with ONA:

Susan Fochs                                                                                                                                       

Founder & CEO

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