Grade Level: 
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Global Community
Introduction to Philanthropy
#GivingTuesday has interwoven the generosity of giving during the holiday season with the leverage of social media to connect and engage people worldwide in a movement to benefit the public good.

Written by Brooke Katinsky Tsalikova



In the United States, a new “holiday” has emerged between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  You may be thinking of Black Friday or Cyber Monday but it’s been appropriately named #GivingTuesday!  GivingTuesday is being celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  We often think of the winter holidays as a time of giving and #GivingTuesday is a perfect way to celebrate and give back.  This year #GivingTuesday is Tuesday November 27, 2018.  This is not just a day but a year-long celebration and movement which encourages giving around the world through conversation, collaboration, and various events (GivingTuesday).  


Historic Roots

The GivingTuesday movement ( was created in 2012 by a team at the Belfar Center for Innovation & Social Impact at 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.  Founded in New York City in 1874, 92Y’s mission is to bring together today’s most exceptional thinkers and influential partners for social good (92Y).   

“A team of influencers and founding partners joined forces, collaborating across sectors, offering expertise and working tirelessly, to launch #GivingTuesday and have continued to shape, grow and strengthen the movement” (GivingTuesday).



Utilizing technology and social media, #GivingTuesday reaches across the globe, connecting people around the world to positively impact their communities by encouraging them to donate their valuable resources through time, talent, and/or treasure.  The #GivingTuesday website provides an abundance of resources for individuals, nonprofit organizations, civic organizations, and business and corporations with an interest in joining this movement by leveraging their generosity and strengthening their collective impact.

There have also been critics of the #GivingTuesday movement over the years.  The criticism is not centered on motivation but rather the growing number of participants and now competition, effectiveness of spot giving, and return on investment of the resources directed to this one day event (Garecht 2013).  Others question the potential negative impact on an organization’s other fundraising campaigns as well as uncertainty around positive contribution to donor retention (Wood 2014).   

Each organization must decide for themselves whether the time and effort allocated to this movement is aligned with their fundraising goals and strategy.  However, the impact for 2015 alone was quite impressive with over 40,000 organizations in 71 countries participating and over $116 million dollars raised online.  The #GivingTuesday website provides links to global campaigns as the work with the United Nations Development Programme and TechSoup Global reach out to celebrate and engage others worldwide (GivingTuesday).   


Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

The global nature of the #GivingTuesday platform reinforces idea that we are diverse yet can connect altruistically by “seeing everyone as similar in their humanity” (Payton and Moody).  With the development and ease of access to technology, we are able to connect worldwide with a couple clicks of a mouse or launching of an application on a mobile device.

GivingTuesday ties beautifully to Payton and Moody’s concept of giving all you can (Payton and Moody 2008).  This giving platform provides donors the opportunity to connect with organizations locally, nationally, or internationally which best match their passions and ability to give whether the gift is time, talent, or treasure.


Key Related Ideas

  • DonorsChoose was founded by a high school teacher in the Bronx and empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students.  The website allows teachers to post classroom project requests, and donors can choose the ones they want to support. Donors Choose is open to every public school in America (DonorsChoose).
  • Groupon Grassroots evolved out of Groupon’s collective action platform as a simple way to discover and support local causes.  Building on Groupon’s foundation of e-commerce leadership and local business development, Grassroots focuses its power to do good on keeping money in local communities (Groupon Grassroots).
  • TeachOne through Learning to Give invites teaches to pledge to teach a lesson about giving on #GivingTuesday (Learning to Give).


Important People Related to the Topic

Charles Best, the founder and CEO of DonorsChoose in 2000 whose mission is to make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need, moving us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education (DonorsChoose).

Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation.  Her career has spanned work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She is a passionate advocate for multi-sector problem-solving, U.S. leadership on global issues, and the inclusion of women at all levels and in all sectors (United Nations Foundation).

Rachel Hutchisson is the Director of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at Blackbaud Inc.  She is responsible for Blackbaud’s global corporate citizenship efforts, a role that allows her to leverage her 20+ years of experience of working with nonprofit partners.  She is a member of the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International, the Giving Institute (producers of Giving USA), and the Coastal Community Foundation (Blackbaud).

Patty Morrissey is Head of Groupon Grassroots where she also manages the Social Innovation Team.  Groupon Grassroots evolved out of Groupon’s collective action platform as a simple way to discover and support local causes. Building on Groupon’s foundation of e-commerce leadership and local business development, Grassroots focuses its power to do good on keeping money in local communities. (Groupon Grassroots)

Henry Timms is the Executive Director of 92nd Street Y and in 2012 he founded #GivingTuesday with co-creator Colleen Giles Timms.  #GivingTuesday engages more than 10,000 partners in a global day of giving that was honored with a Cannes Lion at the International Festival of Creativity; the PRWeek Global Award for Nonprofit Campaign of the Year; and the inaugural UJA-Federation Riklis Prize in Agency Entrepreneurship. Henry also co-founded the annual Social Good Summit, which pioneered a new, inclusive summit model that opened up the critical discussions held during UN week to a much wider audience and led to concurrent gatherings around the world. As an extension of the Social Good Summit, Henry led the team that developed a MOOC (massive open online course) called “How to Change the World,” offered with Wesleyan University; 51,000 students participated in its first year (92Y).


Related Nonprofit Organizations

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a private foundation guided by the belief that every life has equal value.  The following missions work to support their vision: 1) Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive, 2) Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives, 3) Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest, and 4) Inspire people to take action to change the world.  In 2015, #GivingTuesday and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a social media contest, #MyGivingStory, to promote giving (

Blackbaud has been serving the nonprofit, charitable giving, and education communitiesto help achieve their missions.  Blackbaud provides resources including Charitable Giving and #GivingTuesday Trends Reports as well as access to #Giving Tuesday Webinar Series (

Dorothy A. Johnson Center on Philanthropy is a university-based center leading a systems-based, comprehensive approach to serving nonprofits, foundations, and others seeking to transform their communities for the public good.  The Center is a founding partner of #GivingTuesday and use GivingTuesday as a platform to raise both funds and awareness (

Giving Sum is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a mission focused on inspiring and engaging the next generation of leaders by mobilizing their passions, talents, and resources to support innovative community initiatives.  Giving Sum utilizes volunteer opportunities, awareness, financial resources, education, and networking to support their mission (

Giving USA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to advancing the research, education, and public understanding of philanthropy (

GlobalGiving Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to catalyze a global market for ideas, information, and money that democratizes aid and philanthropy.  GlobalGiving Foundation is global crowdfunding community connecting nonprofit organizations, donors, and companies in countries around the world (

Learning to Give is a 501(c)(3) public charity which launched the #TeachOne movement on #GivingTuesday to encourage over 10,000 elementary school teachers in America to teach one lesson to their students about philanthropy (

PayPal Charitable Giving Fund is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose aim to unlock new sources of unrestricted funding for nonprofit organizations by making it easy for people around the globe to give as part of their daily life.  Their mission can be represented in just six words: any cause, any donor, any gift by partnering with PayPal, eBay for Charity, and Humble Bundle (

TisBest Philanthropy is a 501(c)(3) public charity established to encourage giving gifts of good rather than material gifts.  TisBest created Charity Gift Cards which function like conventional gift cards but empower gift recipients to support causes they are passionate about.  Gift recipients can choose to direct their funds to any of the 300+ charity partners (


Reflection Question - Did you know that only 18% of people surveyed knew about #GivingTuesday?  How can you spread the word to raise that percentage and why does it matter (Stiffman 2015)?



  • Blackbaud. GivingTuesday
  • DonorsChoose. Team
  • Garecht, Joe. “Why Your Non-Profit Should Avoid #GivingTuesday Like the Plague.” The Fundraising Authority. November 22, 2013.
  • GivingTuesday. About
  • GlobalGiving Foundation.  About Us
  • Groupon Grassroots. About us
  • Learning to Give. Teach One  
  • 92Y. About
  • Payton, Robert L., and Michael P. Moody. Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008.
  • Stiffman, Eden. "Study: Few Consumers Familiar With GivingTuesday." The Chronicle of Philanthropy. November 26, 2015.
  • TisBest Philanthropy. Blog.
  • United Nations Foundation. Who We Are.
  • Wood, Cara. “Is #GivingTuesday Worth the Effort for Your Nonprofit?” Capterra Nonprofit Technology. December 2, 2014.

This paper was developed by students taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in 2017. It is offered by Learning To Give and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.