People contributed a combined $380 million to nonprofit groups on Giving Tuesday, the international day for donating. That’s 27% more than last year’s total of $300 million, according to 92Y, the community nonprofit that founded the event in 2012. The total number of individual gifts given also rose 80% from 2 million in 2017 to 3.6 million this year.
“We are absolutely seeing a democratization of giving,” says Asha Curran, chief innovation officer at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at 92Y in an email to Fast Company. “#GivingTuesday is about the participation of the many rather than the power of the few. It’s fueled by many, many smaller actions–both in dollars, in kind, and in kindness–that add up to big impact.”
The increase in number of gifts does mean that the amount per gift dropped somewhat this year. It was $105 per donation this year, compared to $120 the year before. An increase in people giving small amounts runs counter to the narrative of what’s happening in American philanthropy, which in recent years has been controlled by a small corps of super-rich donors giving more while the majority of Americans donate less. That leaves average people with little say in what causes are being funded.
More Giving Tuesday participation, even if the individual total is a little less per person, seems like a good step toward changing that ratio, though it’s only a small one: Giving Tuesday has raised a total of $1 billion since it’s inception in 2012. Charitable giving in America reached a record $410 billion last year.
Exactly how many groups are receiving gifts year-over-year isn’t known, because 92Y only tracks the total number and amount. Either way, the event is giving nonprofits the chance to reach a growing number of people online each year. “This has major implications for the social sector, especially for how we work to engage people in causes in a transformational rather than transactional way,” Curran adds. “That engagement is going to look different than a generation or even five years ago as people claim more and more agency in the way they engage with the issues they care about.”