NEW YORK – Giving Tuesday, a 5-year-old phenomenon aimed at encouraging online charitable giving, produced record-shattering donations this week, according to two organizations which tracked the flow of gifts.
The 92nd Street Y in New York City, credited for launching the event in 2012, said Wednesday that contributions reported by organizations in the U.S. and abroad for a 24-hour period total $168 million — up from about $117 million in 2015. It said there were roughly 1.6 million donations, coming from people in nearly 100 countries.
Blackbaud, a software company that serves many nonprofits, reported that it processed $47.7 million in online donations Tuesday for more than 6,700 organizations — a 20 percent increase in giving over last year. It said 22 percent of the donations were made via a mobile device.
In its first year in 2012, under the aegis of the 92nd Street Y, Giving Tuesday generated about $10 million in donations after being pitched as a way to promote charity on the heels of Thanksgiving weekend's big shopping days. In subsequent years, it has mushroomed into a decentralized global movement, with nonprofits of all types soliciting donations, promoting volunteerism and encouraging acts of kindness.
The 92nd Street Y received detailed reports from many of the organizations it serves. Among them:
— A Baltimore nonprofit called Thread organized a "Love Notes to Baltimore" campaign where residents wrote uplifting messages in chalk on streets.
— Volunteers in Bethel, Alaska, stood in below-zero weather to accept donations for local nonprofits.
— The Humane Society of the United States exceeded its target of $200,000, with a total of $350,000 raised.
— The University of Michigan's campaign raised $5.5 million in 24 hours, compared to $4.3 million last year.
Numerous progressive organizations, in their Giving Tuesday appeals, made reference to the recent election victories of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans.
"When I look around today, I see how far we've come — and how far we have left to go now that Donald Trump has been elected," said an appeal from Barbara Miller, who serves on the board of the National Organization for Women.
On the right flank, the conservative Media Research Center appealed for donations to help it counter "the liberal media."
Henry Timms, executive director of the 92nd Street Y and co-founder of Giving Tuesday, said the event's success was due to "the work of ordinary people all over the country."
"For all those things that may divide us, we all share a proud tradition of giving," he said.