By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A national day of giving back during the holiday season is gaining traction.
Organizers of “Giving Tuesday” say the annual calendar event — designed to follow closely on the heels of super-shopping days Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (three days later) — gave everyone the opportunity to give back to their favorite nonprofit organization or charity.
For a second year running, the New York-based 92nd Street Y and the DC-based United Nations Foundation have organized what is now being described as a “movement,” reminding us that giving means much more than exchanging material things (see related story).
Caleb Tiller of the UN Foundation says there has been an incredible increase in participation since its inaugural year.
“We saw a 90-percent increase in online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving 2013 versus the Tuesday after in 2012,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
He also says there has been a social media surge from people and organizations — celebrities and regular folks — actively sharing with friends and family the causes that they care about most, and why it’s important to them (another related story).
In addition to the efforts in the US, nearly 40 other countries were involved this year — with 10,000 partner organizations, ranging from small, local nonprofits to multinational corporations — processing more than $19 million worth of donations, up from $10 million last year.
Locally, Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization, had a goal of raising enough money for 20,000 meals this year. It raised enough to pay for more than 42,000 meals.
The Salvation Army in Philadelphia promoted Giving Tuesday activities through social media and e-mail newsletters, and its online donations increased nearly 500 percent over the previous Tuesday, resulting in its highest dollar day of the season.
And in Haverford, Pa., the Living Beyond Breast Cancer organization also sent out an e-mail and conducted a social media campaign to raise awareness about Giving Tuesday, as it looked for funds to match a corporate gift. The results of that campaign were not immediately available.