Giving Tuesday counters Black Friday splurge

Posted on 28 Nov 2023

By Matthew Schulz, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Giving tuesday hero 2023 Edgars Mission
Edgar's Mission founder Pam Ahern with the face of its 2023 Giving Tuesday campaign, Kansas the lamb, alongside another four-legged friend. The charity uses Giving Tuesday as one of its biggest donation campaigns during the year. Picture: Edgar's Mission.

Hundreds of Australian charities and not-for-profits have adopted Giving Tuesday as a generous antidote to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending splurge.

Globally, the donations and giving campaign was expected to raise billions of dollars, including more than A$5.2 billion in the United States alone.

At the last count, nearly 500 Australian organisations were involved in Giving Tuesday, established in 2011, with many using the day to experiment with new ways of encouraging people to give.

The Fred Hollows Foundation was hoping this year’s effort would raise $50,000 for its sight-restoring work, while Victorian animal charity Edgar’s Mission blitzed social media on the day in its bid to raise more than $220,000.

“We have set an ambitious target … to cover our annual food and bedding costs for our 400 rescued residents, plus the hundreds more who will pass through our sanctuary gates and find forever homes,” Edgar’s Mission founder Pam Ahern said.

Our Community helped seed interest in Giving Tuesday in recent years, hosting the Australian website, producing campaign resources and measuring the effect of campaigns.

While it had now stepped back from directly promoting the campaign, Our Community group managing director Denis Moriarty said the rising popularity of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales frenzies in Australia was also generating more interest in Giving Tuesday.

“It’s great to see the movement gaining momentum in Australia,” he said.

The event has the backing of Charities Minister Andrew Leigh, who urged Australians to get on board the event as “an opportunity to help the helpers”.

“Where Black Friday encourages spending, Giving Tuesday encourages generosity,” Dr Leigh said.

“Right now, many charities are feeling squeezed. In some cases, donors and volunteer support has fallen, while demand for help has risen. The end of the year is a time when some charities, including food relief and crisis support organisations, are at their busiest.”

He said volunteering was another way people could contribute at this time of year.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission also supported the day, with Commissioner Sue Woodward describing it as a “wonderful opportunity to consider all the different ways there are to give”.

“We encourage everyone to support charities in whatever way they can. Every little bit counts, and everyone has something to contribute,” Ms Woodward said.

Asha Curran, Giving Tuesday’s global CEO, said the day stood as a “beacon of hope” for communities, organisations and individuals.

“For a full day, people from different places, backgrounds and cultures are a part of a global wave of generosity made possible only because each of them asked themselves, ‘What good can I do today?’”

The event comes as the Commonwealth Bank released findings showing one in five Australians are giving to charity each year.

And the executive director of Our Community's online donations platform GiveNow, Cathy Truong, said there had been only a slight dip in donations over the past two years.

“The generosity of Australians is notable, especially when it comes to the small to medium-sized community organisations who have a loyal and meaningful connection with their supporters,” said Ms Truong.

“If anything, we note that the block is with organisations who are hesitant to run a fundraising campaign for fear of asking too much of their community, but when they do, they’re pleasantly surprised that the response is positive.”

More information

Giving Tuesday was observed on November 28, 2023, and is scheduled for December 3, 2024.

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