It’s here! #GivingTuesday has arrived!
#GivingTuesday is a movement born out of the marriage of emerging media and philanthropy. Back in 2012 92nd Street Y and The United Nations Foundation collaborated to start a “hashtag activism” campaign promoting giving to charities on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in response to the massive consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 4 years after its start, #GivingTuesday now has over 30,000 partners in 68 countries, 32.7 million twitter impressions, 15.4 Billion global impressions, and has caused a 470% increase in online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. These are powerful numbers that have a huge impact on communities across the country. Not just funds are raised on #GivingTuesday, but also awareness of multiple charities and organizations across various forms of social media.
The debate is still out on the usefulness of hashtag activism with some critics saying that while it does create awareness of major issues it does not necessarily create tangible results. One of the most recent examples of this is the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which created a massive awareness to the atrocity of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls being kidnapped in April 2014 by terrorists. But even with millions of retweets, hashtags, and selfies later-little to no real action was taken and the public’s attention moved on, the girls are still missing and seemingly forgotten from the public eye.
Hashtag activism has been incredibly useful in other cases, such as in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. #ALSIceBucketChallenge raised $115 million in 2014. Greatly because there was specific call to action for the social media participant to accomplish – donate and dump water on your head. #GivingTuesday also is successful because of the specific call to action associated with the hashtag.
Awareness is great and should be pursued by nonprofits and other organizations through emerging media, but with that awareness action must be put into place for a movement to occur.
So, how are you giving today?