Get On Board: Expectations and predictions for Giving Tuesday 2023

October 23, 2023
4 minutes
A line on a graph snakes up and to the right as if it is charting growing donation amounts over time. At the end where an arrow might be is a Giving Tuesday heart logo.

Giving Tuesday 2023 is gonna be inspiring.

Last year, we predicted that Giving Tuesday 2022 would be "epic". And it was—with a 15% increase over 2021's haul, the tenth year of Giving Tuesday brought in billions for worthy causes worldwide. 

This year, we're in uncharted waters. Both inflation and discretionary spending are up. Overall giving is down (especially adjusted for inflation) and there are more natural disasters and urgent needs than ever, meaning there's a constant ask in the air for donors everywhere. 

But listen, we know how much work you and your nonprofit's team of unicorns are putting into your Giving Tuesday 2023 strategy. You're writing the emails; you're prepping your ask letter; you're organizing your volunteers.

And we believe that at the end of the (giving) day, all of us will be surprised and inspired by the ways our global community shows up to support on Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

And that reason is the following number:

$3.45 Billion. (yes, with a "B".)

If you’re wondering what that massive number is doing there, sitting smack-dab in the middle of your screen, we’re here to inform you that that is Whole Whale’s prediction regarding the online amount to be raised this November 28th, aka Giving Tuesday 2023.

How'd they come up with that number, anyway?

Whole Whale used "a combination of linear regression and asking AI-generated question monsters" to land on $3.45B—which, bee tee dubs, happens to be an 11% increase over the amount raised online on Giving Tuesday 2022 ($3.1B.) The adjusted linear regression took into account last year's record-breaking haul, historical trends as to the growth of Giving Tuesday year over year, Google search trends, and the current economic and societal pressures on donors.

“So what does this mean for my nonprofit's ability to fundraise on Giving Tuesday 2023 and our yearly budget?”

Well, first things first. Let's establish that this is a prediction, not a certainty. We think it's a pretty darn good prediction based upon the mathematics behind Whole Whale's reasoning, plus they have a great track record. But we're not Nostradamus, and even if we were, he was wrong a lot of the time, so let's not put all of our faith in possibly-fictional characters from the ancient past.

BUT. If you're trying to predict your own Giving Tuesday fundraising total—and if you're reading this article, we think it's quite likely you're trying to do that—here are some factors to take into account.

The Economic Situation

Inflation is the word of the year, y'all. The economy has taken a massive hit this year, and that means many of our pocketbooks have taken a corresponding hit.

Check in with your donors! See how they're doing. If everyone's splashing out for luxuries like gas, milk, and housing, well, this might not be your best Giving Tuesday ever. But if your donor base is holding steady with employment and community, this could be a very good year indeed.

Student Loan Payments Resume

After the initial pandemic years, nonprofits may be competing with student loans once again, so donors may be focused elsewhere.

Tap into that sense of investment prior to Giving Tuesday—folks that have invested in their own future may relate to the idea of building a better world for the next generation. Give them a guarantee that their donation will do some real good this Giving Tuesday—when it comes to investments, a sure thing is hard to pass up.

Low Unemployment

On the other hand, employment is up, workers are taking control of their schedules, and remote work is here to stay. And since low unemployment aligns with increased donations, your nonprofit may be in for a Giving Tuesday to remember.

Asset-based Donations

...Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) ... have recently surpassed $250 billion in total assets. Using unusual assets like cryptocurrency, commodities, an equity stake in a company, IPO stock, and other non-cash assets to make gifts is becoming commonplace amongst donors.

We may sound like a broken record, but we don't care; it's time for your nonprofit to boost BWF's message during your 2023 Giving Tuesday outreach and beyond. 

Looking Back

2023 marks the 11th anniversary of Giving Tuesday—meaning that many nonprofiteers remember that first year we tried this wacky idea. But do you remember how much was raised on Giving Tuesday 2012? An adorable $12 million. (Yes, with an "m".)

And now, a little over a decade later, we're looking at an inspiring prediction of $3.45 BILLION.

A Generosity Tsunami

Giving Tuesday totals may have crept up on you. $3.45B may feel too big to make sense of. So let's look back for a frame of reference: pulling each Giving Tuesday's totals, pre-pandemic growth was minimum 44% each year. Every year from 2012 to 2019, Giving Tuesday grew at least 44% year-over-year. From 2019 to 2021, growth was 37%. And even these last few years... despite their difficulties, Giving Tuesday growth has outpaced inflation, growing 13% in 2021 and 15% in 2022.

This is an amazing, incredible, mind-boggling amplification of generosity—and it's ongoing.

Put it into perspective

We all know what a nonprofit unicorn is, but in the for-profit world, the term has a much different meaning. A unicorn company is a company that has attained a $1B valuation. These are often huge, household name companies, like Spotify, Tesla, Facebook, Airbnb... you get the picture. If Giving Tuesday were a for-profit company, it would easily be a unicorn as well—and with just one day each year of tracked revenue generation.

The average time it takes unicorns to attain that magical $1B valuation? 7 years. So, how long did it take Giving Tuesday to break the Big B? 7 years. That's faster than Eventbrite, Glassdoor, FitBit, BuzzFeed, Shopify, Etsy, Wayfair, SpaceX, and lots more.

How much time have you spent promoting Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday takes work, nonprofit unicorns! The more time you spend planning your and—even better—putting that strategy into action, the better your Giving Tuesday results are likely to be. If your Giving Tuesday efforts are limited to a single post on social media, you might not do that well.

Buuuut if you email, text, call, post, promote, and push Giving Tuesday like it's a rock up a hill and you're Sisyphus, you're likely to raise far more—and that's money you can use all year, not just on Giving Tuesday.

Here’s a pro-tip: if you don’t have the time and/or resources to plan a Giving Tuesday strategy all by your lonesome, download Funraise’s handy dandy Giving Tuesday Toolkit!

Look at your trends

Has your nonprofit raised more money each year on Giving Tuesday than the last? That's a sign you'll raise the bar this year, too. Look at historical trends when predicting your Giving Tuesday raise. That'll help you predict what might be in store for this year.

Lean into overall trends

Word on the street is that monthly giving is up. Incremental giving of all kinds is up. Visits to nonprofit websites through mobile devices are up. Meta is moving to PayPal Giving Fund. AI is everywhere; we're basically breathing it in. With so much incredible wealth being held in stocks, DAFs, and crypto—and the tax benefits of asset-based donating—it makes sense to hit non-cash donations.

Last word

None of us can see the future, so it's impossible to predict with absolute certainty what's going to happen this Giving Tuesday. However, with a few data points, you can make a pretty darn good guess—and we think our friends over at Whole Whale did just that. If you're still nervous about Giving Tuesday, download Funraise's toolkit and start planning... we predict you'll love it.

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