#GivingTuesday: A Digital Movement Incentivizing Charitable Donations

‘Tis the season to buy, then donate? Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are packed away in the fridge, the American holiday shopping season kicks into gear with two busy events — Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amid the holiday rush, one event marks a departure from shopping and redirects attention to giving: #GivingTuesday. What started as a viral hashtag in 2012 is now a global movement celebrating community-centered action and solidarity.

What is #GivingTuesday?

The 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center in New York, joined forces with the United Nations Foundation to introduce #GivingTuesday to the Twittersphere in 2012.

Emphasizing charitable giving and acts of kindness, the hashtag gained momentum on social media. According to Twitter for Business, 145K posts used the hashtag when it first emerged. And thus, a digital movement was born.

According to GivingTuesday.org, GivingTuesday now operates as an independent nonprofit organization. Beyond the NGO’s own network, the hashtag #GivingTuesday remains an unbranded and untrademarked call for generosity. Any charitable organization can use the hashtag — and the GivingTuesday logo — to raise funds.

Each year, Giving Tuesday falls on the first Tuesday after American Thanksgiving, right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, it took place on November 28, 2023.

A digital movement in its eleventh year

In 2023, the hashtag #GivingTuesday sparked an online conversation about global giving.

On X, many actors joined the movement to call for donations, including nonprofits, grassroots groups, wildlife conservation organizations, animal shelters and museums. The list goes on.

Influential individuals took part in the movement, including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Another prominent voice was Canadian broadcast journalist Keith Morrison, whose Giving Tuesday post about his late stepson Matthew Perry generated over 393.9K impressions and 8K likes.



#GivingTuesday 2022


#GivingTuesday 2023


Total posts 159.5K 116.3K
Total engagements 288.4K 211.2K
Unique authors 18.6K 13.2K

A comparison of the key metrics for #GivingTuesday on X between 2022 and 2023.


On November 28, 2023, over 116.3K posts used the hashtag #GivingTuesday on X. Compared with the previous year, the total number of posts decreased by 27.08%. Could this trend be symptomatic of a bigger issue in the charity landscape? Is it possible to draw a parallel between the slight decline in total posts and the 10% drop in donors reported by GivingTuesday Data Commons this year?

Despite this decline, #GivingTuesday continues to drive charitable donations. According to CNN, the NGO estimates that donors gave $3.1 billion during this year’s Giving Tuesday — a $20 million increase from 2022 before adjusting for inflation.


It’s all about community action

GivingTuesday’s website indicates that the annual movement “creates global impact driven by local action.” An analysis of the keywords associated with the hashtag on X echoes this sentiment.

Top keywords associated with the #GivingTuesday hashtag on X (November 28, 2023)

Keywords related to donations, including “donations”, “donation”, “donating” and “gift” underpinned the online conversation about #GivingTuesday.

Another word which stood out is “community”, constituting 7% of total results. Rallying behind the hashtag, organizations and charities engaged in community-centered rhetoric on X. The use of the keyword “join” helped cement this sense of community with potential donors to encourage them to be part of a collective mission.

#GivingTuesday post from SAVECats, a community cat program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Across social media networks, #GivingTuesday narratives employed storytelling methods to boost charitable donations. Nonprofits and individuals alike embraced this approach to foster an emotional connection with users.

“Donation matching”: an effective tool to encourage donors to give

A recurrent theme on X this year was donation matching, a compelling fundraising tool. The premise of matching is that a third party – namely a company or an individual – pledges to “match” the contributions made by other donors to double the total amount.

Each year on #GivingTuesday, charitable organizations leverage this tool to boost their digital fundraising campaigns. In 2023, keywords linked to matching and “doubling one’s impact” were focal points in the online conversation on X.

According to GivingTuesday’s website, matching constitutes an effective fundraising technique because it is a time-bound tool which imbues potential donors with a sense of urgency.


#GivingTuesday, a global movement with a strong footprint in the U.S.

 While Giving Tuesday has established itself as a global movement, the hashtag usually gains more traction in the United States.

This year, 75.1% of #GivingTuesday posts on X were published in the United States. In 2022, this percentage was 75.4%.

Geographical distribution of #GivingTuesday tweets on November 28, 2023


Notwithstanding that #GivingTuesday campaigns are primarily woven into the tapestry of American philanthropy, the movement is now considered a global day for giving.

A leading voice in this year’s online conversation was Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a wildlife conservation organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. With over 6.3K interactions across its #GivingTuesday posts, the organization’s campaign generated one of the highest levels of engagement this year.

GivingTuesday’s own global hubs also put their own international spin on the viral hashtag, including Giving Tuesday Canada, which has popularized the #GivingTuesdayCA hashtag.


#GivingTuesday in France: a growing movement?

 Among non-Anglophone countries, France boasted the highest number of posts using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on November 28, 2023. Over 1.2K posts were published in France, calling for donations for causes such as education and wildlife conservation. The number of total posts remains low compared to the United States, where 87.4K posts were published.

From national charities like Les Restos du coeur to human rights NGOs like Reporters sans frontières, solidarity actors dominated the online conversation in France.

In contrast to the United States, the online conversation in France lacked influential individuals such as celebrities and political figures. Among the #GivingTuesday posts with the most interactions, only one was published by a French actress, Brigitte Lecordier. Whereas local and prominent political figures took part in the movement in the United States, the hashtag has yet to pervade France’s political ecosystem on X.

Towards a “cost-of-giving” crisis? 

On #GivingTuesday, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) published a post on X to alert of a looming “cost-of-giving crisis” within the giving ecosystem, specifically in the United Kingdom. The UK-based organization states on its website that charities now grapple with a “triple threat of falling income, climbing costs, and increasing demand for services.”

Amid soaring inflation, nonprofits in the U.S. reported a drop in donations in 2022 (Source: CNN). Following this year’s #GivingTuesday event, Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday, indicated that “donation trends are very volatile right now, and there’s a lot that’s going on that’s very concerning, including a decrease in donor participation.” (Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

As nonprofits and community organizations navigate these challenging circumstances, they can rely on #GivingTuesday to increase donations. On December 1, 2023, the Oregon Coast Aquarium tweeted that 14% of the funds received in its fall campaign stemmed from #GivingTuesday alone.


Despite fluctuations in donation patterns, #GivingTuesday remains a movement that encourages nonprofits to appeal to small and major donors through creative tools and techniques. It’s only a matter of time to see whether the movement will “match” the results of this year in 2024.

By Gabriella Soriano