By Laura Wronski, research scientist, SurveyMonkey

After a series of devastating hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters hit the U.S. earlier this year, it’s no surprise that nearly two thirds (64%) of people in the U.S. have donated money to nonprofits in the past year, and that more than half (54%) of people who have donated have given money for disaster relief. What is surprising, perhaps, is that these high rates of charitable giving are not likely to cause donation fatigue—and the upcoming #GivingTuesday movement can help encourage even more support for organizations and charities in need.

Among people who know about #GivingTuesday, 31% say this makes them more likely to contribute to nonprofits in some way.

In a new survey* conducted via SurveyMonkey Audience, an online nonprobability panel that donates $0.50 to a respondent’s favorite charity for every survey a respondent completes, we found that awareness of #GivingTuesday and, to an even greater extent, participation in #GivingTuesday helps to boost support for nonprofits year-round.

Among people who know about #GivingTuesday, 31% say this makes them more likely to contribute to nonprofits in some way. We see evidence for this in the data, too.

For example, among those respondents who have heard of the #GivingTuesday campaign, nearly two-thirds (64%) are planning to participate this year. Among those who have heard of the #GivingTuesday campaign and who have already donated money to disaster relief this year, it’s even higher: 73% say they plan to participate in #GivingTuesday on November 28th.


People who participated in #GivingTuesday were more likely than others to have supported nonprofits generally in the past year via every means: donating money, donating food and clothing, volunteering, donating blood or discussing their support for nonprofits with family and friends and on social media.

It’s comforting to see that the vast majority of Americans have done something to support a nonprofit in the past year, with the largest proportion (64%) donating money, nearly half (46%) donating food or clothing, and 38% volunteering. Just 11% have not done anything to support a charitable cause in the past 12 months.


However, the #GivingTuesday movement drives participants to be more charitable year-round, not just on the one November day that kicks off the holiday giving season. Of those who participated in #GivingTuesday last year, more than half (54%) donated money on #GivingTuesday itself, but even more (75%) donated at some point throughout the year—topping the overall average of 64%. Similarly, a quarter (25%) of people who participated in #GivingTuesday last year volunteered on #GivingTuesday itself, but more than twice that many (55%) volunteered at some point in the past year—again, significantly more than the overall average of 38%. 

Despite these great results, there is still room for #GivingTuesday to grow. Although awareness is relatively good at 35%, just 23 percent of people know what the #GivingTuesday campaign is, and another 12% say they’ve heard of it but don’t know what it is. The other 65% have not heard of #GivingTuesday—a huge opportunity to get people involved in charitable giving and nonprofit support.



As online giving is growing, there is also new technology to get people from the sidelines involved: for example, by taking surveys on our SurveyMonkey Contribute platform. As a nonprofit, you can sign up and share the program link to make it super easy for your supporters to participate in the #GivingTuesday this year, while for people who don’t have money to give or time to volunteer, this might be exactly what they need to start making a difference.

The good news is: as #GivingTuesday participants help to spread the word about the movement, more and more diverse groups of people will join in and start participating. Though they donate money, food, and clothes at lower rates than older adults, young adults ages 18-29 are the most likely to share information about nonprofits on social media; 36% have done so in the past year. A third (33%) of all adults say they’ve discussed their support for nonprofits with family and friends in the past year. Two thirds (66%) of people who’ve donated in the past year say they’ve discussed their charitable giving with family, and nearly as many (56%) say they’ve discussed with friends.

As the holiday season approaches, 60% of people say that donating to important causes and buying gifts for loved ones are equally important to them. #GivingTuesday helps ensure that those causes and organizations that people care about are not forgotten at this busy time of year. Among those who plan to participate in #GivingTuesday this year, 40% have not yet decided which organizations they plan to support. Encouraging people to give whatever they can on this one day—their time (be it volunteering or taking a few surveys), money, or material goods—has lasting effects that continue throughout the year.



*The study results come from a new SurveyMonkey|#GivingTuesday poll conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience, an online nonprobability panel, November 3-5, 2017. Respondents for the panel are recruited via SurveyMonkey Contribute platform that offers charitable incentives of $0.50 per completed survey--donations go to the charities of respondents’ choice while respondents themselves are not compensated. With 1,002 respondents for this survey, $501 will be donated to various charities as part of the #GivingTuesday movement. SurveyMonkey has recently surpassed $11.5 million in total donations to 70+ charity organizations through the SurveyMonkey Contribute program.