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What Did People Talk About on GivingTuesday 2021?

7 Mar 2022 by GivingTuesday

What did audiences talk about on GivingTuesday 2021?

a graph that shows the volume of conversation around generosity each month from 2020-2021. It consistently grows with a big spike on November (when GivingTuesday takes place)

While overt Twitter mentions of GivingTuesday are slightly down in 2021, the wider donation and generosity conversations within November & December are actually higher than ever, suggesting that the spirit of giving engendered by the movement is only on the up. Wheras in years past, there was a burst of “GivingTuesday preview” conversation taking place the month ahead of the big day, in 2021 that instead manifested in continued conversation post-GivingTuesday.

From platform to platform, we see huge variance in the types of post and content that generate engagement. Twitter’s top few posts include both politicians and novelty cat accounts, while TikTok skews, unsurprisingly, towards posters in their early twenties and teens. 

One observation is that, while most posts involve links to donate and feature appeals on the part of the poster, #GivingTuesday and #GivingSZN are also being used within conversations that talk more generally about kindness and interpersonal connection.

Comparing the split between causes to previous Pulsar research into Charity and giving, it appears that GivingTuesday 2021 slightly over-indexed for Animal Welfare, and did so quite spectacularly for Science & Education.

If we want to explore why education in particular attracted so many posts, we can look at some of the most engaged posts within the subset of the overall conversation: posthumous accounts that emphasize educating future generations.

Empowerment has become an increasingly important CTA over successive years. This trend is continued within the 2021 GivingTuesday conversation, and appears driven in large part by posts about both children and animals.

At the same time, we also see the language of empowerment within the types of charitable cause soliciting donation:


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A post shared by Justice Kwofie (@obibini_girls_surf_club)

When we take a closer look at how different Calls to Action map to different causes, a couple of trends begin to emerge. The first is that no one cause has a monopoly on any one method – charities and individuals aligned to a particular cause tend to use a variety of different language types. 

Within this, however, we can also see that Health and Healthcare over-indexes for direct appeals, whereas Animal Welfare and Children & Elderly tends to empower the reader. 

So who’s taking part in this conversation? 

Almost a third of the total participants are outside the US, while 54% of the total are female. 

In terms of audience segments, we see see several groups with a strong affinity for news and comment publications, from Progressive UK Animal Lovers and their affinity for left-of-center UK commentators, to Social Justice Essayists & Readers, who consume articles written across the New York Times and The Atlantic by writers of color. 

Clearly, being plugged into current affairs seems to correlate to giving behaviors. At the same time, communities which interact with the recipients of charitable giving are understandably active across socials, with Healthcare Pros and Educators being examples. 

It’s striking that ‘support’ is the second-most-mentioned keyword, more than help, donation or Tuesday. Aside from anything else, there’s a sense that the word affords more dignity to the group or cause in question. In some ways, this corresponds to the rise in empowerment as a CTA; in both cases a positive contextualisation of both giver and recipient appears the goal.

One notable addition to this chart is #CryptoGivingTuesday, a nascent trend driven by influential figures within the crypto space.

Another trend, that did not this year gain enough traction to make the most-used hashtag list but nonetheless grew in online presence, is #GamingTuesday – a streamer-centric initiative that appears largely aligned with children’s charities.  (Subscribe to the GivingTuesday newsletter – we’ll be sharing case studies on innovative trends throughout the coming year.)

Many thanks to Pulsar for helping us analyze the generosity convesrsation and anticipate trends, not just on GivingTuesday, but all year long.

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