A Research Review
#GivingTuesday and Powered By Data


#GivingTuesday has established itself as an important annual event and social innovation in the philanthropic sector. Since its inception in 2012, it has generated over $1 Billion in online donations and is continuing to expand around the world.

However, since its beginnings, #GivingTuesday has focused on being more than a single “day of giving.” The movement champions gift-giving as a valuable and participatory civic action, and seeks to promote and increase charitable giving worldwide - by encouraging more giving and philanthropic engagement by individuals.

Understanding giving behavior is an essential part of the #GivingTuesday initiative. To fundraise effectively, the sector needs to understand the motivations, triggers, mechanisms, and dynamics of individual charitable giving - as well as how to apply that understanding to its fundraising strategies and channels. The continuing growth and emergence of digital practices and platforms are further underlining this need - as new forums and channels mean new opportunities and places for engaging donors.

This literature review is part of these efforts to develop a better, shared understanding of giving - and increase its application. We synthesized research from many domains and disciplines to both provide a starting point for new research, and enable knowledge transfer from academia to the sector.

The report is arranged as three parts:

Part I - Contemporary Trends

  • National Giving Patterns
  • Nonprofit Growth and Donor Acquisition
  • Cultural Shifts and Online Giving

Part II - Issues

  • Theories of Giving - examines theories and explanations of general causes for giving behavior;
  • Mechanisms of Giving - provides a discussion of key factors that shape donor decision-making at the point of solicitation;
  • Online Giving -  addresses the role of the internet and digital media in reshaping contemporary practices.

Part III - Innovations

Summarizes current analyses using data drawn from the #GivingTuesday event and cases of other giving movements worthy of future study

As #GivingTuesday continues to grow, it represents significant opportunities for new research, new insights, and new collaborations. This movement is dependent on both the creation of new knowledge and its mobilization and application.

The literature review is a starting point. More research will generate more insights, which will enable new and better practice - enabling the #GivingTuesday movement to grow and increase its impact.

Read the full report below. Click the link below the report to download.