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How people in the US spend their money on #GivingTuesday and year-round

People form a human chain along with others at a street-side in front of the Oberoi-Trident in Mumbai December 12, 2008. Thousands of Mumbai residents formed a human chain snaking through the city on Friday near sites attacked by Islamist gunmen last month, in the latest demonstration against the assault and failure of the government to stop it. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw (INDIA) - GM1E4CC1EQO01
REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw
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  • Aisha Hassan
By Aisha Hassan


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

US consumers spent a record $6.22 billion online during the Black Friday shopping marathon on Nov. 23. Tomorrow, on Nov. 27, an occasion known as “Giving Tuesday” encourages Americans to spend on others, too.

Usually signposted with the hash-tag #GivingTuesday, the donation campaign was launched in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City. The event kicks off the year-end charitable season. (Quartz has a guide on how to make the most of #GivingTuesday here.)

Last year, donations topped $60.9 million, an increase of 28% from 2016, according to a report by Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact (a partner of the campaign). The institute also analyzed data from more than 7,200 nonprofit organizations to find out where people give the most donations: The majority of #GivingTuesday donations were made to higher education institutions, while arts and culture organizations received the least.

Of course, Americans give to important causes year-round. According to a report by the Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, total giving to charitable organizations was an estimated $410 billion in 2017.

Overall, religious organizations received the most donations; they accounted for 31%, or $127.37 billion, of total giving in the US.

When it comes to who does the giving throughout the year, individuals accounted for 70% of all donations overall, foundations gave 16%, giving by bequest provided 9%. Corporations gave the least—just 5% of all funds donated.

A wealth of apps and social media initiatives now streamline the donation process, making it easier than ever for ordinary people to give. And even if you’re strapped for cash, there are other ways to give back: Charity Navigator, a charity assessment organization in the US, has guides on best practices for volunteering or donating non-cash items.

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