As Thanksgiving looms, company leaders across the world are building thanks to their communities through their year-end giving campaigns. For many businesses, this year’s corporate philanthropy effort will reach its zenith on December 1st, also known as #GivingTuesday.

Created by the 92nd Street Y in New York as a response to #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Now in its fourth year, the event has become a central focus of many annual holiday campaigns, an opportunity to engage employees in a worldwide philanthropy phenomenon and in the process engage employees in their companies as well.

According to Asha Curran, Director of 92Y Center’s for Innovation & Social Impact, “#GivingTuesday grew out of looking at our core beliefs in community and philanthropy and imagining how social media might catapult them well beyond our walls. The result has been a global movement around giving that exceeded all of our expectations.”

Here’s what that movement looks like by the numbers:

  • More than 30,000 partners in 68 countries, including small businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and major corporations
  • An estimated 470% increase in online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving since its inception in 2012
  • 32.7 million Twitter impressions and 750,000+ hashtag mentions
  • 15.4 billion global impressions in print and social media
  • More than 40 civic campaigns around the U.S. in cities and communities

For companies interested in hooking employee attention at a time when there are so many distractions, #GivingTuesday is truly a gift, a powerful tool that can elevate our perspective of the holiday season and make giving back an exciting experience that is as social and expected as the rest of our fun winter calendars. With employee engagement a perpetual top concern of business leaders, #GivingTuesday offers a unique way for companies to remind employees that their jobs have purpose and meaning far beyond their daily to-do lists and that their companies deserve their sense of pride.

The key to making the most of #GivingTuesday is by applying creativity and generosity, like matching gifts or paid time off to volunteer. For example, here’s how some companies have hit home runs with #GivingTuesday:


Bank of America organized a campaign to support (RED) in the fight to end AIDS by doubling each donation made on #GivingTuesday to the US Fund for the Global Fund, up to $2,000,000. This was part of the company’s $6,000,000 pledge to fund the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.


The Bitcoin Foundation and the BitGive Foundation encouraged their community members to give microdonations to organizations that accept Bitcoin in 2014. Bitcoin saw record-breaking on-blockchain transactions on #GivingTuesday, an all-time high for Bitcoin


For the second year, CVS Health recognized its colleagues’ spirit of volunteerism by inviting employee volunteers to nominate a charity in their local communities for a grant from the CVS Health Foundation. In response to the overwhelming success of the 2013 #GivingTuesday campaign, in 2014, the foundation more than doubled its commitment and awarded a total of $100,000 to 50 organizations nationwide


eBay launched a #GivingTuesday sweepstakes to connect consumers to their favorite nonprofits from #GivingTuesday through December 31. In addition, eBay awarded three grants totaling $50,000 to the nonprofit organizations who drove the most favorites on eBay during the sweepstakes.


Retailer H&M paid it forward on #GivingTuesday by donating $7.5 Million of new apparel to help dress people in need during the holiday season. H&M also encouraged shoppers to give back through a customer register donation drive.


Home Depot Foundation launched a month-long campaign on #GivingTuesday that invited people to tweet using the hashtag #DoingMore4Vets to support US veterans. From December 2 – December 31, the Foundation donated $1 for each re-tweet to four of their nonprofit partners up to $400,000 total or $100,000 per organization.


HSBC helped spread the word about #GivingTuesday by placing the #GivingTuesday logo on the company’s nationwide ATM system, encouraging their clients to participate in the movement.


Hyatt Hotels participated in their first #GivingTuesday in 2014 by encouraging its hotels to identify local charities in their communities that truly make a difference. Hyatt awarded 31 local grants in cities across the globe.


Ryder System, Inc., a leader in commercial fleet management and supply chain solutions, invited employees to volunteer on #GivingTuesday to local charities of their choice. 220 employees participated from 29 Ryder commercial rental locations across the country.

SALESFORCE.COM launched Pledge 1%, a movement that encourages and challenges companies to pledge 1% of equity, product, and employee time for their communities. The program kicked-off on #GivingTuesday 2014 with the goal to secure 500 pledges by #GivingTuesday 2015.


On #GivingTuesday 2014, Visa donated $15 to the American Red Cross each time a donation was made using Visa Checkout (up to a total of $250,000). WALGREENS Walgreens matched every pneumonia vaccine administered at Walgreens pharmacies between Black Friday and #GivingTuesday to the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, up to $25,000.

If you want to maximize the success of #GivingTuesday for your company, planning is essential. While it may be a one-day event, experts agree that companies and nonprofits should not treat it as such. “The hype from #GivingTuesday should be used to draw attention to your organization’s story and impact,” notes Lynne D. Filderman, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at America’s Charities. “Whether you choose to integrate #GivingTuesday into your year-end fundraising campaign or as a stand-alone awareness day event, your success will be determined by how focused your message is, how clear your call-to-action is, how active you are in promoting your initiative, and how well you plan – starting now.”

#GivingTuesday facilitates this planning process through an array of tools and resources to help organizations fully leverage the event, including sample press releases, a social media toolkit, a sample outreach email and tips for your website.

Causecast is doing its part to promote #GivingTuesday by making giving back as easy as possible for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Download our Guide to Holiday Giving 2015 to learn more.