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GivingTuesday raises $3.1B for charities in tough economy

FILE - U.S. $100 bills are seen on July 14, 2022, in Marple Township, Pa. Giving Tuesday raised $3.1 billion in 24 hours for charitable causes in the U.S. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, as the event that started as a hashtag in 2012 celebrated its 10th anniversary and its status as a staple of fundraising for nonprofits. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

NEW YORK (AP) — GivingTuesday raised a record $3.1 billion in 24 hours for charitable causes in the U.S. earlier this week, as the event that started as a hashtag in 2012 celebrated its 10th anniversary and its status as a staple of fundraising for nonprofits, the group's leader said Wednesday.

Despite the difficult economic year that many households have experienced, with inflation in the costs of basic goods, gas and housing, people were still willing to give, said GivingTuesday CEO Asha Curran.

“That’s really what we saw yesterday,” she told The Associated Press. “That whatever it is that people are experiencing, they were as generous as they had the capacity to be.”

GivingTuesday estimated that giving increased about 15% from 2021′s $2.7 billion, outpacing inflation. Donations were tallied using an array of data sources that includes major community foundations, companies that offer fundraising software, the payment processor PayPal and large grantmakers like Fidelity Charitable and Vanguard Charitable. Their methodology for compiling the estimate seeks to eliminate duplicate data points, Curran said.

While it's too early to know whether giving overall in 2022 will stay on par with last year and 2020, when philanthropic donations boomed, people in the U.S. have been more resilient in their spending than might be expected given inflation and high interests rates.

Ragan Petrie, an economics professor at Texas A&M University, has puzzled over the durability of consumer spending and hypothesized that giving could be similarly resilient. She added that GivingTuesday has now become better known. And as a fundraising platform mostly limited to a single day, it has a built in sense of urgency.

“That helps people focus attention. And it’s accompanied by all sorts of things like matches and leaderboards and fundraising goals that create kind of a contest or the competition around it,” Petrie said, which is appealing to many donors.

In another measure of the resilience of donations, Fidelity Charitable said Tuesday that for the first time since 2018, the value of grants from its donor advised funds exceeds the value of investments going into the funds.

The organization said this year's totals marked the largest amount donated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving since the group started tracking it.

DonorsChoose, which allows public school teachers to raise money for their classrooms, said this year's GivingTuesday marked its second-highest day of giving in more than 20 years. It saw 52,000 people give $10.6 million including matched donations.

“As one of the nonprofits that joined the inaugural GivingTuesday 10 years ago, we are so excited to see what a global movement of generosity this has become,” the organization said in a statement.

The hashtag to promote fundraising on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving started in 2012 as a project of the 92nd Street Y and the organization GivingTuesday became an independent nonprofit in 2020. The organization has also launched a campaign to raise $26 million over five years to expand their database of giving.

In the tenth year of nonprofits and donors marking the day, Curran said, people continue to show incredible generosity.

“They give in a multitude of ways. It does not always have to do with money. It often has to do with community. It is very collective. It has a lot to do with people feeling like they are a fractal of a larger whole,” Curran said. “And yesterday was just one more reaffirmation of that.”

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Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.