Giving Tuesday has only been around for a few years – but 2017 seems tailor-made for it.
Hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf Coast, earthquakes in Mexico and the Middle East, California wildfires, and acts of violence including the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Tehama County have left countless people suffering and in need.
Amid all this mayhem, however, hometown groups still require the support of their communities to provide their services to people and animals.
Groups like My Sister’s House, a shelter serving Asian and Pacific Islander women and children, can’t put their clients on hold until conditions elsewhere in the world improve.
“We hope that people know how women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking feel like they are in the midst of a disaster and often flee with little, if anything,” said Nilda Valmores, executive director of My Sister’s House.
Last year, Giving Tuesday donations to My Sister’s House totaled $2,500. As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, $600 had been donated, Valmores said in an email. They hoped to raise enough to replace shelter windows.
The bad news is donor fatigue is a real thing. Although it can be hard to track, fundraisers for local charities held in the aftermath of huge events are likely to see reduced donations from the same events in past years, Cohen said.
The good news is that charitable giving is second nature to many people – and many donors remain faithful to their favorite causes, said Rick Cohen, spokesman for the National Council for Nonprofits.
Often, dire circumstances cause people to "dig a little deeper,” to support the causes they feel a connection to, he said.
However, he added, since this year’s back-to-back series of crises are unprecedented, it’s difficult to predict what the giving season will bring.
Events like Giving Tuesday do have an impact.
On any given day, the average charitable donation is about $110; on Giving Tuesday it’s about $142 according to the Network for Good. The biggest giving day remains Dec. 31, when the average donation is $223.
The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported generous donations exceeding $25,000, spokesperson Dawn Foster said in an email.
“The Sacramento SPCA is experiencing a very grateful #GivingTuesday,” she said, adding that the funds would go to care for senior shelter animals, including their health screenings, dental work and blood tests.
Sacramento-based RedRover, a group that provides temporary shelter for animals in crisis, was actively involved in the aftermaths of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, subsequently seeing an increase in donations, said spokesperson Sheri Madsen in an email.
For RedRover, Giving Tuesday is as important for spreading awareness and building a sense of community as it is for fundraising, Madsen said.
“While Cyber Monday hit a record high for sales, I think it is also important for the morale of the country and the nonprofit sector as a whole for Giving Tuesday to break its record in amount given as well. Giving Tuesday is not only a chance to give back to a cause you believe in, it is a chance to co-create an online community of giving and compassion and to feel a part of something big,” Madsen said.