Millions of consumers spent more money online than ever before during Cyber Monday, and local charities are hoping to snag a little bit of that spending cash for a good cause.
Giving Tuesday, a global event, encourages consumers to take a step back from the buying frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to focus on helping the less fortunate. The amount that will be raised for charities pales in comparison to what consumers bought for themselves and others during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.
According to Adobe Digital Insights, consumers spent more than $3.45 billion online Monday, a 12-percent increase from last year. This is the largest day of online sales in history, and the amount came in about 2.6 percent over the original sales prediction.
“It’s an incredible milestone, but it’s also incredible that Black Friday inched so close to Cyber Monday this year, generating only $110 million less in online sales,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Insights. “We’ll be watching this closely next year as Black Friday could be the one to top the records.”
Last year, about 700,000 people gave more than $116 million to charities during Giving Tuesday. The charitable day started in 2012 by a group of New Yorkers who were disturbed by the circus of materialism during Black Friday. Locally, nonprofits in Springfield and Clark County are asking consumers to give generously during the holidays.
Organizations that are participating in Giving Tuesday this year include the Yellow Springs Senior Center, Miami Twp.-based 365 Project, The Antioch School and the Little Art theatre in Yellow Springs.
The historic Crabill Homestead, located at 2800 Croft Road in Clark County, is asking people to donate on Giving Tuesday to support preservation. Crabill Homestead Committee Chairwoman Alice Dayhoff-Miller noticed Giving Tuesday on Facebook last year and brought it to the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association to pursue.
“After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this is a way to give to good causes,” she told the Springfield News-Sun. “We’re getting close to desperately needing repairs and replacements.”
Even universities jumped at the opportunity to bring in donations from alumni and the community. The Antioch Writers’ Workshop, a partnership with Antioch University and other organizations, is soliciting donations. The 31-year-old workshop is offering a range of special benefits, book gifts and special events to those who donates more than $10 a month.
The University of Dayton Writers’ Workshop received a $20,000 challenge gift from a donor. The organization sent out an email explaining all donations to the workshop will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000 until Dec. 31. Wright State University had a page up on its website dedicated to the day: “You’re stuffed with turkey. You’re shopped out. Renew your holiday spirit by helping Wright State University celebrate #GivingTuesday.”
The university encouraged people to make a gift to a scholarship or program at Wright State like the Boonshoft School of Medicine or the University Alumni Association. Donors — who had already given more than $4,000, according to the website — simply click on a button and input their credit card information to give to the school.
Online sales have had a big impact on holiday sales, bringing in $40 billion in revenue from Nov. 1 to Nov. 28. Likewise, charities and organizations are using email campaigns and social media to draw people to their websites. In 2015, charities saw 26 percent increase in visits to their websites on Giving Tuesday compared to the rest of the holiday season, according to Adobe.
Laura Seyfang, the executive director of the Dayton American Red Cross, said that a corporation agreed to match all donations made on Giving Tuesday up to $50,000. People can make donations online, and the websites track where they come from by zip code.
Then each chapter gets a portion of those donations back, Seyfang said. She said it’s been one of the busiest year’s for the chapter — deploying teams to several disasters, including a 17-person team to Hurricane Matthew and more people to Louisiana for the devastating late-summer flooding.
“We’re participating in Giving Friday. It’s a time of giving thanks and being there for each,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Contributing writer Brett Turner contributed to this report.
By the numbers
137 million Americans shopped during Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend.
$3.45 billion was spent online shopping during Cyber Monday.
$1.6 billion will be made in estimated holiday sales in the Dayton area this year.
$116 million was donated to causes on Giving Tuesday in 2015.