Giving Tuesday lives up to name

By 
  • May 15, 2020

It’s hard to tell how Giving Tuesday affected donations to Catholic charities in Canada, but ShareLife did see an uptick in donations from an e-mail blast sent to coincide with the annual charitable fundraising day May 5.

It was the same at the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, which saw a little more than $10,000 added to its Share Lent campaign on May 5 and the days that followed, up 50 per cent from the same period the previous week. It could actually be more, said Kelly Di Domenico, communications officer for D&P, since that is only from online donations. Mailed donations have not been counted as its offices are closed.

Arthur Peters, executive director of ShareLife, said within days of sending its e-mail to donors the charitable fundraising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto saw 600 donations totalling about $120,000. Peters can’t say for sure the Giving Tuesday movement was the factor behind the upsurge in donations — about double the amount that was raised from the previous e-blast — but can’t discount it.

“I don’t think that was the motivator, I think the motivator was the fact that we e-mailed to more people and people wish to support (ShareLife),” said Peters. “But it was timed to the fact that Giving Tuesday was the next day.”

D&P also tied its solicitations to Giving Tuesday, said Di Domenico, and she suspects it helped the Canadian bishops’ overseas development agency raise more funds toward its $7.5-million goal.

It’s too early to see what the results of Giving Tuesday have been across Canada and the world for the special day to encourage giving during the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world. Giving Tuesday is usually marked following U.S. Thanksgiving in November. It will take place again Dec. 1.

This is the ninth year Giving Tuesday has been celebrated. It began as a way to rally for charitable causes in the aftermath of “Black Friday” which has turned into a celebration of consumerism. The idea is that the same way retailers come together for Black Friday, the giving community would harness the potential of social media and the generosity of people to bring change in their communities. Each year donations have grown, in Canada alone by 1,200 per cent since the first Giving Tuesday in 2012. Last year almost $22 million was raised online for various Canadian charities; worldwide, an estimated $511 million was donated.

Though Peters is not sure how much the giving increased, he notes “every donation we receive is helpful to our goal.” This year ShareLife has a goal of $13.8 million from its parish campaign, a campaign that has taken a hit in this time of pandemic. ShareLife has already missed the first of its three ShareLife Sunday collections in Toronto parishes on March 28-29 as church services are suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, and there’s no telling when the next collections will take place. Funds are coming in but they are not at the normal pace, though Peters expects things to change once restrictions are lifted.

“When parish life resumes, ShareLife will be part of the resumption,” he said.

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