The most successful civic tech culture hack of the decade?
It’s been a roller-coaster of a week in America, bookended by mass shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and a social service center in California. Our brains and the media nervous system that feeds (on) them are more on edge than usual, it seems. The news from last Friday, that gun sales on Black Friday broke national one-day sales records, reverberated darkly. But reflecting back on the data, and how the media covered that news, I couldn’t help but notice something else: Giving Tuesday, which was founded just three years ago as a response to the mass consumerism of Black Friday and CyberMonday, has taken off like wildfire. It’s far more than a hashtag campaign. Arguably, it’s become the most successful civic tech culture hack of the decade. But the media, so far, isn’t telling that story. To wit:
- Number of gun sale background checks on Black Friday, 2015: 185,345
- Number of gun sale background checks on Black Friday, 2014: 175,754
- Percentage increase, year to year: 5%
- Number of stories in the U.S. mainstream media touting the 2015 gun sales as an all-time record: 43
- Number of donations made to non-profit organizations on GivingTuesday, 2015: 1.08 million
- Number of donations made to non-profit organizations on GivingTuesday, 2014: 296,000
- Total raised in 2015: $116.7 million
- Total raised in 2014: $45.7 million
- Percentage increase, year to year: 255%
- Number of mainstream media stories headlining the record-breaking 2015 Giving Tuesday results: 0
- Percentage of Americans who said, according to a recent poll by the Templeton Giving Survey, that they were familiar with Giving Tuesday: 18%
- Percentage who said they were familiar with Black Friday: 93%
“It’s great to see such positive results from online donations: This is truly a cause for celebration,” Henry Timms, one of the co-founders of Giving Tuesday and the executive director of 92Y, told the Chronicle of Philanthropy. “In addition, beyond these numbers, there are offline donations not measured here — as well as the impact of volunteer efforts; campaigns that encourage acts of kindness or donations of goods (like food and coats); classroom programs that are growing the next generation of philanthropists; and regional campaigns in towns, cities, and states that generate civic pride and bring communities together around giving. All of those outcomes are equally important measures of success.”
Don’t despair. Organize.