PayPal, Flexing Social Muscle, Adds Power To GivingTuesday

Since its launch back in 2012, GivingTuesday has turned into a philanthropic behemoth, providing millions of Americans with a welcome break from the relentless consumerism of holiday shopping. Nonprofits have gotten increasingly clever about slipping their appeals in among the Black Friday and Cyber Monday come-ons. 

And increasingly, brands like T-Mobile and JetBlue are teaming up with their favorite causes to build goodwill among consumers. 

It’s working. Last year, the  GivingTuesday Data Project reported that 2.5 million contributions amounted to $274 million, a 55% increase from the previous year. 

PayPal, the largest donor platform, plays a key role. Sean Milliken, who heads global social innovation, tells Marketing Daily why this day means so much to the payment platform:



Q. First, how does PayPal’s role in GivingTuesday help strengthen the brand?

A. PayPal’s mission is to democratize financial services, to help people manage their money. This is a way to democratize giving. With 250 million active accounts, we’ve got an opportunity to embed giving in people’s daily lives, and we’re inspiring a whole new wave of philanthropy. Also, we take some pride in watching it grow, having been involved with it since its inception, partnering with the 92nd Street Y, which began GivingTuesday back in 2012.

Q. How big have things gotten money-wise?

A. In 2012, we processed $16 million in donations. Last year, it was $64 million, from 715,000 people in 181 countries, second only to $91 million on Dec. 31, which is when many people make their gifts. 

Q. What’s new this year?

A. We’re continuing to publicize the effort, working with actress Sophia Bush. And we’re trying to make gifts go further, matching dollar for dollar up to $500,000. We’re also adding 1% to donations for the rest of the year. And we’re partnering with organizations like Facebook and GoFundMe, and with merchant partners like eBay and the Humble Bundle. As a result of all that, we think we’ll see tremendous growth this year.

Q. Any kind of tech that’s particularly impressing you?

A. Peer-to-peer platforms, like GoFundMe, are finding new ways and tools, helping them connect and amplify in ways that are really interesting. And mobile is huge. Last year, 21% of all donations were made on mobile devices.

Q. Any concerns that putting so much firepower behind a single day could somehow cannibalize giving from other times?

A. No. Total donations on PayPal through Giving Tuesday to the end of the year totaled $1.1 billion last year. So the day just builds generosity. It’s additive.

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