87% of Americans Have Never Heard of 'Giving Tuesday'

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Ever Heard of Giving Tuesday? 87% of Americans Haven‰Ûªt. Year after year, Americans increasingly feel that no one should be obligated to get involved with charitable giving if they don‰Ûªt want to.

The holiday season brings many things. There are family gatherings and delicious food. There‰Ûªs a day for giving thanks and several days for scoring deals on holiday shopping. It‰Ûªs also a season when many people give back to their communities.

In 2012, a day was set aside for just this purpose when New York City‰Ûªs 92nd Street YMCA and the United Nations Foundation started "Giving Tuesday" to create a global day of giving. It‰Ûªs an annual event that takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

However, three years after its creation, awareness of this day remains very low among Americans, as 87% say they‰Ûªve never heard of it.

And while 86% say they don‰Ûªt need a holiday to tell them when to give, many adults may be in support of the idea of Giving Tuesday after all. After hearing about it, three quarters (75%) of Americans say this day represents what the holiday season should be about.

  • Millennials are the most open to the idea, with 83% saying it represents what the holiday season should be about. On the other hand, two thirds of Matures (66%) and 42% of all Americans say Giving Tuesday is unnecessary.

These are some of the results of The Harris Pollå¨ of 2,273 U.S. adults surveyed online between August 12 and 17, 2015.

Attitudes toward giving

When it comes to charitable giving as a general concept, Americans are increasingly likely to see this sort of engagement as an option, not a responsibility. Half (50%) of Americans believe that people can get involved with different issues and causes if they want to, but that no one should be obligated to do so (a sentiment that has steadily increased since 2007, when 40% said the same). Conversely, the attitude that people have a personal responsibility to make the world a better place by being actively involved with various issues and causes has seen a marked decrease since 2007 (21% today, down 10 points).

Prioritizing charitable causes

With a plethora of causes to choose from, which do Americans believe are the most important? When it comes to the causes Americans feel charities should focus their resources on, human rights (15%, up 6 points from 2010), youth/families (14%, down 4 points), education (13%, down 6 points), and medical research (13%, down one point) top the list. Fewer indicate disaster relief (8%), global health (4%), and animals (4%).

  • Millennials and Baby Boomers are more likely than others to say human rights are the biggest priority (20% & 16% vs. 10% Gen Xers and 6% Matures). Gen Xers, on the other hand are more likely than Millennials and Baby Boomers to say youth/families are on top (20% vs. 14% & 11%).
  • Democrats and Independents are twice as likely as Republicans to say human rights are the top priority (19% & 16% vs. 8%).

However, Americans don‰Ûªt personally prioritize their charitable spending along the same lines. When asking Americans which charities they personally care most about donating to, youth/families rises to the top (19%), followed by medical research (13%). And while the lowest percentage of Americans cites animals as an important cause for charities to focus on, they ranked third among the types of charities adults want to give their own donations to (12%). Human rights, the top cause Americans believe charities to focus on, drops down to fifth place with just 8% indicating it‰Ûªs among the charities they donate to themselves.

Corporate giving

Many companies work to foster a socially responsible reputation by giving back as well. Nearly three quarters of Americans (73%) agree that a company‰Ûªs reputation for social responsibility has at least some effect on them when deciding what to buy and who to do business with.

  • Millennials are more likely than any other generation to say it affects their decision (78% vs. 71% Gen Xers, 71% Baby Boomers, 65% Matures).

When asked whether corporations or individuals should be donating to a variety of types of causes, Americans offer some clear opinions:

  • Majorities of Americans feel companies should lead the way in donating to global health (77%), medical research (75%), environmental (74%), disaster relief (65%), and education (61%) charities.
  • On the other hand, individuals are seen as more appropriate donors when it comes to charities serving animals (76%) and youth/families (66%). Americans are nearly split on who is most appropriate to serve human rights charities (49% individual vs. 51% corporate).

According to AudienceSCAN, 15.6% of adults support youth-related causes. No doubt, they are 89% more likely than average Americans to be members of charitable organizations. To market to this audience digitally, your advertisers should know 33% of Youth-Related Cause Supporters use iPhones. Not only do they like to DO good, they like to post about it: 51% share GOOD experiences on social media. Try reaching them on Pinterest, because 35% are pinning away. 25% of Youth-Related Cause Supporters plan to give at least $100 to charity in the next 12 months. Also, 50% of supporters took action after seeing Internet banner ads in the past year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.