Digital Civil Society Lab

#GivingTuesday Data Collaborative


The #GivingTuesday Data Collaborative evolved after the #GivingTuesday leadership team began to form partnerships with giving platforms and payment processors to try to understand how much money was being donated on the day itself. It became apparent that with the amount and diversity of data available, they could learn much more about giving—the drivers behind it, the behaviors around it, and what might inspire more of it.

Data in the social sector is infamously poor: siloed and under-leveraged. Where other industries have seen the wisdom of pooling data for collective analysis (and increased profit), the social sector is just catching up.

With technology, shifting cultural norms, and movements like #GivingTuesday rapidly changing the giving landscape, the social sector is at an inflection point for how we measure giving and donor behavior, and how we then use that information.

This moment presented a unique challenge and opportunity to the project team – how to use the large amounts of transactional, longitudinal data from 60+ partners in a way that reflected the agile and collaborative spirit of the movement, but with rigorous governance, security and privacy structures and processes.  

In the process of addressing that challenge, #GivingTuesday has become the home of an unprecedented collaborative data effort, the Data Collaborative, that is now growing into a Global Data Lab.


After gathering data on #GivingTuesday donations from payment processors, giving platforms, the government (990 data, workplace giving), social media, and nonprofits, the project team, led by Asha Curran, created a home for multiple organizations, data scientists, and academics to analyze this data, and build data-informed tools to benefit the broader social sector.

#GivingTuesday partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and DataKind to hold two DataDives – concentrated hackathon-style deep dive weekends for data scientists, analysts, designers, and social sector leaders to work with the #GivingTuesday data. These DataDives have yielded a variety of results and opportunities and been followed by in-depth further analysis. Project teams have developed tools, dashboards, and apps that will benefit the broader sector, and collaborator DataKind has created a findings report to freely disseminate insights gained from studying the data.

In addition to these DataDives, the project team is conducting ongoing inquiry to understand the complexities of #GivingTuesday, and donor behavior more broadly. They have conducted a global survey to discover more about #GivingTuesday awareness and participation. They have partnered with the Harvard Business School, who conducted experiments to look at how donor networks can be most effectively engaged. A collaboration with data scientists is developing a deeper analysis of giving behavior patterns and how they are changing—not just on #GivingTuesday. They are now working with regions all over the world (40+ countries) to stand up their own data collaboratives, all of which will be highly interconnected and mutually reinforcing. In 2018 the team has held data meetups for #Giving Tuesday leaders in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and India.


The nature of #GivingTuesday is distributed and adaptable, with 50+ countries using the movement to strengthen the foundations of civil society worldwide. The definition of giving that propels the movement is not simply about fundraising: #GivingTuesday is committed to a definition of giving that emerges from communities and that contributes to long term solutions, not merely covers the cracks of the large social issues of our times. Generosity must be linked to democratic values and social justice.

The collaborative nature of this process is true to the roots of #Giving Tuesday as a distributed, open, grassroots giving movement. The project has brought together stakeholders such as academics, data processors, and nonprofits to develop knowledge in ways that are rarely seen in other efforts. This has resulted in new insights about a broad sector of society and the giving economy, and produced tools to help improve effectiveness across these sectors.


Next Steps

The #GivingTuesday core leadership team plans to continue to support, cultivate, and connect the Global Data Chapters, involving the already active #GivingTuesday country-level leadership in this initiative. In addition, the leadership team will convene data providers and other stakeholders to present current findings, and discuss future opportunities and priorities. One current priority is creating more intentional academic partnerships, to build on the research already started by the Harvard Business School.  Their goal is to inspire more generosity globally, to measure that increased generosity by more metrics than just dollars, and to help strengthen global civil society.

Learn More

Digital Impact Virtual Roundtable: #GivingTuesday Data Collaborative

What happens to #GT data collected around the world? Can this data be shared and studied safely and securely?


The homepage of the #GivingTuesday movement

Five Lessons on Innovation and the Institution

Article by Asha Curran & Henry Timms in Stanford Social Innovation Review

Why #GivingTuesday Matters, Globally — and Personally

Article by Asha Curran on Huffington Post

Code Switching Across the Social/Data Divide

Article by Asha Curran and Julie Rhodes Davis in Stanford Social Innovation Review