UMC’s $2.5 million total in #GivingTuesday donations shows strength of a denomination united

GivingTuesday thankyouUnited Methodists once again responded with extravagant generosity on UMC #GivingTuesday. On Dec. 2, 2014, more than $2.5 million was donated online through The Advance (the designated giving channel of the United Methodist Church) to support mission and ministries around the world.

The denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries matched the first $1 million in gifts to help build excitement and leverage donations.

More than 770 projects and missionaries received more than 8,700 gifts through UMC #GivingTuesday. The response was global, with donors from 25 countries giving generously.

Noticeable impact

“Having one day when United Methodists from around the world are united around giving shows the strength of the denomination’s connection, while strengthening the impact of the gifts to each ministry,” said Thomas Kemper, who leads Global Ministries. “Every gift made through The Advance this season makes a difference in the lives of the people they touch.”

Kemper also noted that donors can partner with Advance projects and missionaries throughout the year.

Many of the projects and missionaries supported through The Advance on UMC #GivingTuesday gained traction because of existing personal connections United Methodists have with individual missionaries or ministries.

“The relationships our projects have with churches and individuals generated excitement for supporting specific ministries,” said Ellen Knudsen, head of The Advance.

To ensure as many organizations as possible received some of the matching funds, Global Ministries placed a cap on how much of each gift could be matched. But Knudsen said that projects were also encouraged to work with faithful donors to develop their own matches.

“Many of them found unique ways to connect through their networks, building on toolkits we created for them,” she said. “These messages gained momentum and were shared electronically around the world through the grassroots.”

A growing movement

This is the second year that The Advance participated in UMC #GivingTuesday, part of a larger international movement that provides an alternative to the shopping traditions following Thanksgiving—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. According to Mashable, the number of nonprofits that received an online donation this year on #GivingTuesday increased 15 percent from 2013, while the total number of transactions was up 50 percent.

The United Methodist Church has become a model for other organizations wanting to participate in the larger #GivingTuesday campaign. Global Ministries was among the partners invited to the White House by the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Partnership on Oct. 6 to promote and support #GivingTuesday. And an article in USA Today highlighted the United Methodist Church among the significant participants, reporting that “Big names—Microsoft to United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries and PayPal—got involved this year with promises to match donations.”

Denominational agencies such as the General Board of Discipleship, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Commission on Religion and Race and United Methodist Communications joined in efforts to help promote giving through The Advance on UMC #GivingTuesday.

Emily Miller, Global Ministries’ associate general secretary for communications and development, said she is thrilled about the creative ways diverse groups participated in #GivingTuesday and about how United Methodist organizations got involved.

“For example, Cokesbury and the United Methodist Publishing House pledged a portion of the day’s sales to Advance projects, and our colleagues at United Methodist Communications helped answer donor questions through Infoserve,” she said.

“We know that the giving on Dec. 2 will have a ripple effect throughout the season as people look for ways to stay focused on the spirit of giving,” she added.

To view a full report of projects that were supported and the gifts that Global Ministries matched, visit http://goo.gl/ia7Izo.

—from umcmission.org