UMC #GivingTuesday Shows the Strength of a Denomination United
United Methodists once again responded with extravagant generosity on UMC #GivingTuesday. On December 2, 2014, more than $2.5 million was donated online through The Advance 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 8,700 gifts through UMC #GivingTuesday. The response was global with donors from 25 countries giving generously. The Advance is the designated giving channel of the United Methodist Church.
Noting that donors can partner with Advance projects and missionaries throughout the year, Thomas Kemper, who leads Global Ministries, said, “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.”
He continued, “Every gift made through The Advance this season makes a difference in the lives of the people they touch.”
The projects and missionaries supported through The Advance were key to the success of UMC #GivingTuesday. According to the head of The Advance, Ellen Knudsen, “The relationships our projects have with churches and individuals generated excitement for supporting specific ministries.”
While there was a cap on how much of each gift was matched by Global Ministries, so that as many organizations as possible received some of the matching funds, 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. These messages gained momentum and were shared electronically around the world through the grassroots,” she said.
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, Local 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, “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 Higher Education and Ministry, General Board of Discipleship, Commission on Religion and Race, and United Methodist Communications united 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,” she said, “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 added, “We know that the giving on December 2 will have a ripple effect throughout the season as people look for ways to stay focused on the spirit of giving.”
A full report of projects that were supported and the gifts that Global Ministries matched will be available at www.umcmission.org on December 15.