NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Human compassion may be woefully absent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it's set to bounce back the following Tuesday stronger than ever.
Dubbed #GivingTuesday, this year's event on Dec. 2 is expected to smash old records for charitable donations as it has each of the last two years, a result of the marketing and social media muscle surrounding the event.
Founded in 2012 by New York Jewish community center the 92nd Street Y, and the U.N. Foundation, #GivingTuesday is a simple idea that dedicates the day after Cyber Monday to charitable works. Online giving on the day has risen 50% from 2011 to 2012 and another 90% year over year from 2012 to 2013.
More importantly, according to Asha Curran, director of the 92nd Street Y's Center for Innovation and Social Impact, #GivingTuesday has started an important international conversation about caring.
"The number of dollars raised is really important," Curran told TheStreet, emphasizing that the founders of the movement want to see all charitable groups succeed in their fundraising goals. "But I think that seeing people talk about giving in a whole new way and seeing them talk about it all kinds of different contexts and in all kinds of different geographic locations is equally meaningful."
That conversation itself speaks to #GivingTuesday's success in answering a deeper human need. Like the famously viral ice-bucket challenge, #GivingTuesday offers people an opportunity to do good in any way they can. That impact can be impossible to measure but hints of it exist in real dollars, as donations to the charities that carry the torch of our concern for one another have shot up in the last two years.
According to The NonProfit Times, donations on #GivingTuesday in 2013 amounted to $32.33 million processed on five online platforms: Blackbaud, PayPal, Razoo, Network for Good and DonorPerfect. Blackbaud, which handles contributions for large nonprofits, reported that it processed $19.2 million in online donations on the day, a 90% increase over the prior year. Blackbaud also reported the average donation it processed rose by 40% in 2013 to $142 from $102 in 2012.