Kyle Penney

Kyle Penney Guest columnist

What is the purpose of East Texas Giving Day, Giving Tuesday and Tyler Gives? If you answered that they are online giving events meant to daze and confuse local donors, you are only half right. They are online giving events, but they are not meant to daze and confuse local donors. Admittedly, when you are not closely involved with each of these online events, they can get confusing. As we approach Giving Tuesday on December 1st, I thought it might be helpful to review what they are and how you can use these events to support local charities.

East Texas Giving Day is the easiest one for me to explain since it is hosted by East Texas Communities Foundation (ETCF). East Texas Giving Dayis an 18-hour online giving event which benefits participating East Texas area nonprofits.The event is held on the last Tuesday of April each spring. On April 28, 2020 the event included 195 participating charities across the 32-county region of northeast Texas and raised over $2.2 million from 5,786 contributions. The 2020 event was very timely for many local charities which were facing a very uncertain future amid the cancellation of numerous spring fundraising events due to the coronavirus. is the cleverly-named website which allows donors to locate and contribute to multiple charities in a single transaction. The website keeps a live running total of overall contributions and provides leaderboards to view the specific progress of participating nonprofits. Prizes are awardedthroughout the day for nonprofits reaching various fundraising goals. Nonprofits are required to register for this event and ETCF provides various training opportunities to help nonprofits maximize the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts, such as social media training and how to utilize matching gifts. All online donations are received by ETCF and granted out to charities as selected by each donor. The key to success for East Texas Giving Day is concentrating standard and social media attention on the single-day event to encourage giving.

Giving Tuesday identifies itself as a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. More simply, Giving Tuesday encourages acts of generosity such as volunteering or making financial contributions to local charities on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday which are very important shopping days for brick and mortar and online retailers, respectively. This year Giving Tuesday will fall on December 1. With extended restrictions placed on normal fundraising activities and nonprofits continuing to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus, Giving Tuesday is positioned to be a very helpful boost for charities worldwide. Giving Tuesday has a website which encourages nonprofits to register and self-report their donations, but the website does not attempt to process contributions. In partnership with many local nonprofits and the technology providers used by nonprofits, Giving Tuesday attempts to provide an estimate of contributions which take place that day. Many local nonprofits have taken advantage of the energy and tools provided by Giving Tuesday to encourage donations to support their missions. In fact, because of the impact of the coronavirus on local charities and the growing interest in Giving Tuesday, ETCF will be actively promoting and encouraging gifts to local charities on Giving Tuesday via standard and social media.

Tyler Gives is a perfect example of a local organization taking the lead to promote charitable giving on Giving Tuesday. is an online giving website, organized by the United Way of Smith County, which will be accepting contributions on Giving Tuesday, December 1st, to benefit 22 charities which are supported by the United Way of Smith County. The United Way of Smith County has made a $50,000 match available to encourage donors to support these important local nonprofits. Don’t miss the opportunity to help these important Smith County charities reach their fundraising goals on Giving Tuesday.

East Texas Giving Day, Giving Tuesday and Tyler Gives are similar, yet unique opportunities for donors to consider online gifts to support the work of local charities. 2020 has been very challenging, and has forced many charities to become better at online fundraising. Perhaps making another direct gift to a charity you supported on East Texas Giving Day, or looking for opportunities to make a gift on Giving Tuesday or through on December 1st is your next best opportunity to Give Well.

Guest columnist, Kyle Penney is President of East Texas Communities Foundation and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy. Philanthropy builds community and changes lives. ETCF supports philanthropy by providing simple ways for donors to achieve their charitable goals. To learn more about ETCF or to discuss your charitable giving, contact Kyle at 866-533-3823 or email questions or comments to More information is available at

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