The United Methodist Church had its largest amount of funds donated online in a single-day during the #GivingTuesday observance, the denomination's leaders report.
About $6.5 million was donated to UMC missions on the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the UMC General Board of Global Ministries. The idea of putting a focus on "giving" rather than "shopping" on the day after Cyber Monday and three days after Black Friday appears to have gained momentum this year thanks to social media.
Thomas Kemper, general secretary for the UMC GBGM, said in a statement that he and his peers "were overwhelmed by this giving that went far beyond our dreams."
"The people called Methodists once again have exceeded themselves in love and solidarity," added Kemper, whose organization matched the first half million in online gifts donated.
Melissa Hinnen, director of Content and Public Information for the UMC GBGM, told The Christian Post that the previous single day record came in early 2010.
"To date the most money ever donated online in one day was following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti on January 14 for $492,882," said Hinnen. "The $6.5 million that was donated on UMC #GivingTuesday was allocated to more than 880 projects and missionaries. 100% of the donations will go directly to the project designated by the donor."
The donations will go through the UMC's channel of giving known as The Advance, that aids in connecting donors to the philanthropic project of their choice. Hinnen also told CP that the effort to spread awareness of the Giving Tuesday drive "was largely a grass roots social media campaign."
"Our communications team worked closely with United Methodist Communication, the denomination's communication agency to develop resources and connect our churches and regional offices (annual conferences) to build momentum," said Hinnen. "We partnered with a denominational publication, The Interpreter, to educate people about The Advance and UMC #GivingTuesday."
Started last year, #GivingTuesday is an event meant to encourage donations to nonprofits as part of the late November observances beginning with Thanksgiving.
"We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help us create #GivingTuesday. A new day for giving back," reads the about section of the #GivingTuesday website. "It's a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity."