United Methodists around the world demonstrated inspiring generosity through their contributions on Dec. 1, 2015 — UMC #GivingTuesday. Nearly 6,000 donors from 27 countries donated $2.8 million through The Advance to support mission and ministries around the world.
The denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries matched the first $1 million, building additional incentive for giving. More than 770 projects and missionaries received 8,757 gifts through The Advance, the designated giving channel of The United Methodist Church.
Noting the increase in gifts from the $2.5 million donated during 2014’s UMC #GivingTuesday, Thomas Kemper, general secretary of Global Ministries, said, “Methodist giving is resilient. As we face a pandemic of mass shootings, a global refugee crisis, and an outbreak of desperate acts of violence, Methodists’ commitment to the mission of the church is a powerful testament to the faith and trust in the denomination’s ability to transform the world.” He continued, “Every gift made through The Advance on Giving Tuesday and throughout the year has the power and possibility to make a difference in the lives of women, men, and children globally.”
Ellen Knudsen, director of Advance projects, shared, “We are delighted that, once again, donors have joined together on this special day of giving to support the life-changing work of United Methodist-related Advance projects. It is so encouraging to our partners around the world. We are thankful for all who give and for those who are receiving these financial gifts.”
A new approach to UMC #GivingTuesday this year involved building relationships with local churches through teams that worked locally to promote Advance projects and missionaries.
Anja Williams, director of marketing, described the team concept in this way: “For the first time we encouraged the formation of teams to galvanize supporters and to get them excited about the Advance projects and causes they care about most. We had teams of all sizes, including a team with as few as five members and one with over 3,000 members, as well as in between.” Williams added, “We hope in years to come that more teams will form and partner with projects to strengthen the work that’s being done. Few or many, it’s exciting to see the collective role we play in changing the world when we allow the love of Christ to move us into action!”
This is the third year that The Advance participated in UMC #GivingTuesday, part of a larger international movement that provides an alternative to Black Friday, Local Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday — the shopping traditions following Thanksgiving.
Emily Miller, Global Ministries’ associate general secretary for Communications and Development, said, “The exponential growth of Giving Tuesday in general is a beautiful response to the hyper-consumerism we see leading up to the Christmas season, and it is great that United Methodists remain steadfast in their support of denominational priorities.”
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 in 2014 by the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Partnership to promote and support #GivingTuesday.
Denominational agencies such as the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the General Board of Discipleship, the General Commission on Religion and Race, and United Methodist Communications united to help promote giving through The Advance on UMC #GivingTuesday.
A full report of projects that were supported and the gifts that Global Ministries matched will be available at www.umcmission.org in mid-December.