AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Giving Back on #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a day devoted to giving back to the causes that we care about, the issues that define some of us, and the missions that drive solutions to some of the world’s most critical problems. This holiday season and beyond, we want to bring awareness to this day and explain how it affects nonprofit organizations that participate.

The first #GivingTuesday occurred in 2012, and over the last five years, the day has grown through social media and collaboration. Last year, there were #GivingTuesday activities in 98 countries and more than $177 million was donated online in the U.S. alone from more than 1,640,000 gifts.

This added attention to hundreds of nonprofits on this dedicated giving day also brings the challenge of spikes in website traffic. Many nonprofits look for ways to scale their websites to avoid unwanted crashes and any downtime in their mission.

One reliable way to scale with traffic on big days of giving is to use donor platforms powered by AWS to facilitate giving. Highlighted below are four organizations who have helped nonprofits around the world raise funds to give back.

DonorPerfect: DonorPerfect is one of the world’s largest fundraising software platforms, and has helped raise more than $100 billion in donations from 80 million donors. Launched as a cloud-based solution in 2001, DonorPerfect transitioned to AWS two years ago to provide a scalable and elastic infrastructure for its nonprofit clients, especially on high-demand days, such as #GivingTuesday and New Year’s Eve. Nonprofits like Unicef, Habitat for Humanity, and Boys and Girls Clubs trust DonorPerfect to manage all of their data within an easy-to-use system.

GlobalGiving: GlobalGiving is one of the largest global crowdfunding communities connecting nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country in the world. From 2002, GlobalGiving has raised more than $295M from over 700,000 people in over 170 countries. By using GlobalGiving, any individual can give to vetted nonprofits to help raise money for a cause close to them. Nonprofits can join the GlobalGiving community to create their own fundraising pages, gets tools, training, and even matching money. And finally, companies can use GlobalGiving as a way to enhance their own corporate giving strategy.

GlobalGiving is all-in on AWS with 100% of its web traffic powered by AWS on Amazon EC2, Elasticsearch, Elasticache, Amazon S3, and Aurora/RDS. “AWS allows us to not only scale up to meet demands, but also allows us to geographically distribute our servers so that we have a fast loading site from America to Zimbabwe,” said Kevin Conroy, Chief Product Officer, GlobalGiving.

DonorsChoose.org: DonorsChoose.org was started in 2000 by Charles Best, a teacher at a Bronx public high school. He wanted to create a place where teachers could request the materials and experiences their students needed, and donors could fund the projects that inspired them. With business analytics and data science powered by Amazon Redshift, DonorsChoose.org has fulfilled over a million classroom project requests, and shipped the requested resources directly to the classroom. Founded on the principle of transparency, the DonorsChoose.org team shows donors how every dollar is spent, how donors make a difference, and how grateful the students and teachers are once their requests are fulfilled.

“AWS helps power our business intelligence and analytics, whether we’re applying our partners’ dollars to match citizen donations, using machine learning to categorize projects by resource type, or spotting trends among the million classroom projects teachers have had funded on DonorsChoose.org,” said Oliver Hurst-Hiller, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product, DonorsChoose.org.

JustGiving UK: JustGiving is one of the world’s largest online social platforms for charitable fundraising and crowdfunding. The London-based organization’s mission is to ensure no great cause goes unfunded and are enormously proud to have helped people in 164 countries raise over $4.5 billion for more than 13,000 causes as diverse as Alzheimer’s research, Haiti earthquake relief, and initiatives to stop human trafficking. JustGiving Launched in 2001, and recently became part of the Blackbaud family and are working together to develop a roadmap with the aim of providing even greater services to the charity sector both in the UK and across the world.

JustGiving chose AWS for its test and production environments, with a particular focus on enhancing analytics capabilities. Ant Drewery says the choice boiled down to trust: “We’re a trusted brand for 23 million users and 13,000 causes that are using us to raise funds,” he says. “We wanted to find a solution for cloud services that we could bring into that trust network. AWS was really the only player for that.”

This #GivingTuesday, AWS would like to highlight all of our nonprofit customers and their missions. For a list of AWS customers and where to donate, visit our webpage here. Join the movement and follow along at #GivingTuesday #Igavebecause!