INDIANAPOLIS - As the kickoff to the holiday shopping season gets underway, nonprofits throughout Indiana and the country are looking to capitalize on the holiday spirit with Giving Tuesday. Organizations have seen an increasing number of donations on the day, which began in 2012. Steve Johns, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based OneCause, says technology is playing an increasing role in that growth.

"We think that donors like to be socially connected to a cause or a nonprofit and that's much more easy to be done through your mobile device using technology," said Johns. "We think Giving Tuesday is a perfect combination as these nonprofit supporters are all empowered to give and share on one given day using technology."

OneCause is a social fundraising software platform that earlier this year surpassed $2 billion in donations received. Johns says technology makes it easier for nonprofits to demonstrate the ease of use and the impact of online giving, which can lead to an uptick in donations.

Una Osili, associate dean for research at the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, says the "shareable" aspect of Giving Tuesday has led to double-digit donation growth year-over-year.

"Social media has been a big part of that success and having a day where people can start to focus on generosity and not just giving themselves, but then encouraging their friends, their family, their colleagues, people in their network, and then sharing those stories on Giving Tuesday I think has propelled this even beyond what the initial founders may have imagined."

Johns adds nonprofits can be more successful by focusing on three core elements, which are bolstered by technology: EMI, or ease, mission, and impact.

"You have to make it easy and technology does that. The way that technology has advanced, it's actually making it easier to use technology sometimes than traditional paper methods. Nonprofits have to make sure that they communicate their mission clearly and make sure that that mission connects with a supporter. You (also) need to make sure that the donor knows the impact of the donation."

Osili says many companies have stepped in to match donations, which has contributed to the growth of Giving Tuesday. 

"There's this collective power that you can have and one of the exciting evolutions over time is that organizations of all difference sizes in different parts of the country have participated and we've certainly seen that here in Indiana."

Osili says as awareness grows, Giving Tuesday has the potential to grow even further. She says there are many areas where Giving Tuesday can expand, not just in the U.S., but globally.