On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, America, along with other countries who’ve joined the party, will wake up to the third annual #GivingTuesday, a nationwide all-day drive to help raise money online for the greater good. #GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to helping others and celebrating the great global spirit of generosity.
Seeing that #GivingTuesday falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, at the start of the busiest time of the year for most of us, the whole celebration could just slip by, under the radar. But #GivingTuesday has captured plenty of attention and caught the imagination of those folk tired of the consumerist binge associated with the holiday season.
So what is #GivingTuesday exactly?
On its official website #GivingTuesday is described as:
“A global day dedicated to giving back … charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”
#GivingTuesday, created in 2012, was the brainchild of Henry Timms of the 92nd Street Y who, together with friends and partners, wanted to encourage an antidote for the money-making and materialistic behavior typified on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
When did it start?
Typically nonprofits – like businesses – work from an annual plan but when the idea for the first #GivingTuesday was announced in October 2012, there was only a month to prepare before the big day, November 27, 2012.
Despite the short notice, the event was a great success, drawing donations to some 2,600 organizations. In the first event, one charity reported raising $21,000 despite the narrow time-frame.
Who created #GivingTuesday?
This joint social venture between the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation initially included a cluster of foundations, philanthropists, associations and social media. The overall response to #GivingTuesday has been positive, with many organizations, including Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Skype, UNICEF, the Case Foundation, and others joining in as partners.
Will this become an annual event to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Its too early to say but with the number of participating nonprofits more than doubling in the first two years, #GivingTuesday looks set to rock.
How profitable can it be?
The first #GivingTuesday in 2012 drew donations to about 2,600 nonprofits. Charitable giving in 2013 was approximately twice that of 2012, with over 7,000 nonprofits participating in the 2013 event.
In 2012, nonprofits that raised money through Network for Good, via online gifts, reported a 155% increase in donations on Giving Tuesday compared to the same day in 2011.
Online giving on #GivingTuesday 2013 was up 90% compared to 2012. Blackbaud processed more than $19.2 million in online donations. The average online gift on #GivingTuesday, 2013, was $142.05, a significant increase from $101.60 in 2012
Participating nonprofits in Giving Tuesday 2013 say they raised much more that day than they would normally on a day in early December.
#GivingTuesday is mostly a social Media happening
There’s no denying that up ‘til now, #GivingTuesday has been mostly a social media happening. On the big day, the draw, the excitement, is the buzz created on social media streams that will be flooded with messages asking people to make a gift.
Plans are afoot to create a more comprehensive phenomenon that extends beyond social media. Until these plans come to fruition, #GivingTuesday is synonymous with social media and online giving.
Could #GivingTuesday work for your nonprofit?
Perhaps the biggest question nonprofit professionals ought be asking is, “Should my organization be participating in #GivingTuesday?”
In the nonprofit sector itself, #GivingTuesday has been generally greeted with overwhelming positivity – genuine opportunities to “ask” don’t arise outside of most organizations’ scheduled events, appeals and fundraisers.
Still there are some industry professionals who view widespread adoption of the event with skepticism, warning that small and mid-sized organizations should proceed with caution before jumping on the bandwagon.
As with any new venture, knowledge is the key; before committing time, resources and staff to a #GivingTuesday campaign, explore the potentials for your organization.
Keep in mind a report from Blackbaud from 2013 indicating that while large organizations had the greatest increase in overall donations, small organizations had the greatest increase in online giving.
Resources to help with your #GivingTuesday campaign:
- There are lots of free resources and tools on the #GivingTuesday website.
- Free webinars dealing with online fundraising and social media marketing.
- Take a look at our #GivingTuesday checklist to help you get started.
- Guide your organization through creating and executing a #GivingTuesday campaign with this playbook.
- Find more great giving resources here.
The drive to make Giving Tuesday a holiday tradition is gaining momentum. It’s a simple plan, channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire charitable giving and make giving contagious. Join #GivingTuesday and be a part of the global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.