I really don’t get the purpose of Giving Tuesday from a donor’s perspective. Mostly because it’s hard to imagine that a newly created giving day is suddenly going to inspire me to give more or differently… especially after spending all my money shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What exactly would motivate the donor?
The Science of Giving articles on the Giving Tuesday website are great and I can certainly see how warm and fuzzy thoughts lead to helping and giving – but there is nothing warm and fuzzy about the Giving Tuesday concept, at least not on its own. And yet, I see nonprofits “participating” by downloading a Giving Tuesday logo, slapping it up on their website and as email headers and Facebook cover photos and then waiting for the money to roll in…with no other real campaign theme or concept or tie-in to their annual campaign.
There are a lot of very useful webinars, articles, and videos to help nonprofits gear up for the day including Blackbaud’s #Giving Tuesday: Connected Learning webinars coming up in the next couple of months. But to me it sounds a little misleading to say “we are going to help you with that day” as if Giving Tuesday was the only star of the show. In reality, nonprofits need to know how to leverage the Giving Tuesday brand and buzz as part of the nonprofit’s overall annual campaign.
To help clear up the confusion as to how Giving Tuesday fits in with everything else, I’d love to see these warnings on the Giving Tuesday site:
WARNING: Giving Tuesday only provides a rallying point for your campaign – warm fuzzies are NOT included and must be supplied by your nonprofit. It might seem tempting to a nonprofit to leave the Giving Tuesday concept as a stand-alone expecting donors to be motivated just because they are told it’s THE day to give. That’s not really a big motivator by itself. We still need the stories and really compelling reasons to give and some other motivation other than everyone else is doing it!
CAUTION: Donation results may appear larger than they are. On many of the Giving Tuesday examples / case studies, the campaigns appear to have actually less to do with their attachment to Giving Tuesday and more to do with the creativity and strength of the fundraising campaign in general. It seems likely to me that in a lot of cases, the fact that the campaign started or ended on Giving Tuesday was not a huge factor in the success of the campaign. And how do you really tally those results? Donors may have given the same amount on a different day, or the nonprofit may have had the same increase over the last year purely because the campaign in general was really well done. What would really be interesting to see is a donor survey to find out what impact Giving Tuesday actually has on donor’s giving behavior. Are donors going to rise to the challenge and accept this new giving day or will they dread it like a 20-year old guy with a limited budget on Valentine’s Day.
DANGER: Success may be slippery without corporate partners. If you really think about what group is going to be most excited about the prospect of Giving Tuesday (aside from nonprofits with really high hopes), it’s going to be businesses who love the potential for all the publicity and buzz that the new day designation invokes. A lot of the case studies and stories where a large increase in donations is seen, seem to involve nonprofits that have significantly partnered with corporations as part of their campaign.
From conversations with our members and clients, Giving Tuesday was definitely more successful than ever this year, with a lot of that success resulting from nonprofit-business partnerships, and many of those partnerships extending beyond Giving Tuesday. – Giving Tuesday 2014 Impact and Opportunities for Businesses in 2015
CAUTION – Extra marketing may be required. I called a handful of friends that I know donate regularly to ask them if they donate more on Giving Tuesday than other times of the year – and I was hit with “What is Giving Tuesday?” which actually surprised me. It may take a few more years for it to become a household name like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I’m very curious to know if the Giving Tuesday peeps have a global marketing budget to go with the global movement.
Sarasota County’s Giving Challenge 2015
This is a great video from The Philanthropy Show and the topic of this episode is Giving Days and specifically Sarasota County’s Giving Challenge 2015. The Paterson Foundation of Sarasota County is an integral part of the campaign, matching gifts, encouraging new donors to give to nonprofits they don’t usually support. They talk about the importance of both matching gift partnerships / corporate partnerships.