Why it’s Time to Take Part in Giving Tuesday

It can be hard to believe that Giving Tuesday is only 7 years old. But rapid growth has made this a social (media) event that stands on the verge of cultural relevance and acceptance, and your organization should embrace it.

But as with anything online these days, some people disagree. And their points can seem valid, but where they see a barrier to participation, I see an opportunity to challenge your thinking, creatively problem solve, and build new donor relationships.

So let’s look at the arguments in the linked article above, and see where the opportunity is for your donor engagement efforts.

1.Your Message Will Get Crowded Out

The problem I have here is that the author was only looking at one side of the equation. Yes, lots and lots and LOTS of nonprofits are preparing a Giving Tuesday effort of some kind. But keep in mind;

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

So yeah, there’s more of your fellow fundraisers out there, but there are also more eyeballs out there for you to connect with than at any other time of the year. So make your case, state your mission, and do whatever you can to ensure that your passion connects with people who feel the same. In many communities (including here in Cleveland) smaller nonprofits are banding together. This way they can speak together louder, and to a bigger crowd than they ever could have done on their own.

2. The Truth About Social Media Fundraising

The author of the article starts off by saying that social media is a terrible fundraising platform, but quickly pivots to their real point – at it’s best, all social media can do is drive people to your website.

Seems like a good problem to have, doesn’t it?

Heck yeah! OK, maybe Giving Tuesday won’t be a huge monetary gain for your organization, but if it can raise awareness, and we’re not spending the yearly budget to do it, I think we’re all good with that, right? The author focuses on all those appeals turning off your current donor base. But if your Giving Tuesday appeal is ONLY going to people who are already giving, why bother?

Now is your chance to take the messaging and passion that brought those current donors to you, and use it to find new ones. What’s the persona of your current donor? What are their points of commonality, and how can we harness them to find new potential donors who we can reach?

3. It Encourages “Spot Giving”

So far, I’ve been trying to see the authors side to every argument, but on this one I just can’t. Sorry, but I think most of us will be happy with just about any sort of giving, spot or otherwise.

As near as I can tell, his argument here is really that if you try and treat a spot donor like a recurring donor, you’ll fail. And if that’s the case, he’s absolutely right. But that’s not a good argument for turning your nose up at a spot gift, it’s an argument to challenge your organization to have a marketing plan for both, and to have enough tools to nurture spot donors into becoming recurring donors.

4. You Won’t Raise a Lot

I don’t see this an argument against participation, as much as a reason to manage expectations and set realistic goals, which should be a part of every fundraising campaign you manage.

Yes, you’re probably not going to raise enough to build a wing on a hospital, dedicate a park, or cure a disease. But if you go in with clear goals, like raising awareness, targeting new donors and building internal momentum for your cause, and use the tools that are available, Giving Tuesday can become a valuable event in your long and short term goals.