Another Giving Tuesday has come and gone, and the results are in: According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, nearly $2 billion was collected by U.S. charities, breaking all records from previous years. Nonprofits reported an increase of both donations and donors this year.
With so much money being raised around this single national day of giving, it’s easy to forget that just 10 years ago, Giving Tuesday didn’t even exist.
Giving Tuesday — or #GivingTuesday, as it’s often referred to — began in response to the post-Thanksgiving consumer “holidays” of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, the first reference we find to an organized day of giving at this time of year is a 2011 HuffPost article by Carlo Lorenzo Garcia calling for a “Cyber Giving Monday.”
The following year, New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and Mashable, pushed to move the day to Tuesday, creating an official website for Giving Tuesday and, this year, its own organization.
Since then, the popularity of Giving Tuesday has grown each year, with total money moved nearly doubling from year to year.
Given these impressive statistics, every nonprofit should conduct an aggressive Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign or risking missing out on one of the most lucrative fundraising days of the year, right?
Not so fast….
To Fundraise or Not to Fundraise?
While some nonprofits are running increasingly successful Giving Tuesday fundraising campaigns, others are choosing to go a different way.
As Giving Tuesday grows, it’s getting more and more difficult for many nonprofits to cut through the noise and be heard. Instead of joining in on the assault of solicitations being sent to their donors, they are using Giving Tuesday as an opportunity for gratitude and stewardship.
So what should your nonprofit do? Is it better to fundraise on Giving Tuesday or not?
We think that’s the wrong question. Instead, ask yourself, how do we best stand out from the crowd on Giving Tuesday?
Here are a few suggestions for getting your nonprofit noticed on Giving Tuesday:
1. Feature special double or triple matching gifts.
Limited-time-only matching gifts are very attractive to donors in the same way Black Friday “doorbuster” deals are attractive to consumers. They offer combined urgency and value that can be irresistible to some supporters.
2. Partner with other nonprofits around a theme.
Smaller nonprofits can band together to make themselves more visible by uniting their fundraising efforts around some commonality. You could team up with organizations that complement the work you do. Or join with local organizations in your town or city.
3. Be charitable yourself and help raise money or attention for other causes.
One way to stand out is to model charitable giving for your donors. This could mean supporting another charity or sending a series of messages from staff and/or board members about other causes that are close to their hearts.
4. Go hyper-local and energize your community.
If your nonprofit is on the smaller end of the spectrum, you might want to focus your resources on making deeper connections within your community. Local supporters take special pride in being part of an organization that makes their community better. Giving Tuesday can be an opportunity to connect with them in a more intimate way that a national charity, for example, simply can’t.
5. Focus on stewardship instead of fundraising.
Good donor stewardship lets your donors know how special they are and just how vital their support is to the cause. Giving Tuesday offers you an opportunity to get creative with your stewardship beyond a simple thank you message. Here are a few examples:
- Create a special video that demonstrates the impact donors have on beneficiaries.
- Host an event that lets donors see the work you do firsthand.
- Give donors an advance look at your plans for the coming year.
- Encourage donors to share on social media why they give to your nonprofit. (The hashtag #WhyIGive has been popularized by many organizations).
Just as each and every nonprofit is different, each and every nonprofit’s approach to Giving Tuesday can also be different. Presumably, you know your donor audience best. Use that wisdom and your experience to guide your choices on Giving Tuesday. Standing out from the crowd doesn’t necessarily mean doing something flashy or novel. Often it simply means making a more authentic connection with donors.