29 November 2016 marks the fifth annual #GivingTuesday. This initiative began in the United States as a counterpoint to the gaudy commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is now a fixture on many NPO’s fourth-quarter calendars all over the globe. Thus far, participation in South Africa remains slow, but as Black Friday gains momentum here, is #GivingTuesday poised to follow suit? If so, how can your organisation participate?
#GivingTuesday is billed as "a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration." Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.
Participation has increased greatly each year as online donations continue to grow at a double-digit rate — a trend expected to continue. More than 75 nations now help organise their charities on Giving Tuesday, says Henry Timms, founder of the #GivingTuesday initiative. This year for the first time, Russia, Croatia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Tanzania will facilitate participation.
To understand it’s significance and potential, one must appreciate that #GivingTuesday is more than a day, it’s a movement. As such, it’s difficult to measure its total impact. Organisers point out that measuring #GivingTuesday only by how much money is raised will fail to take into account key indicators like the advocacy, volunteering, or the fact that there is often more engagement with an institution in the days following #GivingTuesday. Success can also be measured in terms of matching funds, new pledges, creating volunteering opportunities, or introducing your cause to a new audience.
When the time comes, how can your organisation participate?
1. Have a strong and consistent presence on social media. #GivingTuesday is primarily driven by social media. While your online footprint isn’t a campaign by itself, it does allow you to take part in the conversation.
2. Think of #GivingTuesday as a full-fledged campaign, not merely a day when you are hoping for some extra donations. That means that the normal rules apply for creating any fundraising campaign:
- Develop clear, realistic goals.
- Craft a message that stands out. Look at social media to see what others are doing, but don't be afraid to be be creative as well.
- Show your humanity. Share stories from your clients or staff that illustrate your success and that will resonate with people.
- Prepare your staff, especially those involved communications and social media, to market your campaign and communicate with donors during and after the campaign.
3. As with any campaign, use #GivingTuesday as an opportunity to engage with the public and tell them of your work.
4. Follow up. Don’t forget to say thank you personally. Remind donors how their contributions will further your work. Tell them how they can help in the future.
- Anna Isaac, "How charities can take advantage of Giving Tuesday", The Guardian.
- Eden Stiffman, "As Giving Tuesday Turns 5, Its Impact Expands Beyond Dollars", Chronicle of Philanthropy.