Should Your NonProfit Participate in #GivingTuesday?

Giving Tuesday is a fundraising campaign aimed at transforming the holiday season from the ideas of “take, take, take” to “taking & giving”.  The goal is to try to get people to “give” some of what they typically spend during the busiest holiday shopping days immediately following Thanksgiving (Black Friday & Cyber Monday) to give back to those less fortunate (i.e. non-profits) the following day…thus “Giving Tuesday” was born.

Giving-tuesday-image

As a nonprofit, what does this mean? Should you run a nonprofit fundraising campaign on Giving Tuesday?

Advice from one of our partners & fundraising expert, Joe Garecht from the Fundraising Authority suggests “No” – and here’s why.

  • Your Message Will Get Crowded Out: On Giving Tuesday, many other non-profits will be sending messages that day. So how can you be sure that your e-mail or social media campaign will cut through the clutter? It’s not to say that you won’t raise some extra money that day by sending out an email to your database. But he’d suggest, you take a cue from direct mail experts, and send your fundraising communications on a day when your communication can be the star of the show…  not a day like #GivingTuesday when you will be one of many similar requests.
  • Social Media Misconception: On Giving Tuesday, social media streams are going to be flooded with messages asking people to “Donate Now”. But the truth is, most people do NOT click donate now because of a social media post. Social media is best for sending people over to your organization’s website by posting interesting, compelling, and informative content. Once prospects click through to your website, your best strategy is to get their e-mail address (e.g. by signing up for your e-newsletter or to receive an e-book or other giveaway). Posting lots of social media messages on #GivingTuesday asking people to donate – NOW –may be a waste of your time and the goodwill of your followers.
  • It Encourages “Spot Giving”: Spot giving tactics are fundraising strategies that encourage one time gifts often tied to an external event.  This type of campaign takes donors out of the normal giving pattern for nonprofits – which typically involves creating a strategy for building donor retention. If you launch a spot giving fundraising campaign and then later approach your donors as part of your “normal” fundraising efforts, they may feel like they have already given as part of your previous effort. Spot giving campaigns seek one-time donations…unlike capital and endowment campaigns, which are part of an overall strategy to raise more funds through consistent annual online donations.

In Summary: This article is definitely not “against” the efforts of any non-profit that decides to participate in Giving Tuesday. We all do believe this is a worthy cause, and a great counter-effort to all the money people do spend on gifts for the holidays. We’re just pointing out some of the inevitable challenges that may be associated with breaking through the clutter on a day with so many messages and donation requests.  Before you decide to spend money on#GivingTuesday, we encourage you to read the full article on The Fundraising Authority.  Perhaps you’ll agree with Joe, and find that you may be more successful focusing on other year-end giving activities.