Giving Amidst a Crisis: Going Beyond The Giving Tuesdays of Years Past.

Since its founding in 2012, Giving Tuesday—the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, widely recognized as a day of charitable giving—has become a nearly $2 billion event, opening countless doors for nonprofit and advocacy organizations of all sizes and issue areas.  But this year, Giving Tuesday is more essential than ever. The COVID-19 recession has put incredible financial pressure on the nonprofit sector. A recent survey conducted by the Nonprofit Finance Fund revealed that a majority of nonprofits are facing financial burdens that threaten their long-term survival at a time when the need for advocacy and philanthropy are reaching record highs.  Our current predicament is an opportunity for businesses to make a real difference—a commitment to positive change that so many companies promised their stakeholders this summer. It’s time for corporations to go beyond mere donations and gift matching. Stakeholders deserve and demand more. If companies want to be part of the solution, they should use Giving Tuesday to effect real, lasting change.  Listen to your stakeholders Under financial pressure, consumers are changing their spending habits, moving away from their regular brands and towards a more diverse set of companies. People are increasingly buying from brands that align with their beliefs. As consumer loyalty declines across the board, your company’s stance on social issues could make or break your consumers’ loyalty. Identify issues that matter to your stakeholders, consistently support them, and build a Giving Tuesday program. Invest in organizations Cash donations are obviously welcomed by nonprofit organizations, especially when three out of four organizations are seeing drops in their revenue. But true commitment to an issue goes far beyond one-time donations during the holidays—your increasingly savvy stakeholders expect more. Real change comes from long-term, sustainable investment in organizations that are already serving the community. Avoid one-off days of service and pet projects, like cleaning up a local park. Instead, establish a long-term partnership with organizations already operating in the communities you seek to help, in the areas your stakeholders have identified as most important to them. Combine donation with advocacy This year’s Giving Tuesday comes amidst months of civic unrest, calls for corporate accountability, and an uncertain economic outlook. With more people strapped for cash but ready to engage in social movements, companies have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to meet their needs and demands. Structure your Giving Tuesday program to include alternatives to just donating money. Ask people not just to give their cash, but also their time and energy to causes in which your company believes. Organize virtual activations around issues your stakeholders care about. If strategically possible, endorse legislation that furthers your companies’ chosen social cause. These tactics are more authentic and keep your consumers engaged at a time when people can’t necessarily spend as much.  Our current social and economic environment presents an opportunity for corporations to reimagine Giving Tuesday. Meaningful stakeholder engagement, sustainable investment, and real action will not only meet consumers’ expectations but will also preserve brand loyalty and corporate authenticity. It’s a win-win.


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