Should your organization participate in #GivingTuesday?.

You’re a kind-hearted, generous person, but have you found yourself waffling when you’ve been propositioned at the cash register, or browsing online and a window pops up on your screen asking for a donation?  You’re probably getting asked this question a lot as the year comes to a close. Have you ever wondered why? For the nonprofit sector and industries that rely on fundraising, the holiday season at the end of the year has always been the giving season. In fact, about a third of organizations can secure almost half of their annual donations in end-of-year asks.  To take advantage of this, in 2012, New York's 92nd Street Y partnered with the United Nations Foundation to create Giving Tuesday, a grassroots movement that has inspired hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is celebrated in the U.S., organizations are encouraged to drive donations. However, it shouldn’t be approached as just another fundraising campaign. The concept of Giving Tuesday is styled after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While shoppers are in the midst of buying presents, can they spend a day giving to the causes they care most about? Therefore, organizations are encouraged to use more fun and light-hearted messaging that is celebratory and not hard solicitations like many fundraising drives.  Last year was the seventh annual #GivingTuesday, which raised more than $380 million in online donations in the United States alone (Giving Tuesday 2018). The concept has been a brilliant way to build momentum for giving––like a Kickstarter fund.  But it has become a trap for many smaller organizations that don’t have the resources to take on an additional campaign. Giving Tuesday’s success means that every organization is competing with many others, much like any crowded store on Black Friday. How does an organization differentiate itself?  As a PR agency that has worked with many nonprofit clients, including those through our Clyde Impact pro bono program, we’ve seen many organizations feel the peer pressure to conduct a campaign for Giving Tuesday.  While some organizations have experienced success, like HIAS, a Jewish American nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees, many should review their resources and should decide not to participate. Stories like HIAS, which raised over $350,000, and No Kid Hungry, which raised over $465,000 in their Giving Tuesday initiative in 2018, can give a false impression that every organization needs to do a big campaign. Finding success on Giving Tuesday requires at least a three to four-month commitment and dedicating resources to the campaign. If this is not where your organization is in its journey, it’s alright to focus on other campaigns throughout the year that align better with your organizational needs.  While it feels counterintuitive not to engage on Giving Tuesday, there are small steps an organization can take to passively participate. For example, your organization can easily join the social media conversation by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. You can add a few graphics on your website to recognize the day, while not dedicating more resources to a full campaign. If Giving Tuesday does not strategically align with your organization’s goals or priorities, don’t feel obligated to make it a part of your plan. Stick with what works for you and your donors.  Whether you are a donor or an organization seeking donations, there is plenty to be positive about. We as a society are more invested in giving than ever before. In fact, overall giving grew 4.1% over the past year––the sixth consecutive year of growth. 

Clyde Insights

Below are a few tips to consider to adjust any end-of-year asks your organization may be planning to maximize your potential to increase donations. 1. Based on insights from Double the Donation, Millennials and Gen X have been identified as more likely to give on social media platforms, while Baby Boomers are most inspired to give by email marketing. Tailor your message on each platform to your target audience.
Method Millennials Gen X  Baby Boomers
Social Media 39% 33% 19%
Email 23% 26% 33%
Website 20% 19% 16%
Direct Mail 6% 9% 18%
2. More online donations (and higher value ones) are likely to occur if you offer donation buttons with a set amount rather than just one option that allows the donors to set their own amount. 3. Organizations should offer a monthly giving option for donors, and incorporate this message into its communications. This is a more sustainable model for organizations, and the evidence shows that donors prefer it too! 45% of worldwide donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program.


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