“There’s too much noise, it’s hard to rise above the clutter.”
“It’s a busy time of the year, nobody’s paying attention.”
“We don’t do much online fundraising, so it’s not for us.”
“We prefer to focus on our EOY appeal.”
These are all reasons we’ve heard from nonprofits for why they skip Giving Tuesday—and we get it, they’re all understandable.
I’d like to invite you to reframe these thoughts, however, because Giving Tuesday has grown into such a significant fundraising tool that your organization could potentially miss out on benefits that extend beyond just one day of extra donations.
First, a quick bit of history: Giving Tuesday started in 2012 as a way to encourage people to give back during the holiday season, a time when many are feeling generally altruistic and generous. It has extended to a global campaign to support nonprofits. Each year, Giving Tuesday gains a little more traction and grows a little bigger, and projections expect that trend to continue.
So, let’s talk about it. If you’re one who thinks, “The R is not worth the I when it comes to Giving Tuesday campaigns,” I would encourage you to consider these thoughts instead.
1. Sure, there’s a lot of “noise” surrounding Giving Tuesday—but there’s also a more engaged and willing audience ready to participate.
Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, kicking off “the most wonderful time of the year,” according to that famous song that’s probably now ringing in your head. What’s particularly wonderful about it for nonprofits is that people are feeling particularly “givey.” While thousands of nonprofits may be trying to take advantage of arguably the most popular giving day of the year, they’re talking to primed audiences that are in the mood to open their wallets and click Donate Now, so while there’s noise, there’s also a generosity in the air. If you choose to not participate in Giving Tuesday simply because you don’t want to compete with the asks from other orgs, you’re keeping that altruistic vibe from ever touching your org—not only are you missing out on potential dollars, you’re keeping your organization from gaining potential donors.
One other thing: Besides feeling givey, both businesses and individuals know that they have limited time left to make charitable contributions for tax purposes. So, again, it might feel noisy during Giving Tuesday and beyond, but there are corporations and tax payers actively looking for orgs to support. Don’t take yourself out of the conversation by remaining silent or invisible.
2. Giving Tuesday gives you an opportunity to become a part of something bigger than your organization, and that extends your reach.
The Giving Tuesday brand has become recognizable, and donors now expect this day each year, so they’re prepared for it. By joining the Giving Tuesday community, it puts you in a class of others that are celebrating the spirit of philanthropy together. And sometimes we can accomplish more when we join a vibrant community than we can on our own.
You can use the Giving Tuesday brand and hashtag in your marketing materials alongside your own org’s logo, and using the brand could grab the attention of different kinds of donors than who you typically reach. Giving Tuesday engages a broad audience, which extends your reach and raises awareness of your cause—so even if you don’t blow your fundraising goals out of the water, you’ve made a bunch of new friends and prospects that you can continue a conversation with and potentially turn into loyal donors.
3. If your org has typically not done much online fundraising, Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to dip your toe into it.
Why? Because you have an online audience that’s ready and waiting for opportunities to give. Giving Tuesday is primarily an online giving day, and donors know it—so, while they’re scouring the internet for shopping deals, they’re also open to saying yes to charitable contributions. There aren’t many other days of the year when you have such a ready and willing audience, so this is the perfect time to give online fundraising a shot.
If you’re not sure where to even start, our free ebook on How to Develop a Giving Tuesday Marketing Plan will walk you through the planning process and tell you what you need to set your nonprofit up for online fundraising success. The important thing is that you even take a first step toward the world of online fundraising, because it will open up a whole new world of possibilities and game-changing opportunities.
4. A Giving Tuesday campaign doesn’t have to compete with your EOY appeal—it can launch it.
Giving Tuesday is known as the start of the end-of-year giving season. It’s less of a competitor for your EOY appeal but more like a launching pad. You can ideally integrate Giving Tuesday with your year-end campaign and use Giving Tuesday as “launch day.” So, you’re not necessarily putting forth more effort; you’re just being more strategic.
Pro tip: The most successful Giving Tuesday campaigns focus on a specific goal. So, instead of “Please donate to help us provide good quality, fresh food for those living in food deserts,” it might be, “Please help us reach our goal of $10,000 to provide fresh produce this holiday season for those living in a food desert in Jefferson County, Mississippi.” You can launch your EOY appeal with a specific Giving Tuesday project or goal, then transition right into your year-end efforts to finish the year strong and reach your fundraising goals. It’s not an either/or situation—it’s a “yes, and” one.
To make participation in Giving Tuesday easy, get our free ebook that I mentioned above about developing a Giving Tuesday marketing and follow-up plan. We’ll walk you through the steps and recommend resources to make this a seamless process.
Remember, it’s not just about the number of dollars you can raise in a day; it’s also about raising awareness, extending your reach, joining a community, engaging with a new type of donor and building relationships. These are benefits that can serve you well all year long.