Giving Tuesday Part Two: Should your nonprofit participate in Giving Tuesday?

By October 22, 2019December 1st, 2020Nonprofit Management, Giving & Philanthropy

Note: This is Part Two of a three-part series about Giving Tuesday. Be sure to visit Part One: A history of Giving Tuesday and Part Three: How to make your day a success story.

Reasons to participate – or to not participate – are unique to every institution. If you are debating your involvement, here are questions to ask yourself (and your team):

Do younger people make up a large part of your donor base – or do you strive for this?

At 25 years old on average, Giving Tuesday donors are younger than the average donor age of 64.

Is donor acquisition a focus?

Organizations report that they acquire three to five times the number of new supporters on Giving Tuesday than on any other day of the year. Some 15% of donors acquired on this day give once more before the next year’s event, according to Classy.

What do you want to raise funds for?

Though many institutions prefer to drive Giving Tuesday support toward their annual fund, this could be an effective way for you to promote a specific cause, immediate need, or seasonal effort. No matter what, ensure your requests are clear, focused, and mission-directed.

Do you have the infrastructure to make your Giving Tuesday a success story?

A majority of giving is directed to larger nonprofits, those earning $10 million or greater in philanthropic revenue annually. Do you have the staff, time, volunteers, and processing capacity to ensure that your Giving Tuesday becomes a success story? If not, your resources may be best spent elsewhere, such as a major gift program.

Have you considered what Giving Tuesday should specifically accomplish for your organization?

What are the top priorities of your effort, besides raising funds? Are you focused on acquiring new donors or inspiring repeat gifts? Do you want to encourage recurring gifts? Are you focused on a certain segment of your audience, such as staff, or donors within a certain region? Does this serve as a marketing and communications campaign around a certain area or a general exposure campaign? Go beyond the universal toolkit that Giving Tuesday offers on its website and consider the specific tools you’ll need for your effort.

How does the timing of Giving Tuesday weigh against your other efforts?

Many consider Giving Tuesday an early boost to the holiday giving season (and tax year-end). This could work to your advantage. For example, a Graham-Pelton client strategically considered their participation in Giving Tuesday as a way to encourage donors to give earlier than at the fiscal year-end on June 30. Alleviating this summer “crunch time” allowed for more even pacing throughout the year.

It takes a village. Do you have one?

Success stories that emerge from Giving Tuesday campaigns often have three elements in common: volunteer advocacy, donor stories, and beneficiary testimonials. Do you have a base of volunteers willing and able to step up as advocates? Are you able to identify the beneficiaries of your organization’s support who can tell their stories and offer testimonials? Do you have the bandwidth to best educate a cohort of volunteers to be successful and impactful Giving Tuesday advocates on your behalf?

Does partnership make more sense than going it alone?

Some nonprofits find success in partnering with for-profit institutions or specific civic groups to promote their Giving Tuesday efforts. For example, in the UK, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group matched customer donations up to £50 as part of Giving Tuesday UK.

That leads to another consideration: Region-specific Giving Tuesday events have begun to thrive. More than 60 nations have distinct efforts, such as the aforementioned Giving Tuesday UK and Giving Tuesday Canada. Many city-specific approaches, such as SHARE Charlotte, create a consortium of local nonprofits, aggregating efforts and raising awareness.

Last, certain subsectors may benefit from aligning themselves within the larger effort. For example, you might call #iGiveCatholic “a campaign within a campaign”. Using the strength of Giving Tuesday with the partnership of many Catholic (arch)dioceses, #iGiveCatholic raised more than $5.6 million in 2018 and supported 1,300 Catholic organizations.

Is it better for you to go it alone?

More and more organizations, especially in the education sector, are opting to celebrate their own days of giving. These are often tied to the date of their founding or another meaningful date that resonates across their community.

There is no direct research that answers whether Giving Tuesday or an independent day of giving has proven to be more successful. Organizations may want to do either or both. Again, this is dependent on your organization, your calendar, and your goals.

In Part Three, you will become equipped with six Giving Tuesday success strategies, no matter the size of your effort.

Did you miss Part One about the history of Giving Tuesday? Click here to read more.

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