#GivingTuesday – similar to movements like the 1% Difference Campaign – are a nice idea. I don’t believe they work, but they’re harmless (aren’t they?) and do bring about a few positive results. Albeit, not in the way they intend.
So why don’t I like it?
Well, other great fundraising blogs have already beat me to it:
- Michael Rosen points out that there is no evidence that Giving Tuesday actually does anything.
- Claire Axelrad wonders “if #GivingTuesday encourages token, one-time transactions or small gifts that might have become larger gifts if solicited another way.
- Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority says you should avoid it – Your message will get crowded out, social media sucks for fundraising, it encourages “spot giving”, and the Return On Investment is just awful.
Let’s delve a bit deeper…
Every good fundraiser knows good fundraising is about building and maintaining good relationships. Giving Tuesday is an attempt to build a relationship with a day, when you should be building a relationship with your charity.
One of the overwhelming problems with Giving Tuesday is there is little or no consideration on what should have happened in that relationship before and what’s going to happen after Tuesday.
I think we see, and will continue to see, positive results because charities ask where they wouldn’t have asked. The day gives shy charities a license to ask. It’s not that donors have been compelled to give because it’s Tuesday. It’s because your ‘ask’ compelled them. Really we should call it #AskingTuesday and just admit to ourselves that it’s a campaign for charities rather than the public.
Why Do People Give?
Do you really think people are going to give because it’s Tuesday? Are you hoping that they’re going to give to you because a different charity or person told them it was #GivingTuesday?
No…they’re going to give because you reached out, and because you asked.
So then ask yourself, is the fact that it’s Tuesday your most compelling ‘ask’? Or do you think perhaps feeding that starving child, finding a home for that puppy, or helping someone who has been sexually abused is a more compelling story and a better ask?
As a charity, is #GivingTuesday the most effective way for you to raise money? Or is it just noise?
Think about it like this – where are they coming from?
- If a potential donor knows it’s #GivingTuesday then shouldn’t you be talking about your work instead of wasting valuable airtime?
- And if potential donor DOESN’T know it’s #GivingTuesday then SHOULDN’T YOU BE TALKING ABOUT YOUR WORK INSTEAD OF WASTING VALUABLE AIRTIME?
Instead, I urge you to boil it down to your usual emotionally captivating story. And go out to the public with a clear call to action, whatever the day of the week. Let others spend time and money on it if they need to.
And to the umbrella groups and suppliers that spend money on these types of campaigns: Ask yourself if this is the most effective way to support the charity sector?
What if you put that budget in to fundraising campaigns or fundraiser training instead? What if your budgets were used to turn bad fundraisers in to good fundraisers? And ask yourself what could a DM or Telephone fundraising expert in a little charity do with these budgets instead?
Those are the actions that would bring positive increases in fundraising each and every day of the week.
Update: Only just discovered this awesome post on Giving Tuesday from Sheena Greer.