Charitable fundraising for other nonprofits on GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday, the annual fundraising blitz on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, turns 10 this year. What started as a social media hashtag to counter aggressive consumer advertising campaigns with charitable donations has now grown into a juggernaut. Charities raised an estimated $ 2.47 billion from U.S. donors on GivingTuesday last year, in addition to the $ 503 million they raised on GivingTuesdayNow, the special day of May 5 to raise US dollars. emergency to meet the needs of the pandemic.

This year, however, some fundraisers fear that donors no longer feel the same urgency to give as they did in 2020.

Even though charities aren’t raising as much as they did last year, Niely Shams, president of nonprofit solutions at marketing firm Data Axle, says she still expects donation day to be a sensation. . “Every year it gets bigger and bigger,” she says. Shams credits the growing mastery of fundraising strategies for attracting donors via email, social media and SMS.

Fundraisers are now spending months strategizing to attract donors before and on the day of the donation, says Asha Curran, who co-founded the event in 2012. Curran now heads the nonprofit GivingTuesday, which hosts the countryside.

This year, donors should expect to see more charities with similar missions coming together to appeal for support and raise awareness of their causes, Curran said. The National Center for Family Philanthropy, for example, is running family foundations across the country as part of a social media campaign to highlight charities that are making an impact in their local communities. Volunteer efforts such as peer support networks also benefit from the day, joining a campaign that is typically the purview of nonprofits. Local group Pandemic of Love and Mutual Aid Hub map resource will be posting on social media with #MutualAidGT to share stories about how self-help meets community needs and advances the missions of nonprofits.

The nearly 300 joint campaigns signal a change in GivingTuesday, according to Curran. “It really has become an exercise in citizen participation,” she says.

Some nonprofits whose donor numbers increased over the past year are using GivingTuesday as an opportunity to thank their pandemic donors. Over the past week, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy posted notes of gratitude on its website and social media, thanking donors, staff, clients, grant recipients and others for their partnership.

“The hope is that this also reminds people of the good job we do and the good philanthropic partners we can be,” says Devin Mathias, director of development for the charity, which coordinates the disaster relief grants. disaster and helps guide donors in giving.

Foundations and corporations previously provided the bulk of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy revenue. But last year saw an increase of about 300 percent in individual donors. During Gratitude Week, Mathias aims to show these new donors the difference they have made and inspire them to give GivingTuesday again.

The Mid-Ohio Food Collective, a food bank, has also seen donations skyrocket during the pandemic. But the charity plans to focus on giving thanks rather than appeals on GivingTuesday. Because the event falls after the Hunger Action Month in September and on the cusp of the year-end fundraising campaign, the food bank typically does not join the action on GivingTuesday, said. Matt Habash, general manager of the association. Instead, he’s hosting his own Giving Day on December 15 with a matching challenge. Last year, the one-day campaign raised $ 3.7 million.

Some fundraisers aren’t convinced the dollars earned on GivingTuesday are worth it. Nikkia Johnson, senior development officer at the Legal Aid Justice Center, says small nonprofits in particular are not seeing the benefits. She remembers her disappointment when, in previous fundraising work for a small nonprofit, her meticulously planned GivingTuesday campaign grossed less than $ 5,000.

Rather than following the crowd, charities should analyze whether the donations earned on GivingTuesday are worth the hours they spent planning, says Timothy Winkler, managing director of Winkler Group, a fundraising consultancy. Consultants at the firm are also concerned that the rush of GivingTuesday will encourage fundraisers to focus more on creating an appeal that stands out rather than developing a strategy to retain donors from the day of the donation to the fundraiser. long term.

“Donor retention is one of the most pressing issues facing nonprofits today. The retention rates are just terrible, ”says Jessica Browning, executive vice president of the Winkler Group. “GivingTuesday only exacerbates this problem.”

Johnson, along with the Legal Aid Justice Center, is also concerned that GivingTuesday will instigate a sense of competition, pitting nonprofits against each other. This is a far cry from the values ​​of equity and inclusion that many nonprofits espouse. Instead of asking for contributions, his organization will use GivingTuesday to send emails and post on social media the work of three partner nonprofits.

“We’re really trying to keep it simple,” Johnson says. “This is the first year that we’ve really tried to think about how to be fair and community-centered on GivingTuesday.”

Other nonprofits ask their donors to support other charities. The YMCA of Ann Arbor, for example, will appeal for donations to its YMCA sisters in Haiti, the Philippines and South Dakota.

Over the past decade, GivingTuesday has become the informal kickoff of the year-end fundraising season. This is the case of Unicef ​​USA, which has planned a series of in-person and virtual events across the country to celebrate its 75th anniversary. Events will feature a short film on UNICEF’s work to reduce child poverty and promote children’s health, education and well-being. In-person events in particular attract donors who make large contributions. A single ticket for the virtual event costs $ 200; tickets for an in-person event start at $ 1,500. The association also runs email and social media campaigns to attract a wider audience of donors.

Curran, of GivingTuesday, says the day puts charitable giving first in people’s minds. And while some people complain about the avalanche of calls flooding their inboxes, Curran says the volume is no worse than the ads consumers receive before Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.

Despite the whirlwind of activity, GivingTuesday “still works for individual organizations,” Curran said. “We really urge organizations not to retreat because they think they are going to get lost in the noise,” she said. “It’s a day when people are looking for organizations to support. “

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This article was provided to The Associated Press by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Emily Haynes is a writer for The Chronicle. Email: [email protected] The AP and The Chronicle receive support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. The AP and the Chronicle are solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s philanthropic coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.


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