By: NobleHour Special Contributor Latasha Doyle
After Thanksgiving, many people stop by their favorite store to take advantage of Black Friday or Small Business Saturday deals, and millions of dollars are spent online on Cyber Monday. But Giving Tuesday, a day where charitable donations take precedence over retail sales, is fast becoming a staple of the holiday spending season.
Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 28, 2017). This day-long event was created in 2012 by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y to ride the momentum of the “Giving Season” by using the power of social media to encourage donations. In the past five years, the event has generated millions of dollars for thousands of causes and charitable organizations all around the world.
Giving Tuesday by the Numbers
In 2016, Giving Tuesday broke records. Together, consumers and organizations:
Donated over $168 million
Averaged about $100 per donation
Made over 1.6 million donations to charities across 88 countries
Broke the record for number of donations in a day for many charities
To put this into perspective, Americans donated about $390 billion over the course of 2016, with 33% of those donations coming between November 1 and December 31. Giving Tuesday is a huge part of the “Giving Season” and these numbers are only expected to rise in 2017.
The hashtag #GivingTuesday has skyrocketed in popularity on social media, and online giving continues to increase as more consumers use social media and mobile devices to donate. And, as more consumers engage in Giving Tuesday, businesses and organizations of all kinds are starting to pay more attention.
Corporate Philanthropy and Changing Expectations
This year, small and large-scale businesses, corporations, and even higher education institutions are placing more emphasis on events like Giving Tuesday. As the tide of consumer preferences lean towards philanthropy and social awareness, many companies are trying to find ways to highlight their social responsibility and awareness.
According to recent surveys:
90% of consumers say they’ll remain loyal to a business that promotes social causes / tries to make a difference
94% of consumers would switch brands or companies to support a cause
81% of Millennial consumers expect businesses to publicly support causes that reflect their corporate “citizenship”
76% of consumers would support a charity through a trusted company
Giving Tuesday and the general theme of the holidays give many organizations and institutions the ability to highlight their personalities, their people, and the causes they support. All of this translates to a stronger audience, but it’s important to toe the line between “bandwagon campaigns” and genuine giving.
If you’re wondering how to genuinely involve yourself or your organization in Giving Tuesday, we have a few ideas for you.
How to Get Involved in Giving Tuesday
If you’re a business owner or are interested in building up a Giving Tuesday campaign with your organization, there are a handful of ways to get started.
1. Sign Up with the Giving Tuesday Foundation
Whether you’re a business or an individual, the organizers of Giving Tuesday have created a full suite of resources to help you get started. For businesses, the Foundation offers a signup form that guides you through the formal process of listing yourself as a #GivingTuesday affiliated organization. They also have entire handouts with lists of great ideas for your campaign, like:
Matching a set amount of customer donations on the holiday
Sending a specific percent of the day’s profits to a charity
Gifting material goods from your store to people in need
Asking for donations during checkout (via donation box or with an affiliate donation program)
Not only do these ideas (The Foundation has many more!) highlight your company’s philanthropy and social awareness, but they also encourage your audience or customers to donate on Giving Tuesday.
2. Get Your Employees in on the Fun.
Not sure you’re ready to match donations or start a consumer campaign for #GivingTuesday? You can start by simply making it an office event, involving everyone from the sales team to the maintenance staff. To kickstart a new holiday tradition in your office, you can:
Take a vote on which charitable organization(s) your employees want to support
Set a goal for total money donated by Giving Tuesday
Donate to an organization in the name of each employee
Put out a donation jar or box in advance and donate the final amount on Giving Tuesday
Create teams to see who can raise the most money before Giving Tuesday (make sure to have a fun reward for the winning team!)
Building a corporate culture of giving is a great way to support causes near and dear to your employees’ hearts - and it’s a great way to engage your employees and increase your retention rates!
3. Embrace social media.
Because #GivingTuesday has its strongest roots in social media, developing a unique campaign is a great way to attract donations -- and cultivate a loyal audience. Most charities and nonprofits who enroll with the Giving Tuesday Foundation use the hashtag to increase visibility and awareness. They also create specific social media posts, images, and content to make donations even more appealing to their audiences.
If you want to keep your Giving Tuesday social media efforts simple, all you have to do is share or retweet your favorite charities’ posts!
If you’re part of a college or university and wondering how to encourage donations, the Giving Tuesday Foundation has plenty of higher education campaign ideas. Of course, you can always share stories or images on social media to encourage alumni and their families to donate like Randolph College below.
Finally, if you want to create an actual Giving Tuesday campaign connected to sales or customer donations, social media is a necessity. Make sure to start posting during the month of November to gain a bit of traction, and include a series of stories, images, or even blog posts that highlight what your organization is doing to raise money for a beloved charity or group.
Another simple but highly effective way to attract donations for a cause is to provide a dollar donation for each share or retweet. (Just make sure your organization sets a limit like Macy’s did or you could owe some big bucks!)
Other genuine ways to share your organization’s giving spirit on social media include:
Posting information about the organizations/charities your organization is supporting
Explaining how your #GivingTuesday campaign will work (i.e. “5% of proceeds on #GivingTuesday will go to ___ charity”)
Posting a “Thank You” to everyone who donated after the holiday has passed
Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. No matter what form your giving campaign takes, social media makes it easy to let people know about it. The more creative you get, the more genuine your campaign feels, so give it a little thought!
Embracing the “Season of Giving”
Whether you’re part of a small business, a university or a global corporation, the Season of Giving is a great time to get involved. The size of your platform or bottom line doesn't matter; thanks to the increasing reach of #GivingTuesday - and the increasing popularity of online donations - anybody can raise money for a good cause. And while many businesses are realizing that corporate philanthropy is attracting customers more than ever before, it’s important to note that consumers are also becoming more savvy.
Social awareness, corporate philanthropy, and transparency in how businesses source and make their products are all becoming gauges by which consumers make decisions. If you decide to engage in Giving Tuesday, make sure that your heart is in the right place. Genuinely support a great cause; it’s not just good business, it’s just good!
Do you want to give your time in addition to donating funds? Not sure where to start? Sign up for your free NobleHour account today to find meaningful opportunities near you!
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
Latasha Doyle is a writer and long term care volunteer living outside of Denver, Colorado. When she's not writing or volunteering, she enjoys crocheting, Netflix marathons, and planning her next trip.