Giving Tuesday: I’ve Changed My Mind
I think I ruffled some feathers last year with my post about Giving Tuesday, "Is Giving Tuesday Really Successful? (Don't Hate Me For Asking!)."
This year I've changed my mind but perhaps not in the way you might imagine. There are certainly good stats on the last few years. Thanks to the folks over at MobileCause and their Giving Tuesday Infographic, we know the numbers obviously were better in 2013 than in 2012.
In 2012 Giving Tuesday raised $10 million with an average donation size of $101; in 2013 Giving Tuesday raised $19 million with an average donation size of $142. Clearly if the goal was to raise more money, it worked. I still have all the same questions about the type of donors that are being raised — do they retain, are they mission-specific, etc.? But I've changed my mind about one thing. I'm not sure it really matters that I have questions about the money and the donors.
With all the nonprofits in the U.S., raising $19 million seems small, but in my opinion the benefit is what is happening on that day around the dinner tables and in personal conversations. Our goal as an industry should be to continue to push the conversation to a broader level. I think we all saw the power of social media earlier this year with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Whether people actually donated every time they talked about it on social media or not, the fact that it was dominating the social conversation for a few weeks was the benefit. Social media and all digital channels should be leveraged to raise awareness of the continued need for giving to all generations around Giving Tuesday.
I'm not going to give away all the thoughts in the great MobileCause infographic, but it also provides eight ideas for how NPOs can strengthen fundraising on Giving Tuesday. The key here seems to be to raise awareness and money. In other words, ask your donors to also do things that are not just giving a credit card or writing a check. Ask them to talk to their friends and post photos of themselves and how they are getting involved in Giving Tuesday.
Remember, "giving" can also mean giving your time, or accessing your personal and social networks to get involved in something that is important to you, etc.
When all the money is counted for 2014, will it be fantastic if we have another 40 percent increase in revenue from last year? Yes!!!! But, perhaps the other metrics we need to be tracking to define success are around nonfinancial impact. How many tweets? How many photos associated with #GivingTuesday, etc.? As the infographic states, these numbers are small right now, but any growth means the message is getting out broader and broader.
While the data nerd in me really wants to know how many new donors are generated to a charity because of Giving Tuesday and how they retain, I've decided to not worry about that anymore and watch how the buzz continues to grow each year. Of course, now the goal is to measure all the buzz ... stay tuned!
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.