What Does Giving Tuesday Mean to You?
Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States. It is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. This year, Thanksgiving was on Nov. 28. The day after Thanksgiving, we experience Black Friday, which is noted for being the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Then we have Small Business Saturday, which encourages folks to support small businesses as they shop for the holidays.
We take a breath for a day and then have Cyber Monday today. On this grand occasion, the Internet is the place to go for more sales. Now, following Cyber Monday we have #GivingTuesday. If you have any money left, you're encouraged to give on this date.
That's a lot of financial transactions in a short time frame!
I'm certainly in favor of promoting #GivingTuesday, which is a national movement during the holidays dedicated to people thinking about giving more and giving smarter. It's a celebration of the spirit of generosity through charitable contributions and volunteerism. This reminds me of my first Salvation Army Christmas season last year as executive director of development.
Each year, The Salvation Army's intense Christmas season fundraising during November and December builds to a frenzy that has its climax on Christmas Eve. We almost reached our Christmas goal last year, and I could see the disappointment in my staff. I told the team that while we have a Christmas goal, it is only a percentage of our fiscal-year financial goal. We worked hard for nine more months to achieve our total annual goal, as our fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
So, having watched this last year, I kept thinking that while giving and the spirit of philanthropy are especially emphasized for the holiday period for many organizations, all of us should promote philanthropy throughout the year. It is an important marathon and not a sprint. We should also promote the joy of volunteerism in the same breath as fundraising. Both are important to your bottom line.
The beauty of the upcoming holidays should never be about what new material item we can acquire and eventually throw away. It should be about your personal joy of giving to others. We should give thanks for what we have and dedicate ourselves to being better stewards of our resources. Do we really need a special day or season as a reason to promote philanthropy? Let's use Giving Tuesdays during the holidays as a catalyst to educate others on the importance that giving time, talent and treasure has on improving the lives of others throughout the year.
I hope you enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving, and as you experience the upcoming "branded" days, think about what #GivingTuesday means to you and share this feeling with everyone you meet!
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.