Is #GivingTuesday Really Successful? (Don't Hate Me for Asking!)
Let me start by saying that I really do not want a bunch of hate mail for asking this question. Obviously, we have been hearing a lot about #GivingTuesday lately. Here's what I've heard from the various blogs and from the #GivingTuesday website:
- In 2012, there were more than 2,500 recognized #GivingTuesdayTM partners from all 50 states.
- The collective efforts of partners, donors and advocates helped fuel a marked increase in charitable giving on #GivingTuesday.
- Blackbaud processed more than $10 million in online donations on Nov. 27, 2012 — a 53 percent increase when compared to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving the previous year.
- DonorPerfect recorded a 46 percent increase in online donations, and the average gift increased 25 percent.
- More than 50 million people worldwide spread the word about #GivingTuesday, resulting in milestone trending on Twitter.
- For this year, so far there are more than 3,500 partners across all 50 states, with an average of an additional 50 organizations signing up daily.
So, here's what's bothering me — I want to understand how this fits into a nonprofit's fundraising plan and strategy. I have a lot of questions and would love to know if people already have some answers.
- I know that gifts are always welcome — but are these one-time gifts and not really "donors" to the organization? Are these going to be like some of the disaster-based donors who give as an emotional, one-time response and who are connecting with the event/disaster but not really with the organization?
- Are nonprofits tracking the donors who give on this particular day to understand if they are already donors? If they aren't donors already, are they similar to the organizations' current donors or is this a different type of donor? And, you know where I'm going next — if they are a different type of donor, is the nonprofit setting up a special strategy for this group? Again, I'm not trying to be difficult, but I worry about the situations where we try new things (and this is on a broad scale) but there is no plan once we get all these donors.
- The holiday season is a huge giving period for nonprofits already. Are these additional funds — or is it that our expected donors will now give on one day instead of over a six- to eight-week period? This is more of a timing question than a giving question in my eyes. I really don't believe that current donors who are giving on this Tuesday are adding a gift to their typical holiday giving. So what does this mean for the communication plan for the rest of the year? Also, from a long-term perspective, does this mean that organizations should be doing a lot of marketing in preparation for #GivingTuesday? In other words, does this change the communication plan, and should organizations start to place heavier emphasis in October to build the story and the need?
- Is this about raising awareness — which I love — and really shouldn't be looked at as a fundraising campaign? Yes, money comes in, but is it about getting more people to understand the importance of the nonprofit community and the giving that is needed around the world? If so, I will return to some earlier questions: Should we be tracking the impact of this outside of just the money? Most organizations do awareness studies with their donors and the general public on a regular basis. Should we be asking if #GivingTuesday is changing how they are thinking about giving?
- Are we late to the party? So, for years we have had Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Well, guess what? Every time I open my e-mail and look at my commercial-based blogs, they are all talking about the fact that retail is blurring the lines and we may soon not have a Black Friday or a Cyber Monday. Let's face it, stores are now opening on Thanksgiving, which means for sure they are pre-empting the Friday part of Black Friday. So, should we be trying to get a "day"? Also, I live in Georgia and guess what was just splashed all over the TV, papers and Internet (including Facebook)? GeorgiaGivesDay. And guess what else? It was Nov. 13, not the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
By now, you all know that I'm really a nerd and love the science behind fundraising and strategies. So you know it's not a surprise that I'm thinking about this. But I feel like we all should be thinking about this.
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.