Thanksgiving begins the holiday season for Americans. It is a time of year when people feel generous and want to share their good fortune with those in need. Once Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are over, enter #GivingTuesday.
What is #GivingTuesday? “#GivingTuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.”
Based on data from Blackbaud, Network for Good and Donor Perfect, overall online giving was up more than 50% on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2012 compared to the same Tuesday the previous year, before #GivingTuesday was created. This year more than 7000 partners are taking part in the campaign.
What can you do to take advantage of #GivingTuesday?
Anybody can participate in #GivingTuesday, businesses and individuals, faith-based organizations and of course non-profits. This means that anyone who is already supporting your cause offline can now also comfortably support you through their own social media channels.
You don’t have to be an official partner to participate, but an official partner should have a clearly defined initiative and might be highlighted on GivingTuesday’s website. Donations are not made through #GivingTuesday and the partners are responsible for their own initiatives. Donations don’t necessarily need to be monetary either – the GivingTuesday website offers lots of ideas on how to participate.
Here are a few examples of #GivingTuesday initiatives:
• VolunteerMatch is taking the opportunity to ask even more people to donate time to various organizations
• Blackbaud is asking non-profits to share what they did at last year’s event to increase donations
• The Home Depot Foundation will donate $1 to Operation Homefront for every tweet that uses #TeamDepot, up to $100,000
• Doctors w/o Borders is asking for people to send a message of support to MSF staff in places such as the Central African Republic
Search Twitter for #GivingTuesday to see more initiatives:
#GivingTuesday and social media
Twitter is the primary social media network for #GivingTuesday and supporters are encouraged to use the #GivingTuesday hashtag as often as possible.
In fact, the hashtag #GivingTuesday was so popular last year that it trended worldwide!
A small or new nonprofit organization may feel a bit intimidated, but will find plenty of help with its own campaign. Online fundraising sites like Razoo will help an organization get started on the #GivingTuesday fundraising path.
Will #GivingTuesday really help increase donations?
#GivingTuesday raised more than $10 million (over 50% more than the previous year) in its first effort last year and the project has gained considerable support. Even the White House promotes #GivingTuesday on its site. The resourcefulness that was unleashed by #Giving Tuesday was remarkable in its first effort, and will no doubt generate more innovative means of getting people involved as time goes by.
#GivingTuesday is an excellent way to use social media for the common good, and as the movement progresses, it is a transforming phenomenon that causes non-profits to become more creative with using social media. Traditional means of fundraising and generating support always have their place, but programs such as #GivingTuesday gives nonprofit organizations the opportunity to branch out with their awareness and fundraising efforts and take full advantage of social media.
Note: This year #GivingTuesday will also be started in Canada – visit their site at GivingTuesday.ca.
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