This year #GivingTuesday is on November 28th. For those of you unfamiliar with this global movement, it is one of the most important days for non profits to solicit funds, raise their profiles and highlight their important work. #GivingTuesday has been gaining momentum since it started in Canada five years ago. There are a host of tools and resources available to non profits to rally their supporters and benefit their organizations.#GivingTuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is considered the opening day of the giving season. It’s a time when Canadians can join together to share commitments, support their favourite causes and think about others, all in celebration of giving. There is no “right” way to participate as long as it supports generosity and giving.
Why We Give (and why we don’t)
Researchers suggest we’re hardwired to give, that it played a role in human evolution. Also, it feels good. Neuroscientists have found that dopamine and oxytocin are released in our brains when we give. It has been said, giving is like eating fudge or getting laid. It makes us want to do it again. Not only does it feel good, but it promotes social bonding, trust and cooperation. Another study points to giving support as being just as important to our wellbeing as receiving support. The idea being, when we give support we are in control, and can therefore choose to engage in this behaviour in order to relieve stress.
So, what stops us from giving until it hurts? From a neurological perspective, it’s the brain’s frontal lobes and the medial forebrain bundle. The frontal lobes are responsible for reasoning and seeing the big picture. The medial forebrain bundle contains punishing or self-chastising mechanisms: anyone familiar with the saying, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”?
Current Trends in Charitable Giving
An online article published by Charity Village in May, 2017, provides information on trends affecting Canadian charities. Here are a few showing how “the head can overrule the heart” when it comes to giving.
- Market research commissioned by Imagine Canada showed the top considerations of 86% of Canadians when it came to giving, were transparency and a well-managed organization.
- Donors like options when it comes to giving. Easy online giving, such as the addition of a PayPal button to a website can boost donations substantially.
- Giving is no longer restricted to cheques and tax receipts, with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer funding gaining momentum. However, social media based fundraising appear to be more efficient in engaging people than securing long-term acts of giving.
- Data collected by the AFT Foundation for Philanthropy Canada suggests fewer donors are giving more, donors who aren’t giving cite financial instability as the reason, and Canadians with above average incomes don’t feel they are in a position to give back—if they do, it’s to a cause related to their family.
How to Make #GivingTuesday Work for Your Non Profit
One can’t ignore science, nor the changing nature of charitable giving, but remember people want to give—it feels good. Use available data to position your non profit for success. Then use the tremendous resources provided by #GivingTuesdayCa to help your non profit and your community soar.
Because #GivingTuesday will be widely promoted in the media and by Canadian celebrities, leverage it to achieve your non profit’s objectives and participate in any way that benefits your organization, from launching a thank-you campaign to finding a corporate matching partner, and anything in between. Your loyal supporters will be looking for ways to help and promote your cause. Demonstrate your commitment to both the local community and to Canada’s philanthropic agenda on #GivingTuesday.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3
- Set a Goal
- Acquire 100 new donors
- Convert 50 current donors to monthly giving
- Raise $10,000 for a new program or service
- Recruit 10 new volunteers for a specific need or task
- Raise profile by acquiring 100 new social media followers
PRO TIP: Organizations that set a specific, tangible, measurable goal are more successful on #GivingTuesday.
- Plan a Campaign
- Find a corporate matching partner
- Kick off your yearend campaign
- Organize a volunteer event
- Create a thankyou campaign
- Launch an #UNSELFIE contest on social media
- Some of the best #GivingTuesday campaigns are not limited to a day—many last for a week or a month.
- Get Campaign Ideas
- Get the #UNselfie Toolkit
PRO TIP: A tangible activity or campaign is far more effective than asking for donations “because it’s #GivingTuesday”
- Make Some Noise
- Communicate your #GivingTuesday activities to the community!
- Use social media, phone, email, the news media etc.
- Build the anticipation starting a few weeks before #GivingTuesday and use multiple channels to maximize your reach.
- Join the #GivingTuesdayCa conversation and spread your news using #GivingTuesdayFor GivingTuesday news and ideas, follow @GivingTuesdayCa and the GivingTuesday Facebook Page
DID YOU KNOW? In 2016 an estimated 6.7 million Canadians did something to support their favourite causes for #GivingTuesday!
Here’s some resources to inspire you:
#GivingTuesday Webinar – Donor Engagement Essentials
All the best for your success this #GivingTuesday!
About this article’s author:
A graduate of MacEwan’s Applied Research Program, Laverne McAthey is a technical writer, information officer, communications planner and coordinator who has worked primarily in the public and non profit sectors throughout her career. Her passion is in finding the right words to motivate people toward making positive change. Interested in contracting her services to find the right words to motivate your audiences to make positive change for your organization? Connect with her at: email@example.com.