Giving Tuesday reality check: is it smart fundraising?

Giving Tuesday in 2014: Up 63% over 2013! An amazing grand total of $45.7 million! Where’s the champagne?

The next Giving Tuesday is a long way off: December 1. But it’s not too early to take a closer look at it, as The Agitator did at Why Should I Care?

Why should you care? As The Agitator points out, charitable giving from individuals last year was around $241 billion. That’s $660 million per day on average. So the $45.7 million attributed to Giving Tuesday? Not quite so impressive. It’s about 7% of the giving of one average day.

The hype fades to insignificance compared to the ongoing generosity of donors who don’t need a new holiday to stimulate their giving.

Does that mean you should kick Giving Tuesday to the curb?

Possibly. But probably not.

My clients that did Giving Tuesday campaigns experienced above-average results. Not bad at all. Of course, most campaigns in the last six weeks of the year are better than average. (Except for the last few days of the year, which for most organizations are by far the best of the year.)

If a made-up event of a day gets people to give who otherwise might not have, I’m all for it. The question we should ask is, could we do better on Giving Tuesday without Giving Tuesday?

I urge you to test next Giving Tuesday, two different campaign propositions:

Give today because Giving Tuesday is a great day to give!

VS

Give today to [support your typical fundraising cause]!

I suspect that results will vary. Some organizations will find Giving Tuesday is indeed a big winner that motivates a lot of giving. Others won’t.

Do the smart thing. Do what works.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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