I know what I want to do about Giving Tuesday, do you?

I hope you had a good Giving Tuesday last week.

If you did, you’re in good company.

Blackbaud reports that among their large client base, Giving Tuesday giving was up 28% over last year — after double-digit increases every year since the first one in 2012. Other measures show similar big growth.

Some, most notably The Agitator, are skeptical of this new holiday, saying it’s a distraction from real fundraising. I largely agree with the A-guys. I think it’s a fad that will run its course and fizzle out. (Of course, I’ve been saying that for four years now … when will the donors get on my bandwagon?)

There are a number of criticisms of Giving Tuesday fundraising, but two of the main ones are:

  1. The “Way too much” factor. My inbox on Tuesday (and the days before) was positively inundated with Giving Tuesday emails. I couldn’t help but think, this is ridiculous — not sustainable — donors are going to ignore us in pure self-defense! Then I remembered something about normal people — that is, almost all donors: They don’t subscribe to every nonprofit mailing list they find, the way you and I do. They’re probably getting two or three of these messages. Not the flood I’m looking at.
  2. The sameness factor. As often happens, “best practices” — that is, approaches that work — spread around the industry. So a lot of those Giving Tuesday emails have similar subject lines (“It’s Giving Tuesday – help the children!”) and similar offers (Matching grants). But that’s not as visible to donors who aren’t looking at an inbox with 50 or 60 Giving Tuesday messages. To them, it’s apparently still feel fresh and interesting.

My observation of where we stand with Giving Tuesday:

  • Looked at as an email campaign, it ranges from above-average to fantastic. Email is a tough medium to succeed in; I would not turn up my nose at an opportunity like that! I will keep advising everyone who asks me to participate in Giving Tuesday until the bubble actually bursts!
  • Maybe Giving Tuesday should inform us on how we should handle more of our online fundraising: Get excited about it. Treat it like a big deal. Send multiple impacts.

Meanwhile, I’m standing by with my friends at The Agitator, getting ready to say Told you so! when the Giving Tuesday bubble pops.

We might be waiting for a long time!

Want help reaching your donors — online or off, made-up holiday or not? Take my 4-session Moceanic masterclass, Irresistible Communications for Great Nonprofits. Register now. You can take the course on your own time, at your own pace.


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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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About the blogger

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.