It’s hard to believe that even though the autumn is just getting started, another holiday season is lurking just around the corner. A season that is fraught with tons of hustle and bustle, minds preoccupied with shopping as well as occasions to connect, share, and spend quality time with our friends and family. However what also comes with the season are opportunities to reflect on the past, dream about the future, and identify what inspires us to give back. In fact, after the Thanksgiving holiday, neatly tucked in right after the big “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” shopping events is an extraordinary day focused on just that – giving back on #GivingTuesday.
Do you know why #GivingTuesday began six years ago? At that time, and still today, the last day of the year was and is the biggest giving day in terms of monetary contributions. The last week of the year is the biggest week, and December the biggest month. In 2012, the 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City focused on bringing people together around the values of giving back, aimed to create a day that could kickoff the season of giving a little bit earlier. As they hoped it would, officially starting the season earlier than December has added to overall giving. In 2017, #GivingTuesday saw $300 million in donations, a 69% increase from the prior year.
So why do we think #GivingTuesday has been such an overwhelming success in the philanthropic world? Mainly because it is a movement, not limited to an organization or a specific set of people. Any individual, organization, or group can take on #GivingTuesday and make it what they want it to be. That could mean spreading awareness of a certain cause, raising funds for a specific organization, organizing a volunteering event, or just contributing to the heightened conversation around giving on this day. In turn, because it is a movement, success is mainly measured by social media reach and online giving on that day, since the event is primarily driven by galvanizing our personal and professional connections.
Many companies will join the conversation on November 27, 2018, as well. It can be an opportunity to publicly take a stand, support a cause partner, or engage employees with volunteer or matching program initiatives. A successful CSR program engages the workforce, engages the community, and changes the culture both within and outside of our organizations and I have been a strong believer that “inspiration” lies at the heart of successful corporate giving and engagement programs. And to that end, #GivingTuesday is the perfect movement to inspire others or seek inspiration yourself.
So what immediate next steps can you take to join and participate in the movement? Use #GivingTuesday to inspire your employees to get involved with a cause they care about, and at the same time learn what is important to them and use that data to guide future efforts. Or, use your social media channels to align with a cause that resonates with your consumers, and perhaps inspire them to take action. Finally, #GivingTuesday can be an excellent time to gain new executive buy-in, or strengthen existing relationships. Their participation in such a widely-viewed event can hearten others in the workforce to get involved.
Interested in learning more about #GivingTuesday, and how you can set your organization up for success this November? Check out this webinar with myself and Rachel Hutchisson, VP of Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy at Blackbaud.