Is Giving Tuesday dead?

On the very first Giving Tuesday in 2012, our team went all out. We didn’t quite know what we are doing, but we created a command center, borrowed staff from across the organization, and camped out on every single social media platform looking for conversations to join. It was loud and fun and exciting—and it felt like we were onto something special. 

The next year, we went even bigger—our team was in the office at 5:00 a.m. recording personalized thank you videos for every single donor in real time. It was insane. And amazing. And the energy was off the charts. 

Fast forward to this year. When Ian and I met for coffee on Tuesday (on our 12th Giving Tuesday…and our 12th year running GT campaigns for awesome organizations), we looked at each other and said the same thing, “Is Giving Tuesday dead?” 

The short answer is, of course, no. Preliminary data shows that, this year, “donors contributed $3.1 billion to U.S. nonprofits on GivingTuesday, roughly the same amount as last year.” 

Over $3 billion in charitable giving is incredible and absolutely worth celebrating. (And I hope that your organization felt this kind of success this week, too!) 

But there are some alarming stats, as well: 

Basically, Giving Tuesday fundraising is about level with last year—but its coming from 10% fewer people. For a mass giving day, this is a problem. 

The whole point of GT has always been to get a lot of people—and ideally a lot of NEW people—to make a gift. And while big donors giving big gifts is awesome, it’s also dangerous. Data Officer Rosenbaum explained it best: “When we see this increase in the average donation on Giving Tuesday, we see that as a warning sign, not as something that we should be looking for.”

For our team at S+G, the even more alarming trend we’re experiencing is a decrease in energy and creativity around Giving Tuesday. Put simply, the vibes just aren’t there anymore. 

Maybe that’s just us (if you did something awesome and creative for Giving Tuesday, leave a comment and let us know. We would LOVE to be proven wrong!). But we miss the big swings that organizations used to take on GT—nationwide events, huge partnerships, custom landing pages, brand new content. Most of all, we miss how personal and scrappy and up-for-anything the day always felt. 

So where do we go from here? Is the day dead? 

No, of course not. It raises money, it raises awareness, and we are proud to be part of this incredible movement of generosity every year. 

But we do think the door is open for some renewed creativity—whether on Giving Tuesday or somewhere else. We’re taking this week and our ‘meh’ feelings as inspiration to think bigger, go bolder, and swing for the fences. Every movement (Giving Tuesday included!) starts as an idea—and we think we’re ready for some new ones! 

Make the Most of Giving Tuesday

Make the Most of Giving Tuesday

Mark your calendars! Giving Tuesday, a day of global generosity held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, falls on November 30th this year! 

In its first year (2012), organizations collectively raised $10 million on Giving Tuesday—and the day’s impact has only grown since then. Now, it’s a key fundraiser on most nonprofit calendars, extending across social media platforms and into 75 countries. Last year, Giving Tuesday propelled 34.8 million people to donate $2.47 billion to U.S. nonprofits—a 29% increase in donations from 2019!

With over two months to spare, the time to prepare for Giving Tuesday is right now

Whether you’re a Giving Tuesday pro implementing a legacy program, trying to get a budding program off the ground, or looking to reach supporters in a brand new way, now’s the time to get started on a creative, holistic plan!  (Did you know that 82% of nonprofits report using Giving Tuesday to try something new? Even donors themselves use Giving Tuesday to interact with their favorite organizations in unique ways—35% of donors give time or goods in addition to financial support!)

If you’re ready to make this year’s Giving Tuesday the best (and most creative) yet, here are a few helpful tips.

Secure a matching gift for donations on Giving Tuesday

A matching gift is the perfect way to build momentum and interest in your campaign. Research has shown that donors are more likely to give when an organization is able to leverage a matching gift, and one-third of donors make larger gifts with the guarantee of a matching donation.

Usually, the most likely candidates to provide a matching gift are ones that are already close to your organization—so think about asking board members, major donors, or corporate sponsors who are already in your donor file. Who are people in those categories who have not yet made their donation this year? Could this be a unique way to activate them?

Approach the ask with confidence and gratitude. Come to your meeting with potential donors prepared: have a plan to market the match and share exactly what programs their match would support. Remember, a matching donation doubles their gift, too.

Create energy on Giving Tuesday. Use it as a day of celebration and excitement!

The end of the year is an exciting time for many organizations—and Giving Tuesday is no exception! Think of it as a celebration, and use it as a way to build excitement for giving during the remainder of the year. We all want to be part of a celebration, and that sentiment applies to your donors, too. Create a culture of excited giving by planning ahead and tailoring your asks to individual supporters.  

Giving Tuesday sets the tone for the remainder of your year’s giving; do your organization (and your donors!) a favor by entering the season with celebration!

Be ready to thank everyone who gave on Giving Tuesday

The most thoughtful thank yous are the ones you’re ready to make. We all know that thanking our supporters frequently and consistently is important. Gratitude for donors is a key indicator of how likely we are to retain them, and keeping your current donors is far more cost effective than finding new ones. Our tip: prepare your thank yous in advance. That way you can make those acknowledgments as unique as your donors, while ensuring the process is seamless by the time Giving Tuesday comes around. 

Feeling stuck in your typical thank you routine? Freshen up your plan with a few tips from us (think: handwritten notes, magnets, and more!).  

Have a plan to ask for another gift before the year ends

Giving Tuesday is just the beginning of the year’s busiest giving season and it’s in your best interest to view your Giving Tuesday plan holistically. How can this event prepare you for the remainder of your year-end asks? 53.8% of nonprofits begin planning their end-of-year campaigns in October, so make your Giving Tuesday and year-end plans work in tandem. Use this time to add momentum to your year-end campaign. 

(Need a jumpstart on planning your campaign communications? We’ve got you covered!)

Don’t forget: the two biggest giving days of the year fall after Giving Tuesday and 12% of the year’s total giving happens in the final three days of December

Evaluate your Giving Tuesday efforts quickly so that you can gain valuable information for the remainder of your year-end campaign. Did you find any new donors? Notice any unique giving patterns? Discover that one social media platform propelled more gifts than another? Take these insights into the remainder of your year-end campaign, and continue using the communication and marketing strategies that worked!

Your donors want to support your work. Follow the tips above and communicate the things that make your organization vital and unique. Celebrate your mission with your community on November 30th—and beyond! We’ll be cheering you on the whole way.