Gearing up for #GivingTuesday – a global movement that can make a difference locally
Guest Blog by United Way of Southeastern Connecticut
We all know of Black Friday. Then along came Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Then, in 2012, #GivingTuesday was born as a way to celebrate giving back on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It has become the biggest giving day of the year and is recognized across the globe. This year, it occurs on December 1, 2020.
Now more than ever during these unprecedented times, #GivingTuesday can be a tremendous opportunity to bring people together to support our local non-profit organizations. It can be a time to connect and to heal.
Support from the community has been tremendous during the last several months and #GivingTuesday is a key day to ask directly for help accomplishing your mission. Last year total donations during #GivingTuesday were estimated at $1.97 billion across the globe. Online donations alone accounted for an estimated $511 million. This day can be used to engage people not only with monetary donations but also connecting volunteers, building awareness around our work or even spreading smiles during a time when we could all use an uplifting message.
#GivingTuesday can be a virtual rally cry for all that our non-profits are doing all year long to support so many different needs in our community. With everyone coming together on this one day, it’s like a socially-distanced community hug to let others know you care and that we are in this together. And while it has become a truly global movement to do good, it’s an ideal time to look to our neighbors in need, right here in Southeastern Connecticut.
As a nonprofit organization, we have the opportunity to spread the word about our important work to improve community conditions and help those in need. As we are starting to prepare for the year-end giving season, it’s never too early to start planning activities for #GivingTuesday. It’s only a few weeks away but don’t worry, there is still time to harness the power of the day. The content you create for #GivingTuesday can be used throughout the months of November and December. You can create a consistent and powerful message to cut through the noise during this exceptionally busy time of year.
Here are some ideas and resources to get you started:
- While the pandemic has made it challenging to hold in-person events, the “new world” in which we live has created virtual tools that most of are now comfortable using. Start hyping it up weeks in advance with social media posts and emails. Most channels have scheduling capabilities, so you can do this in advance. Don’t be afraid of multiple posts and multiple asks to be sure people are aware and have lots of chances to find ways to give. You can fundraise on both Facebook and Instagram, and there is a terrific Giving Playbook to use as a guide
- Host a virtual rally with a guest speaker who can get people excited. Ask your stakeholders to take an #UNselfie and either send them to you or even better, post on their personal social media platforms leading up to the day. Take short videos touring your agency and/or testimonials from clients and volunteers.
- You will find helpful logos and social media images here to begin posting about the day.
- Set a goal for your #GivingTuesday, whether it’s dollars or volunteer hours raised, or people engaged through social media. Get everyone on your staff involved so they know what you’re shooting for. Involve your volunteers including Board of Directors and affinity groups, as well as those in your sphere who are key influencers. These are your cause’s champions, and there’s no better time than #GivingTuesday to involve them.
- Beyond donations, whatever you are asking supporters to do or commit to doing for your cause, request they post on their own social media platforms and tag/mention your social media channels so that you can follow them and be sure to share, retweet, etc. Don’t assume people know your handles – make it well known what they are so you can track what’s happening.
- You will find a plethora of other great ideas on the #GivingTuesday website, including a social media toolkit and key messages.
- If you have not yet set up Google Ad Grants for your nonprofit, there’s no better time than now. The program offers free search advertising to nonprofits to raise awareness for your mission, drive donations, and recruit volunteers. Even if you are not approved in time for #GivingTuesday, this is still a great program to be part of. Learn more at: google.com/grants.
- What to do after #GivingTuesday? Most importantly is to THANK your donors and community for their support. Report the results and how they will make a difference.
At United Way, we’ll post a series of items on social media leading up to #GivingTuesday encouraging donations through our website (www.uwsect.org/give) and through our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/unitedwaysect/). You can certainly solicit donations on that day, but don’t dissuade contributions right now. We always remind potential donors of what their gift can accomplish – that it remains local and helps a network of people and nonprofits in their community of Southeastern Connecticut. One gift can accomplish so much good!
For individuals wishing to make an impact leading up to and on #GivingTuesday, there are many ways to help:
- Run a food, toiletries, winter coat, hat, or mitten drive. The Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center is able to accept these items and ensure they’re distributed locally to agencies in New London County in need. To maintain social distancing, consider setting up and promoting a virtual drive like we have done here
- Anyone can create their own personal Fundraiser on Facebook to benefit a nonprofit you’re passionate about. They have an easy tool to do so.
- Check in on your neighbors who may require assistance and challenge others to do the same.
- Take an #UNselfie and share what your care about and why you give.
No matter how you decide to engage on #GivingTuesday you can make a difference. Currently nearly 15% of people in New London County are unemployed, with more than 10% of our county losing their job since January. According to the latest ALICE Report Update, 40% of household struggle to make ends meet and cannot cover the cost of living (with 10% of households in poverty and 30% being ALICE households). With everything going on in the world today, especially the needs right here in Southeastern CT, each of us can do something that matters, and it all adds up to create a much bigger impact. #GivingTuesday is the vehicle through which we can all do that something.
Tomorrow is on the horizon, full of questions and unknowns. It is up to us how we answer. Starting today we can respond with hope, with possibility, with action. We can speak up, raise our hands, give back. Starting today we can respond, recover, and reimagine our communities so they are better, more equitable, more resilient. And we can reimagine a tomorrow that is better than yesterday. But a new tomorrow can’t be reached alone. To get there, starting today we must LIVE UNITED.