Nonprofits, is #GivingTuesday Where to Spend your Time?

Oct 20, 2021Donors, Fundraising, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Productivity, Time Management

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Do you feel guilty not participating in #GivingTuesday?

When I met Jenny at a local coffee shop, she was frazzled. 

As a very successful development director in her mid-career, Jenny is passionate about changing lives and even more passionate about leading her team.

We chatted for over an hour about various fundraising topics.

But one comment she made stuck with me.

“We may not put a lot of energy into #GivingTuesday this year.

In fact, we may not participate at all,” she said.

“Maybe instead we establish a day in January when our nonprofit is celebrated nationally. This would allow for better messaging and be a better use of our time,” she said.

She had a look of exasperation.

It’s OK not participating in #GivingTuesday

Jenny had been meeting with her team to discuss upcoming #GivingTuesday. Obviously, there was much debate. Her concern was their nonprofit would be competing with a lot of noise on #GivingTuesday.  Would they be heard?  Do they have the bandwidth right now to be effective?  How big is the benefit? Better yet, why not bring attention to their impact at a different time of year when there is less online activity.  To start, Jenny’s team is a small staff with a small budget.   As a small nonprofit, what should YOU be focused on this time of year? It is up to you to decide if participating in #GivingTuesday offers the rewards and benefits for your nonprofit.

How to Spend Your Time Right Now

Either way, there’s one thing for sure . . .  Here are ways to effectively spend your time right now before Thanksgiving:

#1 Identify your Top 10% of Current Donors

Either send a card to each donor with a personalized, hand-written “thanks for giving” message. Or rather, pick up the phone and call your top donors. Let them know how much you appreciate them. If you get on phone calls with your donors, discover why they continue to give . . . if you don’t already know!  Ask them what about your organization ignites their passion and draws them in.  No doubt, your supporters are your nonprofit’s most valued friends. Consider blocking off one-hour segments for several days to send heart-felt messages or make calls.  Above all, let your top donors know they have been a part of something big and you are grateful for their support. 

#2 Ensure 100% board giving

Make sure all of your board members have given or have plans to financially support “their” nonprofit by the end of the year.  Certainly, let your board members know how important it is to have 100% board giving.  The amount is not the central focus — the fact they gave is what’s key.  Most important, board members cannot expect others to give if they are not supporting the mission. 

Don’t feel guilty not participating in #GivingTuesday.

Clearly, fundraising is about relationships. And relationships require nurturing.  Don’t feel guilty for not participating in #GivingTuesday.  Instead, focus on what is critical right now. And I believe that is showing gratitude to your donors.  This is the one area I see most nonprofits falling short. Remember, appreciated donors will continue to give and give more.

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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