Participating in GivingTuesday… or Not?

Nov 1, 2019Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

Participate-in-GivingTuesday-or-Not Leadership Nonprofits Philanthropy

Are you participating in GivingTuesday this year? Are you still contemplating what that looks like?

GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and refers to the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.). The day celebrates and promotes giving through social media during the most charitable time of year – the end of the year.

Certainly, there are pros and cons to participating in GivingTuesday. I hear success stories and “it's not worth the effort” stories.

Hence, know the pros and cons of participating in GivingTuesday. It helps you decide whether your organization will spend time planning and participating. Here are the considerations:


The Advantages of Participating in GivingTuesday:

  • Unquestionably, GivingTuesday is an excellent opportunity for public relations. It’s an opportunity to go live on social media and tell your story of impact. Interview a beneficiary, donor, board member, or a program chair. One of the best ways to tell your stories of making a difference is to interview someone who benefitting from your program. Or interview a donor, a board member, or a chair of one of your most successful programs.


  • Notably, GivingTuesday is a perfect time to engage your volunteer base. If you have a super active and loyal volunteer base, consider getting your volunteer leadership to plan an email campaign. Peer-to-peer giving is highly successful when you get your volunteers involved. Have them set up fundraisers on Facebook and encourage them to reach specific goals. Provide your volunteers with content to post on social media.
  • Facebook allows you to download reports of the names of donors, amount donated, and what program was supported.  Occasionally, the donor provides an email address. More about this below.
  • Use GivingTuesday for your board/volunteers to call donors and say, “thank you.” Say, “Today is Giving Tuesday, and instead of asking you to give, we’re giving you a thank-you call because you’ve made a huge difference in our organization this year. Thank you for your loyal support” Often donors make additional gifts on this day.
  • Use GivingTuesday to kick-off your year-end appeal. Our charitable giving season is in full swing in December.

The Downside of Participating in GivingTuesday:

  • In contrast, Facebook makes organizations feel like they’re missing out on a fundraising opportunity. If you don’t participate, no worries. Focus your attention elsewhere and on areas that you know yield greater results.
  • In fact, don’t get your hopes up for the Facebook matching funds. In 2018, the match was met within a few seconds.
  • The Facebook donor may be donating because they’re friends of the volunteer, a family member, or honoring someone, for example. If so, they are not likely a sustained donor. They are not likely someone moved by the mission or wants more information.
  • Unfortunately, Facebook does not provide contact information for donors.  If you don’t have the donor contact information, you have little opportunity to steward or cultivate the donor. However, volunteers could contact donors on Facebook through messenger to ask for an email.
  • Consequently, there is too much competition for the dollar, and your story gets lost on this one day.



To conclude, if you are a small or mid-sized organization, you likely don’t have bukoodles of time or an army to run the GivingTuesday campaign. Ask yourself, “Do we have the time to participate in GivingTuesday, can we keep it simple, and do we have a good volunteer base to help?” If you answered yes to all three questions, then get your plan in place and execute it!

If you decide not to participate, don’t feel guilty! Here is where to focus your attention during this time of the year.

Question: If participating in GivingTuesday is right for your organization, how will you ensure that GivingTuesday will succeed?

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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