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Not to send out a fundraising letter when what they really need is a donor cultivation program involving meetings, phone calls, and in person asks. Both can be effective. But we need to watch ROI very, very closely.

One major concern I have with GivingTuesday is that it encourages spot giving. I know you are saying that it can be a focal point for year end giving, but to me, and I suspect to many donors, it feels gimmicky and a poor substitute for a real year-end giving strategy.

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Remember that the average non-profit is small, underfunded, understaffed, and needs to be a good steward of time and resources for donors and clients alike. Thanks for your comments. I understand and appreciate your points. And there may be organizations, like yours, that do have the resources in place to really effectively use GivingTuesday. That being said, I would suggest that the average non-profit brings on no new staff for the end of year fundraising rush, and reserves any extra money for a mailing.

Your point about needing to remind donors that NTEN is a non-profit that needs to raise money, and the fact that tying that message in to a national event like GivingTuesday helps spread that message is well taken! Thanks for your thoughts. I also appreciate your points on my 4 reasons. I would posit, however, that there is a difference between telling non-profits to run a multichannel year end campaign over the course of weeks and telling them to blast as much as they can out in 1 day.

Please know that I am not completely discounting social media for non-profits heck, one of the courses we offered this year on our site was called, Social Media for Non-Profits. I completely agree with you when you say:. But it is far from a primary source of revenue for most organizations. Great conversation, and I have utmost respect for the work and expertise of all of you. In the abstract it makes sense. In practice? Nonprofits should not be made to feel they must be lemmings, any more than shoppers must be made to feel they must camp out in front of Best Buy on Thanksgiving eve.

Some will get something out of GivingTuesday promotions; others, not so much.

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And not every nonprofit can figure out an elegant way to piggyback on their existing campaign theme, tagline, logo, etc. It can be confusing and work at cross purposes. And for this purpose it comes at a perfect time of year. The easiest thing for resource-strapped nonprofits to do is to send a thank you video —something super simple created on a smart phone and sent out via email or whatever social channels their supporters frequent — simply thanking folks for all their giving throughout the year.

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Thanks for continuing the conversation! I am catching up on all of the comments and tweets now. I want to clarify what I meant to make clear in my original comment here: NTEN does not bring on any new staff for our end of year campaign in general or for connecting it to Giving Tuesday, nor do we have any interns for fundraising or anything else , or use any outside consultants or contractors.

The existing staff and our capacity is all that is deployed here.

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Joe, thank you for having the courage to take an unpopular stand. I stand with you.

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Like you, I have many concerns about GivingTuesday, particularly for small and mid-size nonprofits. There is no evidence that GivingTuesday increases giving. While some charities saw an increase in giving on that particular Tuesday compared to a typical day or that date in the previous year, there is no evidence that GivingTuesday contributed to an overall increase in giving. At best, what appears to have happened is that GivingTuesday has shifted when some people gave not how many gave or how much they gave.


GivingTuesday is often a social media tactic without a strategy. For many nonprofits, particularly smaller ones, implementing a social media tactic without having an appropriate social media strategy in place is foolish and, potentially, even dangerous. GivingTuesday can be a diversion of attention and resources from more worthwhile tactics.

The best tactics must be selected to support strategies geared to achieve the organizations goals and objectives. For most organizations, particularly small and mid-size ones, other tactics will likely be more wise to embrace. GivingTuesday looks great on paper. Unfortunately, I think the reality of GivingTuesday is something else.

I doubt its real, initial effectiveness. Like Joe, I believe it is even potentially problematic for certain nonprofits. GivingTuesday is just the latest-greatest idea.

I lecture around the country. However, I do believe that most organizations would do better to enhance their handling of the basics before they embrace this latest idea. This is data from Blackbaud and was based on a few thousand, not all nonprofits in the US. I should know — I crunched all the data. This means that the actual amount raised on GivingTuesday was some multiple of this figure when you take into account offline giving as well.

For some organizations, the volunteer time or expertise given has immense value to them and their missions. Thanks so much for your thoughts. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Like you, I also think they should be focused on comprehensive donor cultivation strategies, both online and off. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Your point is well taken. Many of the articles and infographics that are making the rounds supporting GivingTuesday use that number as the total raised, but upon further inspection you are right, it is just the amount reported by BlackBaud for online processing through your services. Beyond that, a lot of it is guessing.

Most nonprofits raise very little money from social media when compared to all sources grants, planned giving, large donations, etc. GivingTuesday gives these nonprofits a framework to develop that plan. The goal for using social media should never be to raise money. Raising money online is insanely difficult, and sometimes even hopeless. And using social media can feel confusing and frustrating. Raising money can be a secondary goal, but the first goal should always be about engaging your current community.

Thanks for pointing this out. Good points to consider. At the end of the day, and as with all campaigns it comes down to prioritizing your resources and I think this is Mr Garecht point, if there is no system in place to make those crucial face to face contacts at the end of the year, then the organization is better of spending the time to develop that first. Why on earth would you want to send someone away from social media to get your content? When they spend all their time on social media! That is how you can be successful.

Oh, and try starting to ramp up your campaign in September instead of on the day everyone floods the channels. For example, if your non-profit posts a message on Facebook, how many people that are following you will see the message? It's your responsibility, as a fundraiser, to move people to active mediums that you control. When you send out an e-mail, everyone will receive it and see the subject line. Well, on receiving over twenty e-mail asks so far! But to be spammed in unison?

No thanks. The messages crowd each other out, and they all lose by adding to the din. Thanks for your thoughts David. And the more charities that choose to participate, the worse the onslaught will feel. How did I miss this conversation!!! Stupid of me. The thing that bugs me about Giving Tuesday is the silver-bullet issue.

This is true in the business-to-business world, not as much in direct-to-consumer. So I guess Giving Tuesday and other crowd-funding campaigns is kind of like jalapeno peppers. Use them wisely and sparingly. We respect your email privacy. Advertise on The Fundraising Authority. For some of the hoopla, see here , here and here The idea is that everyone shops in person on Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving, for those of you not in the US , everyone shops online on Cyber Monday the Monday after Black Friday , so why not try to get people to give some of what they have left to those less fortunate i.

So when they ask me if they should prepare something big for GivingTuesday, I have to tell them the truth… No.

So, what’s your “aha moment” or key takeaway?

Your Message Will Get Crowded Out Non-profit direct mail fundraisers know that one of the worst times to send a fundraising letter for a charity is in the couple of weeks before a major election. The Truth about Social Media Fundraising While the organizers of GivingTuesday are trying to make it a well-rounded phenomenon, the fact is that it is still primarily a social media activity.

Am I the Grinch? John Haydon November 22, at pm Joe — with all due respect, I have to disagree with your advice that nonprofits avoid GivingTuesday. Follow the ten rules of thank you letter writing , from personalization to inviting more engagement. Even when there are so many thank yous to be written that you can't keep up, consider writing several types of thank you letters for groups of donors.

Consider the kinds of donors you have, such as first-time donors , consecutive-year donors, and monthly donors. For longtime donors or donors who gave a lot, consider ways of saying thanks beyond the letter.