• Is there any data that proves that the extra effort put into #GivingTuesday results in a corresponding increase in donations, decoupled from the “normal” year-end fundraising lift that many organizations already see? Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept, but I wonder if it’s truly making a difference.

  • I have the same questions/doubts as Marc. There are corporate sponsors as well as non-profit brands (such as donation processors) that benefit from Giving Tuesday, but that it is a benefit to all individual charities is far from clear (and most or all the data and analysis comes from those who stand to benefit from the perception that Giving Tuesday is in fact a benefit).

    I have a pretty big network of non-profit colleagues (most of whom would be in the small to middle category) and of those who participate in Giving Tuesday they have all told me that the benefits are slim to none. I see they are already dutifully profiling Giving Tuesday in their e-news and followed all the steps outlined in this article, but chances are good that they will once again experience negligible returns. I would love to be proven wrong because I am also dutifully trucking along because one clear success Giving Tuesday has achieved is that to NOT participate will raise an eyebrow.

    Of those that do report Giving Tuesday success, it seems to me only a little bit of tunnel-down is required to figure out that they arranged those wins – I think it’s likely that nobody new came out of the woodwork to offer them $ because of Giving Tuesday, rather it is my observation they tapped into an existing relationship and created a win. This is great, but that’s not the same as the message that Giving Tuesday will somehow attract new donors. And from what I could ascertain, a similar win could have been organized on a different day of the year. So the work of building that relationship prior to Giving Tuesday is where the real win is coming from.

    It’s not a negative of course that an organization would take advantage of Giving Tuesday to build a win around the concept. But for those who don’t have those types of major sponsor and donor relationships they should not go around feeling inadequate or worthless because they only got $43.00 or because Richard Branson didn’t throw money at them from a helicopter. It’s not going to happen just because you branded a moving story about your work with a Giving Tuesday logo.

    Much of the Giving Tuesday logic really doesn’t make all that much sense if you think about it – on a day when the entire charity world is being encouraged to seek out donations, this is a very unlikely moment to break through with new donors – at best most charities can expect some shifting around of their existing donor base (they might donate on December 1 instead of a different day in December). One might be able to make the case that almost any other day of the year would have strategic advantages.

    Thinking of Giving Tuesday as a universally beneficial non-profit opportunity is a bit like a small family business getting excited about Black Friday – that’s great for the big box stores but probably not for the local boutique.

  • Patricia Schaefer

    That’s a great question, Marc. I didn’t see any hard data on that.

  • I love this Mary (Giving Back Tuesday). Our organization has an annual Festive Family Feast right around the same time as Giving Tuesday (December 4 this year) and it’s not a fundraiser or an ask “just” getting together to celebrate community. I think your allusions to “Big Philanthropy” are accurate as far as the pros/cons of Giving Tuesday for the more grassroots among us, and your local twist is an inspires me!