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#GivingTuesdayNow: The Pros and Cons of Participating

Author: Tatiana Morand
April 24, 2020
🕑 5 min read

Have you heard about #GivingTuesdayNow?

Set for May 5, 2020, it’s a new giving day established as an emergency response to the need caused by COVID-19.

Brought to us by #GivingTuesday, the ever-growing Global Day of Giving (which is now a nonprofit itself) that unofficially kicks off the year-end fundraising season, this new day is meant to promote unity and generosity during an isolating time.

#GivingTuesdayNow: The Details

#GivingTuesdayNow isn’t a substitute for #GivingTuesday, which remains scheduled for December 1. The May 5th day is a crisis response, and consequently, is coming together with less lead-time and momentum than the established #GivingTuesday.

However, like #GivingTuesday, #GivingTuesdayNow is an international campaign with an impressive list of sponsors and partners.

And like #GivingTuesday, the organizers provide a hefty toolkit of messaging, graphics, and ideas to get you started.

The organizers encourage everyone to celebrate #GivingTuesdayNow with acts of generosity, including helping neighbors, advocating for causes, and making charitable donations. They say, “The movement is currently focused on opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing.”

So…should your nonprofit participate? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Three Pros of Participation in #GivingTuesdayNow

First, let’s consider the potential benefits of #GivingTuesdayNow.

1. You Can Connect to the Community

People need good news, and the idea of a world uniting to celebrate generosity and help each other is very appealing. Even if you don’t raise a ton of money, #GivingTuesdayNow is an opportunity to be part of a positive movement and share it with your donors.

2. Donors Want to Give

Nonprofits have been bracing for impact on donations during this period of economic uncertainty. Past experience has taught us that an unstable economy leads to dips in giving, and most of us are expecting negative outcomes.

However, recent reports have shown that donors haven’t given up, yet. In a survey of more than 1,000 individual givers in the United States, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance found that close to one-third intend to give more to charity in 2020 than they have previously. Close to half (48.2%) will look for ways to support charities.

In that case, #GivingTuesdayNow might be just what your donors are looking for.

3. It’s a New Fundraising Avenue to Try

Of course, a big “pro” on the list is an opportunity to raise money at a time when lots of nonprofits have immediate needs. With canceled events and up-ended fundraising schedules, many organizations are facing budget shortfalls and in some cases, dire circumstances. #GivingTuesdayNow already has resources like graphics and templates, making it fairly simple to jump on without creating a campaign from scratch.

Organizations that are directly impacted by or addressing the pandemic may find a particular benefit on #GivingTuesdayNow. Take a look at this campaign by Pajama Program, an organization that promotes and supports comforting before bed routines for children.

Pajama Program

They’ve launched a series of virtual programming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are using their #GivingTuesdayNow campaign to support essential workers and their children. For each $10 they raise, they will donate a book and pair of pajamas to support a child of an essential worker. They’re also keeping things fun with a virtual peer-to-peer fundraiser, the National Pajama Walk on May 2. 

We also have more ideas designed for Giving Tuesday if you’re looking for further inspiration!

Three Cons of Participation in #GivingTuesdayNow

So with these benefits, why are we seeing so many nonprofit professionals skipping #GivingTuesdayNow? What are the cons?

1. You Don’t Have Time or Energy to Add One More Thing

Look, we get it.

It’s hard to face adding a giving day to your schedule when you’re having trouble remembering what day it is. This is a very stressful time, and a lot of folks are finding they just don’t have the energy for #GivingTuesdayNow.

If this is you, try not to feel guilty. Sustainable fundraising and execution on things you’ve already planned out is always more important than any single day.

2. It May Conflict with Existing Fundraising

If your organization has already launched a fundraising campaign, or your region already has a giving day planned around the same time, it might not make sense to add #GivingTuesdayNow into the mix.

You might want to look for ways to give it a nod, such as running a match or challenge on May 5 as part of your existing campaign, but don’t abandon something that’s working for you.

3. Giving Days Might Not Be Your Best Tactic

Every organization is different, and giving days aren’t the best fit for everyone. You know your donors, and whether or not they’re active on social media and interested in online campaigns.

Of course, this could have changed. It’s hard to use past experience to plan in this scenario — more people are at home and online than usual, and we’re in an entirely new situation. However, if giving days have never worked well for your donor base, you may be hesitant to participate in them. Use your own judgment.

It’s Up to You

So, should you participate in #GivingTuesdayNow? We’re settling on a tentative “yes,” with no judgment if you decide not to.

Either way, you’ll be in good company — there are many good, smart organizations on each side.

If you decide to participate, don’t pressure yourself to create a perfect campaign — this is a time to do what you can, as well as you can, but not to stress yourself out.

No one is expecting a slick, developed campaign. If all you can manage is a couple of emails and social media posts, that’s fine!

During this (wait for it…) unprecedented time, one thing is for sure: connection is more important than ever.

Whether or not you participate in #GivingTuesdayNow, take a moment to connect with your donors and let them know what’s going on at your organization.

We’d love to hear what you end up doing! Tell us more in the comments.

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