As a foil to the consumerism of the holiday season, #GivingTuesday is a national campaign celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and Black Friday focusing on charitable giving.
Founded in 2011, more than 4,300 organizations have participated in Giving Tuesday, raising more than $56 million for nonprofits worldwide and generating 1.3 million social media mentions in 2015 alone.
#GivingTuesday taps the generosity of people to bring about real change in their communities by providing a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talent to address local challenges. It is unique in that it mobilizes the collective power of a unique blend of partners — nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, families and individuals — to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.
Businesses often find #GivingTuesday to be an ideal platform to excite and marshal employees around a common cause that can benefit various charities.
With #GivingTuesday quickly approaching (the event falls on November 29 this year), there are a few ways that companies can make the most of the campaign to raise funds, build their profile and rally employees:
Set and communicate goals. Companies should set campaign goals and communicate them with their employees and constituents. Assemble a working group of employees to determine which charities will benefit from funds raised, and ensure that charities will appeal to all employees. Reach out to the charities to determine their needs. Ask for promotional materials you can make available to employees. Communicate information about the charities to employees and state specifically what the funds raised through your campaign will be used for.
Ramp up the Excitement. Take advantage of available #GivingTuesday social media hashtags to begin building a drumbeat leading up to #GivingTuesday. If your company participated in #GivingTuesday last year, share stories about previous fundraising success through the voices of your beneficiaries and employees. Promote your charities in social media, on your website, and in other communication vehicles.
Make it fun with gamification. Create an incentive for employees to give by offering a raffle, giveaway or drawing for people who participate in the campaign.
Create an Online Giving Center. Make it easy for donors to give on #GivingTuesday by creating a donation page specific to the day. This page is a great destination that you can link to in emails and on social media if donors want to learn more and get involved. An example of an online giving center is available here.
Use a Fundraising By Text App. This is a busy time of year, so giving donors an easy way to contribute will be important to success. Fundraising by text apps, such as Text2Give, offer a personal and direct opportunity to communicate with donors and raise funds immediately.
Finally, be sure to communicate with employees and their families after the campaign is over by thanking them for their participation. Provide information about the amount of funds raised and how those funds will be put to work in the community.
Begin planning again in January for the next #GivingTuesday by extending your company’s commitment to your charities into other good works and educational opportunities. For example, invite speakers from your charities to visit your workplace to deliver brown bag talks to educate employees about their organizations, and participate in campaigns sponsored by your charity partners, such as 5Ks. Seek feedback from employees about the #GivingTuesday event and be open to adding new charities in the future.
Karrie Wozniak is vice president of sales & marketing at BidPal, a cloud-based mobile bidding and payment solution for nonprofits.