Giving Tuesday 2013: Reflections and Tips

Dec 4, 2013 2:45 PM ET

MSL Conversations

As a self-proclaimed cause marketing and CSR “geek” who profoundly believes in the power of public/private partnerships, as you may imagine, I’m like a kid in a candy store on #GivingTuesday.

Outside of Giving Tuesday, the best corporate purpose campaigns leverage the brand’s assets – employees, products, technology and dedicated consumers – on behalf of a social issue. They use their marketing firepower and technical know-how to drive causes forward in ways charities alone could not. Giving Tuesday is a massive example of the best of this – business and media using their assets, in this case, to drive fundraising.

In case you missed it yesterday, Giving Tuesday was an opportunity to pause from the consumerism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, to give back. At a time when all charities are looking to meet annual goals and rake in the 30% of donations that typically come in December, Giving Tuesday is an important day. The concept is brilliant. By its definition, companies use what they are best at – driving consumerism, driving shopping in a sense, but in this case, shopping for where to give.

This special day applies the best parts of shopping, to giving:

The CHOICE – Giving Tuesday is not about a cause, but about all causes – large, small, local, global – it’s your choice. I’m a believer in focusing on a singular issue or suite of issues under a clear platform, when it comes to a single company’s efforts (see below). However, Giving Tuesday is so freeing for individuals – I gave where I wanted, how I wanted, when I wanted and how much I wanted.

The SOCIAL aspect – Just like we share a great find, a deal, or a coupon with our friends and family, #GivingTuesday is all about sharing, liking, retweeting – driving the social currency of giving back through your own circles.

The TECH factor – As we’ve moved beyond bricks and mortar shops, we must move beyond traditional fundraising and drive online, mobile and social donations for charities to attract and retain next generation donors. This is where Giving Tuesday excels.

While we are on the heels of Giving Tuesday 2013 and it is fresh in our minds, I want to share a few tips for companies looking to create or enhance their efforts next year.

  1. Focus – As Giving Tuesday offers a ton of choice, don’t get lost in it! Carve a clear aspect that aligns with your brand, business and call to action to stand out among the clutter; this could be a single issue or charity, geography, or a mechanism for giving and sharing.
  2. Start Early – Seed promotions in the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, so consumers are prepared to participate before they are bombarded with offers.
  3. Go Digital – Giving Tuesday is a social movement, embed sharing functionality and digital avenues for participation to get the most out of it.
  4. Set a Goal – Be bold and bring consumers along for the ride, track progress and use it to incentivize participation and sharing.
  5. Incentivize – With so much choice, consumers will expect some incentive in the form of a match, a discount, or prize to enhance engagement.

A few examples of client campaigns that exemplify these best practices in a variety of ways, include:

  1. PayPal’s Stamp Out Checks…for Good:  Just like PayPal created the faster, safer way to pay and get paid, they are committed to literally powering giving  – offering better, easier ways to give.

    For Giving Tuesday they kicked off a light-hearted campaign to get consumers engaged in transforming the face of fundraising.  While online giving is on the rise, check-writing is still the norm – So PayPal wants to help donors move from the hassle of checks to the ease of clicks. When you give through, 100% of your gift will go directly to the nonprofit you support and you can print out your year-end tax receipt right there. The best part is that the campaign merely started on December 3rd and runs through December 31st, during which time PayPal is adding $5.52 – the cost of a year’s worth stamps  – to donations of $25 or more, up to $30,000.

  2. Home Depot Foundation  – While “home” has a direct link to the Home Depot business and is such a special part of the holiday season, for homeless and disabled veterans, home can be a real challenge. To help veterans have a safe home, between #GivingTuesday and New Year's Eve, The Home Depot Foundation is inviting people to share their support for veterans by tweeting using #TeamDepot. During that time period, The Home Depot Foundation will donate $1 to Operation Homefront for each related tweet, up to $100,000.
  3. GiveCorps – This organization is focused on providing online, mobile and social giving platforms for universities and large nonprofits. They are a group of fundraising gurus and e-commerce experts that also happen to well-connected in the city of Baltimore. They leveraged their blend of technology smarts, fundraising know-how, passion, and local connections to power the BMore Gives More campaign on Giving Tuesday, which surpassed its goal of raising $5M for local charities.