By Scott Pansky
Over the years, I have written several blog posts about Giving Tuesday. This year, I was struck with some different feelings – namely, how nonprofits have struggled of late.
My usual take on this fundraising event:
- It’s become too big, and a must for many nonprofits because the consumer expects it. If nonprofits don’t participate, many ask why? Online campaigns and matching gifts can be a lot of stress on small nonprofits and their staffs. A lot of work must take place before the event for set-up and systems.
- I question why many nonprofits only reach out to their full online donor base during the Giving Tuesday time frame instead of sharing stories year-round. Storytelling is crucial. And if all you see are solicitation messages on and before Giving Tuesday, it doesn’t come across as authentic. Consistent and ongoing storytelling builds personal relationships.
- Thanking donors can do much more than asking for money. Donors want to be appreciated and want to understand where their funds were spent and what impact was made. This responsibility and transparency can go a long way with individual donors, let alone corporations and their team members who use this information for ESG reporting and impact for employee resource groups. This allows for deeper engagement over a long period of time, not just on Giving Tuesday.
I still have these thoughts. But this year, I feel the world has changed and nonprofits have paid a significant price.
Nonprofit employees make low salaries on average, yet they work year-round to help others who may not have access to resources, such as food, shelter or education. Homelessness only increases, while access to mental health and medical services wane. Our hospitals are shorthanded and it’s become more difficult to retain staff. Politics here and abroad cause nonprofits to find innovative ways to provide their much-needed services.
Don’t just donate on Giving Tuesday – think about all the issues that matter to you, your family and friends and ask what you can do to make a difference year-round. Is it donating funds to an organization that impacts your family, the community, the country or the climate? Or is it going to a homeless shelter and talking with people who need an ear to listen to them and help them see there is support in the community? Is it adopting a pet to help an animal shelter? Is it starting a recycling program at work or in the community?
Don’t wait for someone else to make a difference this year. Do your research and make the best impact you can make. Then, when Giving Tuesday comes around in 2024, you will have stories to share and can ask your friends, family and associates to help a cause important to you.