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What you Didn't Know About the History of #GivingTuesday

November 04, 2022 (4 min read)
GivingTuseday, a visionary organization that began life as the brainchild of the 92nd Street Y and its Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in New York City, recently celebrated it's 10th Anniversary. 
The organization's co-founder Henry Timms told Time that the #GivingTuesday hashtag was launched to celebrate giving, noting, “After the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday sees people rally around community spirit and gratitude. After two days for the economy, one good for the soul.”
Let’s take a closer look at how the organization has evolved and lessons that can be applied to your donor research strategy.

From Twitter Campaign to Global Movement in a Decade

It was a simple idea. Use a hashtag to encourage people to do good. And it was the movement, not just the hashtag, that went viral. In the past 9 years, GivingTuesday has become a global phenomenon, with official national movements in 80 countries and participation by individuals and organizations in every country around the world.

In its inaugural year, GivingTuesday inspired $10.1 million in donations. Year after year, GivingTuesday has broken the previous year's donations. In 2021, GivingTuesday results were spectacular. The NonProfit Times reports that in the U.S. alone, donations reached $2.7 billion, a 9% increase over the record-breaking results of 2020.

GivingTuesday Data Offers Direction for Donor Research

Is your donor research due for an update? Some of the most recent data from the GivingTuesday Data Commons report on 2021 trends offers some interesting insights.

Retention rates are declining

The good news is that retention rates for 2020 donors were higher than normal. It seems that fresh enthusiasm is good for retention. But what about donors that have been around longer?

Donor research can help you uncover information to forge a stronger connection with current donors. For example, Nexis® for Development Professionals connects you to a broad collection of news, company and executive information, and more. Our news coverage spans local to global publishers—print, online and broadcast. So, you can create alerts to receive timely notification when a donor of interest is mentioned in the news, then use the information as a door opener to re-connect. By keeping communication up with donors, you can keep them more engaged with your mission and inspired to donate to the cause.

Tip:  “Don’t think about donor stewardship and acquisition as an “either/or,” says the report. Retention AND prospect conversion are both critical to long-term success. The right donor research platform can help you shore up existing donor engagement and identify likely prospects.

Competition with non-registered entities is growing

According to the report, giving to non-registered entities such as informal GoFundMe requests found all over social media is 2X more common than giving to registered non-profits. Fortunately, most people give to a variety of causes, but you still have your work cut out for you.

To be heard above the noise other fundraisers, you need to target the right donors with the right messages. Wealth indicators in Nexis for Development Professionals, for example, can help you right-size donation requests to your top contributors. You can also uncover details like education backgrounds, hobbies and more to enable more personalized communications that break through the generic murmuring of charitable requests.

Tip: You’re already fighting for attention; make sure you don’t leave money on the table. According to Double the Donation,  84% of donors say they are more likely to donate if a match is offered. Yet, an estimated $4-$7 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed every year.

Inspire donors with your cause, not your relationship

The report notes that “Most people are giving in many ways, not just donations, and your donors want to feel like part of your mission.” This is especially true with rising interest in environmental, social and governance factors. Once ESG was strictly a consideration for financial investors, but these days, most people want to work from, buy from, and donate to organizations that align with their own expectations.

You can use ESG news in Nexis for Development Professionals to track what’s being said about organizations and individuals in terms of their stance on ESG factors. In turn, you can pinpoint companies—and the executives who run them—based on commitments that complement your own mission.

Tip: An ESG failure could pose a reputational risk, so you should also keep an eye on adverse mentions about high-profile donors that could reflect poorly on your organization and drive down donor enthusiasm.

Where does GivingTuesday—and your mission—go from here? In a 2021 interview, Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday and co-founder of the global generosity movement, made a statement that resonates with nonprofit organizations and development professionals around the world:

“I wouldn’t be so passionate about the work we do
through GivingTuesday if I weren’t optimistic about
our collective ability to drive change.”

The work you do makes a difference. We’re here to help. Request a demo to see how Nexis for Development Professionals helps you find like-minded donors to move your mission forward.