(Photo courtesy of Michael Walsh and J. Rudy Flesher)
Today is #GivingTuesday, the philanthropic answer to stuff-obsessed Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
From now until midnight, individuals are encouraged to donate to their favorite good-doing organizations — and to encourage their friends to do the same by using, yes, that hashtag.
#GivingTuesday was started by the United Nations Foundation and 92nd Street Y in 2012. The following year, a volunteer committee of Philly-area impact leaders — including Generocity — gathered to discuss how to further the day’s impact on a local scale.
Rudy Flesher, a social impact consultant, was a part of that group and has since become the de facto spokesperson for #GivingTuesday in Philly. We spoke with him about how both organizations and donors can get the most out of the day.
“#GivingTuesday is about giving everyone a toolbox and working it in the way that makes sense for them and their organization,” Flesher said.
- Set up a board match: The William Way LGBT Community Center’s board has committed to matching up to $5,000 of everything donated today. This provides encouragement to potential donors because it shows that those closest to the organization are being supportive, too, and that donors’ contributions will have double the impact.
- Make it a part of a larger campaign: There doesn’t need to be just one day for people to support your organization. Nonprofits can use #GivingTuesday as a bookend to a larger campaign to increase momentum.
- Give your cause a face: #GivingTuesday is primarily based in social media, which makes it hard for the media to find specific causes to cover. Assign one person from your organization to be the camera-ready face to speak about your cause to help it stand out. Flesher points to ACHIEVEability, which in 2013 held an in-person, volunteer house painting day that was covered by a local news station.
- Be specific: “People are often inspired when they realize they’re making part of a collective impact,” Flesher said. Advertise a specific goal your organization wants to achieve with the money raised, or describe a particular program that will benefit.
- Thank donors publicly: When donors are open to being called out for their good deeds, thanking them on the day on they give can offer a powerful return on social media. It shows both gratitude and that many people have individually donated. It also serves as a reminder to others that today is a good day to give.
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- Spread the good news: People are influenced by their peers, so share your reasons for giving on social media. For instance, if you donated to PAWS because it’s where you adopted your dog, talk about how she changed your life, Flesher offered. These stories help others decide where to put their money.
- Be willing to be thanked publicly: If an organization to which you donated tweets its appreciation, retweet it.
If you choose to give today, remember that your donation is just one of many — and that’s it’s power.
#GivingTuesday is a reminder that small and mid-sized donations from regular people are absolutely the backbone to charitable giving,” Flesher said, “and it’s a reminder that we can actually make a difference, that we don’t have to be millionaires to [do so].”-30-
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