#GivingTuesday: Why I Am Participating in the National Day of Giving on November 27, 2012 | Beth's Blog

#GivingTuesday: Why I Am Participating in the National Day of Giving on November 27, 2012


Giving  Tuesday hopes to spark a movement of people and organizations who want  to celebrate giving and encourage more and smarter giving during the holiday season.    The intent is to create an annual national day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving or this year on  November 27, 2012.    The campaign will encourage philanthropic activities  that support nonprofit organizations.

The idea is to harnesses the collective power of the social good sector ecosystem which includes charities, families, businesses and individuals.   It is intended to inspire actions like contributing to charities, educating one’s children about giving, volunteering for a nonprofit, or to encourage people in their networks to do the same.    This campaign provides resources, a theme, and asking all who participate to unleash their creativity to spread generosity.

But collective action isn’t enough unless there is collective impact.    How does one measure that?  What are the transaction and transformation metrics?    The first is easy – dollars raised, # of volunteers, etc.    Can the event help increase the average amount that American’s give to charity?  More difficult to measure is the transformation of how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.   What is the definition of success?   Maybe one is that Giving Tuesday becomes an official national holiday or becomes an annual event like Cyber Monday.

Giving Days are not a new idea and have been successful in local communities and entire states, like GiveMN which raised $2 million in 24 hours using the Razoo platform.  Razoo has promoted local giving days, including Twive and Receive and recently announced reaching a milestone of raising $100 million.

The concept of empowering individuals to fundraise for a charity by asking their friends to donate has been around for years offline.  Think about all those  marathons or  walking events for social causes that have been around before Facebook.   But the idea of doing this through your online social networks  has become normalized in the last few years as online social networks have become intertwined with our lives.   Encouraging nonprofits to embrace this mode of fundraising was  the point of the Case Foundation’s America’s Giving Challenge, one of the first giving contests launched back in 2007 where I was a first place winner raising funds for Cambodian children.

This is when I first observed the rise of “Free Agents,” highly connected individuals who could launch social movements in the palms of their hands by mixing their skills with online networking and their passion for social change.   These individuals undertook organizing, fundraising, and advocacy – activities that were once only in the control of nonprofits – outside the “control” of nonprofits.   Free Agents still find creative ways to make a difference today.  For example, Mark Horvath has put together a cookbook, filled with recipes from social media leaders, that is being sold on iTunes and is generating funding to help provide programs to homeless.

Slowly but surely, nonprofits have also embraced the practice of  “social fundraising,” the marriage of fundraising and social media.    One of the leaders is charity:water which has been using this practice over the past 6 years to raise millions for clean water.   Their approach empowers everyday  individuals to use their creativity to raise money from their networks.  My annual charity:water  September Campaign celebrates my anniversary, but it is part of a larger movement of people who care about providing clean water for the world.

Giving Tuesday is also promoting many of the ideas in Giving 2.0 by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.   The book’s message is simple.   Anyone and everyone who gives anything — time, money, experience, skills, networks — in any amount to create a better world can be philanthropist.  In my own work, raising money for Cambodia children,  I passionately believe this to be true.    Don’t ever think that you, as individual, have to top the Forbes 400 list – like my modest charity:water campaign, small actions add up to collective impact.

Giving Tuesday takes a lot of these ideas and blends them together.   It has assembled a team of recognized experts and influencers, initially convened by leaders of 92nd Street Y and supported by a core group of founding partners.  Founding partners include United Nations Foundation, DonorsChoose.org, Mashable, Blackbaud, charity: water, GlobalGiving, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Kiva, Darden Restaurant Group, Groupon, Unilever and VENTURE3Capital. Leaders in philanthropy, social media, innovative giving, grassroots organizing, marketing and communications are providing counsel and resources to help build this movement.

We now live in a network-centric world where our connectedness through social media and social networks can spread hate as well as love faster than ever before.      I’m interested in initiatives that inspire people and organizations to promote, model, and spread generosity throughout their networks and together make a collective impact.   And that’s why I’m supporting Giving Tuesday.   What about you?

17 Responses

  1. Sharon S Kessler says:

    Many people seem to think that we can get it done with grants alone. Giving Tuesday is such a great chance to remind everyone that what they can give DOES matter. Thanks for you excellent post.

  2. Beth says:

    Sharon: Yes, I agree. Do you work with a nonprofit?

  3. deannap09 says:

    Love the idea of #GivingTuesday. My generation (the Millennials) are eager to make the world better, and how better to start than through our favorite social media platforms! Thanks for the post, Beth!

    -Deanna, social media theory & practice student with @Dr4Ward at @NewhouseSU, #NewhouseSM6

  4. Beth says:

    Thanks Deanna. How will you participate? Also, what is #newhouseSM6 hashtag. would love to know more

  5. Karen says:

    Great idea. Almost wish it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, first fruits…and before everyone spends their money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday…We are definitely going to help promote this in our community!

  6. deannap09 says:


    Not sure yet how I’ll participate! TBD 🙂

    The #NewhouseSM6 hashtag is for conversations relating to the Social Media Theory & Practice graduate course at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

  7. Beth says:

    Ah, one of my colleagues has just started to teach there. Don Pacheco. Do you know him?

  8. deannap09 says:

    Sadly I don’t! I’ll keep an eye out around here though.

  9. Joseph says:

    I just saw a link to this post on Twitter. I am 7 years old and I am swimming the English Channel to raise money for Syrian refugees. I will tell everyone about #GivingTuesday with my blog on my website JosephSwims.com and on Twitter @JosephSwims.

  10. Kelly T says:

    Being able to marry social media with social good is really what can push philanthopy to the next level. Making giving easy and portable and giving people a reminder with a day like this how easy it is to make a difference in the world is priceless. My charity is DollarPerMonth.org and we try to share the message with everyone that even a dollar each month makes an impact and that no donor is ever unimportant. Becoming a “social donor” by going online and donating through your mobile device makes it easier than ever and is a fast way to get people engaged.

  11. […] has he heard of Twive and Receive, #GivingTuesday, Twestival or any of the hundreds of successful online giving campaigns run […]

  12. deannap09 says:

    I’d love to interview you, Beth, about how nonprofits use socialmedia for donations & to build brands for my #NewhouseSM6 course. DM me (@deannap09) or email me (dmpayson@syr.edu) if you might be able to do that!

    Thank you.

  13. […] has he heard of Twive and Receive, #GivingTuesday, Twestival or any of the hundreds of successful online giving campaigns run […]

  14. Captain Mark says:

    How can my non-profit organization for the disabled benefit from this idea? Can we discuss? Thanks!

  15. Beth Kanter says:

    Any nonprofit can participate, just go to their site and sign up

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  17. […] You will need to monitor your insights to get this information. For more about measurement, read Beth Kanter’s insightful […]