#GivingTuesday's Jamie McDonald Comes to Forefront

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

On September 20th, Jamie McDonald, founder of Generosity Inc. and Head of Civic Campaigns for 92nd Street Y, joined the #ILGive for #GivingTuesday team at William Blair to speak with nonprofit fundraisers about the swift growth of the Giving Tuesday movement, the future of charitable giving, and the power of creativity and collaboration in giving day campaigns.

"Giving Tuesday is one of only three days where donors look for nonprofits to support and not the other way around," McDonald said. "People have a desire to connect around giving. They want to give, and they want to give together." 

Giving Tuesday’s close proximity to year-end campaigns has raised concerns over Giving Tuesday cannibalizing year-end donations, but does it?

In short, no. In fact, data from the Giving Tuesday Insight Report indicates that nonprofits participating in Giving Tuesday with a branded donation page (an ILGive.com profile, for example) had dramatically higher year-end totals than those that didn’t.

In addition to a branded donation page, successful giving day campaigns have four key components:

1. An Inspired Leader - Who on your staff has passion, energy, and creativity? Who can help you experiment with new ideas and isn’t afraid to be bold? That’s your Giving Day team leader. Find that person and surround them with your other staff members, your board, volunteers, and other resources.

2. A Clear, Ambitious Goal - Example: On Giving Tuesday in 2015, World Bicycle Relief’s goal was 800 bicycles in 24 hours. They recruited a college student to design a digital tracker for their giving page that allowed donors to watch the progress of the campaign and see when all 800 bicycles were funded.

3. Collaboration - Recruit campaign ambassadors who are passionate about your mission and who have big, credible voices. Who are people in your network that are credible in the world you’re trying to connect with? Perhaps it’s a board member, a volunteer, or a client. Utilize peer-to-peer fundraising: Instead of asking your current supporters for more money, empower them as fundraisers for you within their personal networks!

4. Authenticity - “Be real with your campaign,” says McDonald. “It doesn’t have to cost a lot.” Use video, images, language, and activities that are:

  • Authentic and emotional 
  • Easy to understand
  • Centered on a person and supported by data, not the other way around
  • Allow the reader to feel like he/she can make a difference

The best part? All of the above can be done without breaking the bank. Here are some low-budget, creative campaigns that knocked it out of the park, all on a budget:

Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue - This volunteer-run organization had #GivingTuesday success by doing a very simple thing: their work. On Giving Tuesday, a group of volunteers got in vans and drove to a high-kill animal shelter in the South, rescued dogs, and brought them back to New York. They shared every step of their journey on their social media channels, from the heartwarming to the silly to the heartbreaking. Their campaign was an enormous success. 

Tippy Tap - Social media often prioritizes video content, but a video doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to produce. Take a look at this short video by Tippy Tap. The entire thing was shot on an iPhone and cost $500 from start to finish. Giving Tuesday is a great time to experiment with Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. 

Barbells for Boobs - Barbells for Boobs, a nonprofit dedicated to early breast care detection, teamed up with CrossFit for a series of awareness events. Athletes, breast cancer patients, breast cancer survivors, and their friends and families showed up at CrossFit gyms in pink tutus and crazy outfits to work out. Both entities shared images and updates on social media, and the collaboration was such a success its now in its fourth year. 

Love Notes to Baltimore - Hundreds of Baltimore residents gathered in the early hours of Giving Tuesday (November 29th) and wrote chalk messages of love, unity, and celebration across the city to inspire generosity. Over 1,000 volunteers gathered to write messages and/or pledged acts of kindness that benefitted their community. 

Memphis Rocks - In Memphis, a Giving Tuesday campaign revolved around volunteers painting rocks with bright colors and positive messages and "planting" them around their city. As people found them, they'd share them on social media, growing the impact of the campaign one rock and one social media post at a time. It brought the community together and raised awareness for local nonprofits. 

We hope you're inspired to develop your own creative #ILGive for #GivingTuesday campaign! Register at ILGive.com, create your profile, then share with us your giving day plans! We'd love to feature your campaign. Remember: the registration deadline is October 24 so don't delay!