fundraising

#GivingTuesday: Looking for Community

1 Comment 09 December 2013

GivingTuesInvisibleChildren

Last November, I wrote a blog post about the potential for building relationships with #GivingTuesday. In 2012, #GivingTuesday was an idea to build a day dedicated to giving, and an opening of the door to a movement. I understood that it was an initial experiment, but I wanted more: I wanted a place where we could converse about giving, provide input into the day, go beyond being a receiver or giver of donations, and find community.

I think it’s come a long way in a year: from an interesting experiment in social awareness, to something that has tremendous brand awareness and widespread involvement. A year ago, most nonprofit organizations hadn’t heard of the day. This year, word went out far and wide. I suspect that if you were using social media at all on December 3rd, you encountered #GivingTuesday in some way: prominent on the Google homepage, trending on Twitter, the many blog posts, a #GivingTuesday tweet, among others. Not to mention the appeals you may have received by email from nonprofit organizations. Overall donations increased 162% in 2013, average donation size increased, and the number of nonprofit partners far exceeded those in 2012.

#GivingTuesday worked hard to develop awareness and build a strong seasonal campaign; it recruited many prominent brand ambassadors, corporate and nonprofit partners, and social media ambassadors. The website offers campaign support with toolkits and guides of all sorts for nonprofits, fundraisers, partners and individuals. #GivingTuesday’s Facebook page grew to over over 25,000 Likes, there are over 15,000 Twitter followers, and fans on Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube.

It’s a brand. It’s a campaign. Where’s the community?

That remains to be seen. Colleague Beth Kanter argues that it is a movement. It is certainly open enough to become what any stakeholder wants it to be: develop and promote it using the hashtag and power of the brand. I’d argue that a real movement needs a place for stakeholder engagement and leadership.

What’s missing is the town square: a place to chat, converse, plan, learn…and meet. When that happens, then you have a connected community. Remember Occupy Wall Street in 2011? That was a connected, passionate community movement across the country.

I want a place for us to talk about what we want #GivingTuesday to be, to share what it means to each of us, to discuss what #GivingTuesday means to global philanthropy, and to feel like we have a stake in its future. I want a community-driven conversation.

Connected community + movement = tremendous power.

I am not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. I love the idea of #GivingTuesday. I more than love it, I totally support it. But I want it to become the community and invite stakeholders into a conversation. In 2014, my dream is that #GivingTuesday will offer:

  • An online conversation platform for nonprofits participating in #GivingTuesday to learn and share ideas and practices.
  • An online community space promoting conversation about #GivingTuesday: why is it important, what does giving mean, what does it mean for Americans to give after Black Friday, who are the givers, why we give, etc. What a place it could be!
  • A way to connect nonprofits with each other, developing #GivingTuesday mentorship.
  • More Hangouts! The Google Plus Hangouts were fabulous, and the day-long Hangout On Air offered a promise of “community.” Let’s go beyond this short series of Hangouts and hold monthly Hangouts that build this community year-round.

Did you feel part of a movement on #GivingTuesday? What would create a connected #GivingTuesday community for you? Please weigh in with your comments.

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About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She is the current Director of Outreach at the National Brain Tumor Society. She speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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