By Joe Salas
Since its inception in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become one in a slew of catchy named days in the week following Thanksgiving that includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
Along with Thanksgiving itself, Giving Tuesday is a day of charity and reflection that bookends an extended weekend dedicated to commerce. Organizers bill the day as a global movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy, and the movevment has caught on. In 2016, 40,000 nonprofit organizations raised more than $168 million from 1.5 million individuals around the globe, according to Neon, a nonprofit data and technology company.
The day-long event is not without detractors though, as some claim Giving Tuesday is just a fad, and a dangerous one at that. Joe Garecht, a Development Consultant at The Fundraising Authority, argues that broader messages about a nonprofit’s services and values get drowned out in a barrage of social media posts, website updates, and emails that call for donations merely because it is Giving Tuesday. This type of “spot giving,” Garecht claims, risks creating donors who are ambivalent towards their mission and do not want to provide year-round support.
Ask a nonprofit if Giving Tuesday matters, and you’ll find the answer is usually “yes.”
“A gift on Giving Tuesday is about more than just the dollar value of the donation,” said Andrea Newman, Development Director at Greenwich House. “It gives organizations another day to connect with people who care, and for some, to rely on those supporters to help spread the word too.”
The Giving Tuesday movement relies heavily on social media to grow, and donors are encouraged to share their participation on different social channels.
“When people share where and why they donate, the power of their gift is magnified,” continued Newman. “At Greenwich House, where our services have such an important impact in Greenwich Village, it’s a chance for our neighbors, whether they take part in our programs and services or not, to show that they value us as a local resource and support our mission.”
Giving Tuesday’s data backs her up. According to its website, there were almost 2.5 million social media posts for Giving Tuesday on the day of the event.
“It is very exciting to see support spread throughout the community,” said Newman. “Every year, people who have never donated before send in a contribution because they learned about Greenwich House from a friend or neighbor and value what we represent in the community.”
To learn more about Giving Tuesday at Greenwich House, sign up for the Greenwich House email list at greenwichhouse.org.