From the Archives: Is Giving Tuesday Worth the Effort for Small Nonprofits?

From time to time, we share previous content that has enduring significance for nonprofit organizations. The following blog post was originally published on 11/9/16 and has been lightly refreshed.


Many of our small nonprofit accounting clients wonder if Giving Tuesday is worth the effort to participate. After all, when money is tight and your staff’s time is stretched to the max with other year-end fundraising plans, it’s important to weigh new campaigns carefully.

Some small nonprofits fear that their message will simply be crowded out on such a high-traffic day. In 2016, Giving Tuesday garnered 1.3 million social media mentions, 114 billion Twitter impressions, and reached more than 917,000 Facebook users. That’s a lot of web traffic! If you want to cut through the clutter, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. This is where large nonprofits have the advantage - with more resources, more manpower, and more social media followers, they’re able to get their message heard loud and clear.

Giving Tuesday donations still skew considerably towards large nonprofits, although small organizations are making up ground every year. In 2015, the largest organizations (annual fundraising revenues of more than $10 million) took in 74% of online donations. Medium-sized organizations ($1-$10 million) took 21% of the pie, with small organizations (less than $1 million annual fundraising revenues) captured only 5% of all online donations.

If you’re a very small nonprofit, the odds are against you on Giving Tuesday. However, if your organization is already active on social media, there’s no harm in repurposing your profile for a simple one-day campaign. Just include a link to your donation page and the #GivingTuesday hashtag. Explain the purpose of the movement to any followers who might be unfamiliar with it. And don’t forget a special thank-you to your donors! It costs you nothing to incorporate Giving Tuesday into your regular social media posting schedule - and who knows? It could lead to new followers, new website visitors, and new interest from potential donors.

Whether you’re planning a full-scale campaign or ignoring Giving Tuesday altogether, make sure you’re doing what’s best for your organization. And if you do choose to participate, collect as much data on your efforts as possible, so you can make an informed decision when Giving Tuesday rolls around again next year.