Is Giving Tuesday Worth the Effort for Small Nonprofits?


Giving Tuesday (or in social media lingo, #GivingTuesday) is on November 29th this year, and many of our small nonprofit clients are wondering if it’s 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.

Many small nonprofits fear that their message will simply be crowded out on such a high-traffic day. Last year, #GivingTuesday 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.

#GivingTuesday 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 clearly against you on #GivingTuesday. 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 #GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday campaign or ignoring it altogether, it’s hard to deny that a holiday devoted to charitable giving and nonprofit awareness is a bad thing. If you choose to participate, collect as much data on your efforts as possible to make an informed decision when #GivingTuesday rolls around again next year.