I can’t wait for #GivingTuesday!  Seriously, December 3rd can’t come soon enough.

As a professional who focuses on corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and all forms of giving every day, #GivingTuesday is becoming a favorite holiday that’s, well, not exactly a holiday (but should be).

As a member of the core team of advisors for @GivingTuesday, the movement launched in 2012 to celebrate an opening day of the giving season, I’m admittedly biased.  But it’s such a great concept and one that’s truly open to everyone, so you kind of can’t blame me, right?

For those just getting to the party, #GivingTuesday is a movement anyone — individuals, organization, businesses, communities — can get involved with to show engagement with giving.  We each get to decide what it means to us.  And December 3rd isn’t just a random date.  It follows immediately on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and after two days devoted to consumerism, well, we could all use a little good giving karma.

On Tuesday, I was thrilled to host a #GivingTuesday webinar that was the first of three focusing on how nonprofits can make the most of the movement in their year-end fundraising, as a part of an overall plan (not just as a single day).  Henry Timms, the interim executive director of the 92nd Street Y and a founder of #GivingTuesday, joined us to explain the movement and share how nonprofits were marking the day (more than 3,000 organizations have gotten involved so far).  Then Marla Barr, program manager for the San Deigo Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy, shared secrets from her #GivingTuesday playbook, which included a variety of ways they are making hay with the day.

  • Onsite – the zoo is thanking its “troops,” using a specially creafted wildlife sticker that will be worn by 1,500 staff, 1,250 volunteers and the 5,000 day guest and members.
  • Direct Mail – following a monthly donor event in November, the zoo will mail a special thank-you letter with the wildlife sticker, leveraging the movement as a piece of its efforts.
  • Online – the zoo is launching a dedicated #GivingTuesday/ Wildlife Conservancy page, including its popular PANDA CAM, which allows online visitors to see what the bears are up to.
  • Social Media – plans include using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterist…and you’ll just have to tune in to the zoo to see what they do!

As for the money side of things, the zoo is going to be offering a special, one-day wish list of small-ticket items donors can “purchase,” with 100% of all donations benefiting global conservation.  Plus they’re using the day to kick off their end-of-year online campaign.

Blogging about the webinar really doesn’t do Henry or Marla justice in terms of all the advice they shared, so if you want to hear everything,  click here and register for the 10/22 event.  Once you do that, the recording will appear.  While you’re there, check out the remaining two webinars in the series, which are sure to offer your nonprofit more guidance on how to celebrate the day and make the most of the excitement as a part of your year-end push for donations.

And if you’re eager for more, tune into the recording of Tony Martingetti’s Nonprofit Radio where Anastasia Dellaccio (of the UN Foundation) and I talk about #GivingTuesday and why each of our organizations is involved.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Hutchisson is the director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Blackbaud, headquartered in Charleston, SC.  She is responsible for the company’s global corporate citizenship efforts, a role that allows her to leverage her 20+ years of experience of working with nonprofit partners.  She is a member of the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International, the Giving Institute (producers of Giving USA), and the Coastal Community Foundation.  She is also a Past President of the AFP SC Lowcountry chapter. Rachel is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she is a Renaissance Weekend participant and was the recipient of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Influential Women in Business Rising Star Award.  Rachel is an avid soccer fan and spends far too much time driving to remote parts of the state to watch her children play.  Connect with Rachel on Twitter at @RachelHutchssn or on LinkedIn.

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