The No Filter Truth About #GivingTuesday | npENGAGE

The No Filter Truth About #GivingTuesday

By on Sep 19, 2016



#GivingTuesday is entering its fifth year as a global social media movement inspired by the purpose of giving. According to, “#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges.”

I challenge your organization to get involved! For those that are already involved in #GivingTuesday, how can your organization further reach donors for your cause? Before you think any further—let me say this—I know your organization may be up against barriers to pull a campaign like this off, especially with end-of-year campaigns right on the horizon, but I believe #GivingTueday can be harnessed to affect greater giving during year-end.

If you’re still not convinced of #GivingTuesday’s effectiveness, I am here to debunk four common excuses against participating. Warning, snark will commence in 3…2…1

Four #GivingTuesday Excuses Debunked:

#1 We’re not that kind of organization.

This statement isn’t based on data or a logical fact for not running a campaign. Since its creation in 2012, over 10,000 organizations have participated in #GivingTuesday and over $55 million has been raised. And year-over-year more organizations are doing it, many with great success like Sanford Health Foundation—in their first year running the campaign, they raised just over $19,000 (their goal was $1,000).

#2 It’s a trend, it won’t stick around.

#GivingTuesday has been around for five years. Acid wash jeans were a trend. Giving days are an established fundraising strategy, and they work when done right. Just ask my mentor and colleague at John J College of Criminal Justice. Their giving day was so successful that they hired a FT stewardship coordinator.

#3 It’s too much work, we’re already planning our end of year campaign, and we don’t have the resources.

I would bet my lunch money that you can do it if you rethink where you will get the most return on investment. Between free webinars, toolkits, podcasts (did you know I have one?) and blogs, you have the strategy and best practices that you need to be successful.

Also—no one says you have to go big your first year. Keep it simple and send 1-2 emails, along with preparing posts for social media. Save the Manatee did just that with one email and social posts. In turn, they received 208 gifts and 830 donations after #GivingTuesday. I’d say they did pretty well!

#4 We’ll lose our donors and cannibalize our EOY list.

Actually, research from 2014 shows that most #GivingTuesday donors are new. This means that odds point to you gaining new supporters. The trick is keeping them with a stewardship plan. This can be as simple as a sincere donation autoresponder (this is not just a receipt), a couple ‘thank you’ posts on social media, and a follow up email on November 30. Keep in mind, #GivingTuesday is like a special event. Donors typically see it as a one-time special gift and not part of their annual giving. Believe it or not, if I were still working at a nonprofit, I would argue that we should solicit the #GivingTuesday donors again in December, but that’s another post.

In the #GivingTuesday Trends report, Steve MacLaughlin says, “Make no mistake, #GivingTuesday is now part of the media lexicon and each year the coverage on the international, national, and local level only continues to grow. This generates a tremendous amount of awareness for donors regardless of whether or not their charity of choice chooses to participate.”

If you’re reading this thinking “yes, I get it, but how do I change people’s minds?!” I invite you to join me on September 20 on my webinar: The #Nofilter Truth About #GivingTuesday and Why You Need to Show Up. If you happen to stumble upon this blog after September 20, you can download the webinar by visiting this page.

EOY Fundraising Toolkit



Danielle Johnson-Vermenton, CFRE, is the Director, Nonprofit Strategy at PMX Agency and is often called to present at events like Digital Leap, AFP Planet Philanthropy and BBCON.  Prior to PMX Agency, Danielle worked in nonprofit technology at Blackbaud for 7 years and for 13 years with boots on the ground in roles such as director of individual giving at Boys & Girls Clubs, leadership giving manager at the Red Cross and director of development at HUGS for Kids. Danielle’s passion is inspiring nonprofits to have a plan for today with a grand vision for tomorrow. You can follow Danielle @DJVermenton and on Facebook at

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