The Season Of Goodwill
Having stocked up on discounted electronics, acquired all necessary stocking fillers, and checked out more online shopping baskets than you can shake a candy cane at, consumers might have thought that was it until Christmas. But brands have been preparing for the next day of festive spending, as stepping up smartly on the heels of Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday comes #GivingTuesday. Started in 2012 in the U.S, #GivingTuesday is now a global event in over 70 countries, where consumers make their cash go a little further in the spirit of the season. The massive fundraising event has taken place in the UK for the last two years, and last year broke the world record for the most money donated online in 24 hours, with £6000 raised every minute for UK charities.
Commanding the Twittersphere for the whole day, and spanning several platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and not to mention the #GivingTuesday website, the day of donating slots neatly in after the Black Friday weekend, taking advantage of people’s seasonal spirit and increased spending. But what makes the campaign so successful? “According to our latest research, about a quarter of people were expected to do some Black Friday shopping. But that same research laid out just how generous people are at this time of year, with one in six planning to do some volunteering over the Christmas period.” Says Kim Roberts, campaign lead, #GivingTuesday. For many, the holiday season is synonymous with charitable acts, and #GivingTuesday calls fundraisers together under the same banner, creating a massive impact worldwide.
Black Friday may have started out as a measurement of footfall and sales in-store, but #GivingTuesday was born straight into the digital age. “[…] at its very core [it’s] an online campaign.” Continues Roberts. “We always knew we were going to have a limited budget and a small team to run this campaign, and so the best way to scale it up was to use social media and other channels to do so.” And as Black Friday has moved online, it has brought the savvy seasonal shoppers face to face with the blossoming #GivingTuesday campaign, making it easier to start and sustain those online conversations, and increasing the number of potential customer touchpoints.
Kathryn Toner, head of Individual Giving at Cancer Research UK, says: “This year, our Giving Tuesday campaign is focused around social media. Giving is all about considering the people around you and the needs our society has, so it makes sense that our Giving Tuesday campaign is held in a social environment where people can share their #GivingFeelsGood moments with each other, and collectively celebrate all the ways people can get behind the cause to beat cancer sooner.”
Digital Donation: The Future Of Charity?
Charitable and not-for-profit organisations are taking to the digital sphere with increasing regularity. “It’s incredibly important for charities to have a digital presence. Whether it’s for work, shopping, paying bills, or staying in touch with friends, people use digital technology all day, every day. If charities are going to stay relevant, we need to be visible on the devices, platforms and channels that people use most.” Says Toner. In a fast-paced world, charities need to make the leap into the consumer’s space to make those engagements possible.
“We should never underestimate offline activity – that is still the most popular way of donating to a charity – but having a digital presence allows you to reach a wider audience, and to talk to new supporters.” Says Roberts. A lot of charities have very similar values and messages that they put out to generate leads. By developing their online presence, a charity can craft a brand personality that sets them apart, allowing them to more easily communicate with their potential donors. “[#GivingTuesday] create[s] a buzz by trending online, having a media presence and mobilising supporters, which then opens up the digital space for charities […] to some degree it also levels the playing field. Last year on #GivingTuesday the second most popular Twitter handle behind ours was @MKComFoundation – Milton Keynes Community Foundation. It just goes to show that even if you’re small, if you use digital right you can have a big impact.”
#GivingTuesday’s success is in part down to the simplicity with which others can get on board. “Over 1,500 organisations take part in the day, including major brands like Sainsbury’s, BT, ITV and Costa, as well as charities like Cancer Research and Save The Children.” Says Roberts. But even smaller brands and charities can get on board, since, thanks to the proclivity of social media, the approach can be so flexible: “One of the best things about #GivingTuesday is that there are no barriers to entry; it doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still sign up. And we won’t tell you what to do; you can do what suits you.”
Any advice for smaller charities going forward? “If you want to make a success of the day then approach it as you would any other campaign,” says Roberts. “Do your research about what works and what doesn’t – you can find tips on our website, set objectives, and develop a strong call to action.”