“Black Friday”, “Small Business Saturday”, and “Cyber Monday” are the invented seasonal economic marketing boosts that you’ve probably heard way too much about over the past few weeks. They have inspired both competition and opposition. “Civilized Saturday” – a new twist invented by booksellers in the UK, encourages you to buy what else but…books! (Somehow I see them secretly pulling out e-readers when no one is looking and downloading the latest best seller).
Then there is “International Buy Nothing Day” – I think this one is quite self-explanatory in purpose, and it is ironically and quite intentionally scheduled on the same day as “Black Friday”. As if that was not enough now there is also “Green Monday”– which is the second Monday in December and was coined after research showed it to be one of the actual busiest shopping days, so now retailers proudly bring that to your attention and have green Monday sales along with Black Friday sales. And here I thought the green in the title implied that it was an environmentally aware consumer messaging day. Nope.
Then on Dec. 1st came “Giving Tuesday”, the day to kick off the “donation season” and a day to encourage donating, volunteering, and contributing to the community. Non-profits are of course all over this one. “Giving Tuesday” is the brain child of the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation and was created back in 2012 as a response to the abject consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
And it is catching on. According to Beth Kanter @ www.bethkanter.org, in 2015 Black Friday sales were down 11% and Giving Tuesday donations were up 52% in the US. Canada launched their own version of Giving Tuesday in 2013 to great success, with those agencies participating in promoting the event, seeing an average increase in the number of donations of 93% in Canada. Wow, that’s an impressive stat! http://givingtuesday.ca
In 2015 Giving Tuesday received a huge boost in notoriety when it was chosen as the day that Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife Pricilla Chan announced they would be donating 99% of their Facebook shares over the next 20 years. This was announced where else but on Facebook, and may end up being one of the largest personal donations ever. Yes lots of controversy about what their potential motivation is, but for now let’s just let them be applauded for their philanthropy. There is also much discussion that other billionaires may be inspired to follow suit.
But wait there is still more. After all of this consumption and online giving someone finally thought to create “Thank You Wednesday”. “Thank You Wednesday” is the day after Giving Tuesday and is created to remind us non-profits of the importance of engaging and thanking our community and not just once per year. Now this is a day I can get behind!
If you don’t already have a system in place there are now webinars you can take on how to link gratitude to your overall message and brand, and to employ it with donors so they feel connected to your organization. https://hello.blackbaud.com/GivingTuesday2014.html
Here are some of their ideas you may try to boost your thank you messages to your stakeholders and supporters.
- Create a thank you video and upload to social media.
- Write and send a gratitude letter
- Write a story about how a donation impacted a specific cause or client and share it (with their permission of course)
- Surprise your staff by bringing in coffee and healthy treats
- Mail homemade cards to your supporters
- Host a donor’s dinner that you have catered, or even better cook yourselves
- Take your volunteer board members out to lunch or dinner in advance of your next meeting
The holiday season is largely based on benevolence and good will. Getting in on the “Giving Tuesday” bandwagon could be a great economic boost to your agencies donation program. Hopefully you will then also employ some goodwill of your own by creating a thoughtful and unique way to acknowledge those that support you, not just through donations but with their time, and heed the spirit of “Thank you Wednesday”.
The creation of dedicated days with clever hashtags to encourage us consumers to shop, purchase online, buy books and donate to causes we believe in, seems now to be an entrenched part of our holiday calendars. You can even choose to participate instead in “Buy Nothing Day”.
Maybe then we can have #EnoughAlreadyThursday.