GivingTuesday is a global initiative that encourages people and organizations to devote their time and money to charitable causes after Thanksgiving. It was launched in 2012 as a joint venture of New York City’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. Over the past decade, nonprofit organizations have used GivingTuesday as a foundation for fundraisers and initiatives around their causes. This comes as no surprise, given that associating with such a recognized initiative can significantly affect branding, which is a key element in an nonprofit’s success.
Why Branding is Essential for Nonprofits
Effective branding is an essential feature of any successful nonprofit. Without a recognized brand, causes lack the support and traffic to get their initiatives off the ground.
For nonprofits, branding is also what can set them apart and get their messages heard in today’s crowded nonprofit marketplace.
Branding is so important for nonprofits that skilled brand managers and executive directors are usually appointed as key team members. A brand manager is in charge of developing, implementing, and executing marketing initiatives. These individuals have expert marketing, consumer behavior, and analytics knowledge forged from years of hands-on experience. Meanwhile, exceptional guidance from an executive director provides a 360-degree multifaceted leadership approach to building brand values.
It is also the above professionals who usually work with the development office to promote opportunities like GivingTuesday. That said, while branding is critical for nonprofits, being a part of GivingTuesday may not be.
Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
Pros that GivingTuesday Provides Nonprofit Branding
Participating in GivingTuesday will significantly increase your visibility, as anchoring onto such a recognized event makes it easy for potential donors and volunteers to support your nonprofit.
Since most GivingTuesday efforts are shared online, it also offers a great conversation starter that your brand manager can optimize in order to build communities with like-minded folk. This is an integral part of branding, as it is only with clear and active communication that nonprofits can share their values and mission. With this in mind, statistics from Nonprofits Source shows that 55% of people who engaged in social media took action, illustrating the power of harnessing the online impact of initiatives like GivingTuesday.
Openly supporting a widely known effort like GivingTuesday immediately positions your nonprofit as a trustworthy entity with a goal for positive change. This is because many people perceive this event as a chance to give back, and so anyone who associates with it can benefit from being viewed in the same light. Case in point, in last year’s GivingTuesday, a record $3.1 billion for charities was raised. This milestone was reached during the event’s tenth anniversary, proving how far the initiative has gone since its inception. In addition, joining such a well-known initiative can lead to long-term support.
Cons that GivingTuesday Creates for Nonprofit Branding
The global nature of GivingTuesday will no doubt create a surge in marketing and promotional activities. Regardless, your cause and ideals may be lost in translation through all the excitement, and your nonprofit may be perceived as another organization looking to take advantage of the extra publicity. This is an unfortunate drawback of raising money hinged on highly publicized efforts and could be a reason why your organization should skip the event altogether.
In addition, if you already have existing digital fundraising initiatives, this may interfere with your nonprofit’s brand identity. National research and data on nonprofits shows that nonprofits struggle to hire enough employees to provide vital services for the public. Since executive directors make the final decisions, they should be wary of focusing all the nonprofit’s attention on events like GivingTuesday, as this could run the risk of spreading your team too thin. Devoting significant resources, time, and hours of hard work to this one-time event could be too much for everyday operations and could compromise your long-term goals and erode your brand.
Considering all the potential advantages and drawbacks of GivingTuesday to your nonprofit brand is important. Although it may seem like an exciting initiative online and there may be pressure from board and staff to participate, GivingTuesday may not always serve a nonprofit’s best interests.
About the Author
Rayssa Jillian is a freelance business consultant and writer. Her love for writing has allowed her to share her thoughts and knowledge on topics she is passionate about, such as business, finance, and community-building advocacies. In her free time, she volunteers as a youth coach at local community centers.