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3 min Read
September 20, 2022

Approaching GivingTuesday with a collective lens

This year marks the tenth anniversary of GivingTuesday, which describes itself as a global movement with a goal “to make giving more central in daily life.” As you consider your plans for this year’s event on November 29, 2022, we continue to invite you to bring a spirit of abundance and consider how you can use this day to educate and inspire your supporters beyond your mission.

Last year, I noticed more organizations “celebrating” Giving Tuesday by amplifying other nonprofits their donors can support, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, and Forward Through Ferguson. This approach embodies several of the principles of the Community-Centric Fundraising movement, particularly the second and third principles, which suggest “the community is best served if we see ourselves as part of a larger ecosystem working collectively to build a just society” and that “we must collaborate with organizations whose missions are interconnected with ours and support them to ensure they are also strong.”

GivingTuesday campaigns can easily spark competition and fall into the nonprofit hunger games trap identified by Vu Le (he/him) in 2015. Last year, Nikkia Johnson (she/her) provided several ways to rethink how your organization participates in GivingTuesday on the Community-Centric Fundraising content hub, including highlighting partners and movements: “Not only will shifting the focus highlight that our individual organizational missions are not as important as the collective community — doing so uses your organizations’ power to amplify your partners and show the interconnectedness of our work, our organizations, and communities.” 

As you make our plans for this year’s giving season, consider how you can spark generosity among your community as part of something larger. Fight the fear that donors will stop giving to you when they learn about other great organizations that do similar work and consider how taking this approach will get donors to see you as a collaborator and appreciate how they can support you and others they will be motivated by.

To help spark some ideas, I put a few calls out on Twitter and LinkedIn for some examples. Here are some of the ideas and comments I received:

  • Rather than fundraising for their organization, the HELP International team decided to fundraise for Team Humanity, a smaller organization doing similar work. “We recognize that it is together, not through division, that we can meet the needs of the people that need help the most.” 
  • Adam Sher (he/him) of the Jewish Studio Project (JSP), asked “What if GivingTuesday was really about giving, rather than receiving? What if the nonprofit sector was about philanthropy manifested in virtuous circles of generosity and the redemption of capital, rather than focused on power dynamics? What if we could develop a model of ‘solidarity fundraising’?” With those questions in mind, JSP decided that as a national organization with roots in Berkeley CA, they would direct their community to give to the Sogorea’te Land Trust, an organization led by indigenous women doing rematriation, cultural revitalization, and land restoration work. Once they identified this organization, they made sure to get their permission and guidelines from them, particularly as GivingTuesday is so close to Thanksgiving/National Day of Mourning and Indigenous Peoples Day.
  • Moose Jaw Humane Society organized a drive for new socks + slippers for the Moose Jaw Transition House and Riverside Mission. “As a nonprofit  we are almost always on the receiving end, participating in #GivingTuesday allows us to give back to the community.”
  • Alyssa Wright (she/her) focused on welcoming the next generation of generosity for the Hilltown Youth Theatre by “sharing stories that highlighted some of the creative ways in which they think about giving back. In response, some of our longest-term donors wrote letters and messages to brand new donors too, welcoming them to the cause/organization.” 

Kathleen Murphy Toms (she/her), Director of Digital Strategy at GivingTuesday, shares that “#GivingTuesday is about expressing radical generosity and that includes considering ways that nonprofits can give as well. We need to be acting collectively if we’re gonna build the world we want to live in and our team is hoping to ‘go big’ on illustrating this concept this year.” To get more examples and ideas, visit the GivingTuesday resource hub on their site and the tips and tools from Classy, too.