Giving Tuesday

by Jini Stolk

Mea culpa. I was intending to write about Giving Tuesday in time to offer a little practical advice to those of you wading in this year. But by the time you get this it will all have been either a grand success or a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps I can help you analyze where you went wrong, or right, for next year.

First of all, I was a bit surprised by the large number of Black Friday pitches by performing arts companies. It reinforced the sector’s entrepreneurial, revenue-focused talents, but wouldn’t it be lovely to change the name of the ominous and negative sounding Black Friday, which calls up the image of a dark cloud of enforced shopping? Could we call it Sparkling Silvery Friday where arts organizations are concerned?

By whatever name, the variety of offers from companies large and small, from gift certificates (Stratford, very appealing offer), concert tickets (Tafelmusik 40% off; Koerner Hall 20% off but with a large choice of concerts), subscriptions, recordings and swag was impressive.

For Giving Tuesday, Canada Helps was much involved in promoting the “movement” and providing advice for participating companies and donors. Appeals varied, with Harbourfront’s unique gift offers being particularly creative. Most companies just appealed for donations, or asked for year-end gifts. Here are some good online giving tips for Giving Tuesday and beyond. Here’s a summary of methods used by Giving Tuesday 2013 participants whose campaigns were particularly successful, including integrating it with existing campaigns and persuading a local corporation to match pledges. TechSoup Canada provided a super useful checklist of things to do in the month leading up to Giving Tuesday.

This is an excellent reminder that visual images always trump text in reaching out and telling our stories: it’s part of our brains’ hardwiring!

This Imagine study says that a majority of Canadians plan to give to charity this holiday season, but that many are concerned that their donations will support overhead! On that hoary topic, read this spirited and very funny defense of general operating funds, without which no charity can successfully deliver services or value.

And this reminds us that you can’t reinvent the wheel around the core activities of fundraising. What is important is to first understand what the wheel looks like and then manage the process with passion and vigilance.

The Vigilant Fundraiser: 12 Steps to Fundraising Success is available by clicking here to order; it costs $24.95.

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