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Giving Tuesday: A Brief History & How to Plan

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Throughout the year, churches have numerous holidays to prepare for. From Thanksgiving and Christmas during the winter season to summer festivities with fireworks and outdoor cookouts, these special days often revolve around giving back. One such day that emphasizes generosity is Giving Tuesday — often stylized as #GivingTuesday.

This holiday is dedicated to celebrating acts of giving. In this article, we will explore what Giving Tuesday is and provide tips on how to plan for this year’s event to ensure a resounding success.

What Is Giving Tuesday?

To gain a better understanding of this annual event, let’s turn to the official source for insights. As stated on the Giving Tuesday website:

GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Giving Tuesday holds a special significance for several reasons. It was established in 2012 by two organizations, the United Nations Foundation and 92nd Street Y, a community center in Manhattan.

The purpose behind its creation was to counterbalance the excessive consumerism and commercialization associated with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Utilizing the influence of social media and technology, the creators devised viral campaigns that transcend geographical boundaries, resulting in a global movement of giving.

Its impact resonates with individuals worldwide, extending far beyond its initial inception.

Why Is Giving Tuesday Close to the Holidays?

In the United States, we know the Friday after Thanksgiving as the largest shopping day of the year, followed closely by Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday, as mentioned earlier, was established to counterbalance the excessive spending during the holiday season while simultaneously fostering positive change in the world.

The specific dates of Giving Tuesday may vary each year, depending on the date of Thanksgiving, but it consistently falls within the five-day period after Thanksgiving, typically spanning from November 27 to December 3.

What Takes Place on Giving Tuesday?

According to the Giving Tuesday website, donations witnessed a substantial increase of 69 percent from 2016 to 2017, amounting to approximately $300 million. Giving also takes various forms, extending beyond monetary contributions.

Individuals are encouraged to donate their time, become advocates in their communities, contribute food and goods, or perform small acts of kindness. The mentioned statistics reflect the generosity of monetary donations, but there are diverse ways people engage in giving back.

How to Plan for Giving Tuesday

For faith-based organizations, whether you are a business, church, non-profit, or an individual seeking to contribute, there are vital steps to prepare and plan for Giving Tuesday. In the following sections, we will specifically address the strategies applicable to faith-based organizations.

Start Far in Advance

To ensure successful participation and inspire others, it’s crucial to start early. Give people ample time to prepare by setting goals for your fundraiser, selecting trustworthy participants, assessing your available resources (such as time and budget), and if possible, creating a fundraising page to communicate your cause and reach a wider audience effectively.

Regardless of your role or preferred method of involvement, early preparation lays the foundation for a meaningful and impactful Giving Tuesday experience.

Check Out the Movement’s Website

For inspiration, ideas, and guidance, the Giving Tuesday website is the ideal starting point. It offers a wealth of resources to help you effectively implement your plan. From online tools and updates, to support and a variety of helpful materials, you’ll find everything you need to ensure a successful Giving Tuesday initiative. Explore the website and make use of these valuable resources to make sure your efforts go according to plan.

Inspiring Giving Within the Church

Several Bible verses can inspire others regarding the joy of giving, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. These verses capture the spirit of gratitude and generosity that resonate with this season. Here is a selection of verses you can share with your members to encourage their participation in the Giving Tuesday event and ignite their excitement for giving back:

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Proverbs 11:25

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

1 Chronicles 29:14

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

Proverbs 18:16

A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

These verses serve as a starting point and offer valuable guidance, especially during the holiday season and when discussing the significance of Giving Tuesday.

Try Something New

To inspire others to participate in giving, creativity is critical. While some individuals have a natural inclination to give, it is important to create an inclusive campaign that encourages everyone to participate. This requires a combination of creativity and passion. Here are some examples of how to generate interest:

Utilize Social Media

Harness the power of social media to engage your church members, regardless of their age. Create a hashtag campaign, utilize Instagram stories, and go live on Facebook to involve and encourage members to share your campaign. Social media is an incredibly effective tool for reaching a large audience and spreading your message.

Its potential to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people should not be underestimated, as emphasized by a Forbes expert:

According to Pew Internet Research, Facebook is the most widely used social media platform by Americans who are online. Facebook constitutes 79% of American internet users, Instagram constitutes 32% of users, Pinterest 31%, and LinkedIn and Twitter constitute 29% and 24% respectively.

Any campaign has the potential to go viral. If this happens, all bets are off. Many viral posts have seen millions of views and shares. It only takes once to see the insane power of social media.

Make an Event Happen

Engage people who prefer in-person events by organizing activities that attract donations from members and non-members. Consider hosting a walk-a-thon where participants gather pledges from their social circles, including friends and family outside the church.

Another idea is to plan a special meal for the public, where church members donate their time and each plate is sold at a designated price. This way, guests know that their payment contributes to your church’s Giving Tuesday campaign. These event suggestions extend beyond your church membership, allowing a broader audience to participate and contribute.

The Giving Tuesday website also offers various examples tailored to faith-based organizations. For instance, a church in Chicago implemented a Giving Tree concept. Members could select wish list items from under the tree and donate them to needy children. Additionally, they organized a wrapping get-together on Giving Tuesday to ensure the timely delivery of the presents.

Use Church Donation Management Software

To enhance donations for your Giving Tuesday campaign, utilizing church donation management software can be highly beneficial. One such innovative solution is provided by DonorWerx. With this platform, you can:

  • Accept donations through various channels, including online, mobile app, text, and giving kiosks (also known as “ATMs for Jesus”).
  • Create distinct donation categories, efficiently manage giving campaigns across multiple church campuses, and generate comprehensive giving reports each quarter.
  • Customize your church branding within the donation platform, as research indicates that donors are 42% more likely to contribute when the donation page aligns with the church’s overall look and brand.
  • Ultimately surpass your church’s funding needs by leveraging the powerful features and capabilities offered by DonorWerx’s church giving software.

Implementing this software can streamline and maximize the giving process, giving your church the tools to achieve its financial objectives effectively.

Make Up Your Own Strategies

Injecting your unique perspective into Giving Tuesday is a natural and authentic approach. Take inspiration from an organization that coordinated the construction of a tent school in Syria. Select a cause that resonates with you, even if it addresses your own church’s requirements.

If you’ve been harboring a fundraiser concept but weren’t sure how to initiate it, Giving Tuesday offers an ideal platform to bring your ideas to life. Use this opportunity to build upon your ideas and contribute to the spirit of generosity and giving.

Sometimes, It Really Is Who You Know

Utilizing your connections can be a powerful way to raise funds. If you have influential friends who can help spread the word, don’t hesitate to leverage those relationships to your advantage. This approach is not about taking advantage but rather establishing a reciprocal dynamic where support is given when needed.

Asking for assistance in spreading the word is not the same as soliciting donations, but having friends or acquaintances who can lend a hand is a valuable asset. Additionally, implementing match incentives can effectively inspire your members to give more when they witness the growing number of donations.

Go Forth and Spread the Word!

To ensure the success of your campaign, it’s crucial to have a well-thought-out plan and create awareness among your members. Start your plan in early November, with the week before the campaign being particularly important. During this time, maximize sharing and discussion about your campaign.

Utilize various tools to capture attention. Visual elements such as graphics and colorful infographics on your website or page can be more engaging than plain text. Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Encourage your members to share the campaign through social media, conversations, and other means to keep it in mind and constantly spread the word.

With careful planning, creativity, and unwavering determination, you can make this year’s Giving Tuesday a resounding success for your organization.

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