A record number of sign-ups by Australian community groups and not-for-profits keen to get involved in Giving Tuesday is attributable in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to campaign organisers.
Five weeks ahead of Giving Tuesday on December 1, nearly 400 groups have registered.
“Giving Tuesday is already an online and social media campaign, so it translates well to the current environment,” said Our Community’s Alex McMillan, who is coordinating Australia’s involvement in the global movement.
The day was first envisaged in the United States in 2012 as an antidote to the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” online shopping frenzies. In 2020, it has taken on heightened significance as not-for-profits grapple with increased demand for services as well as restrictions on fundraising and volunteer involvement during the COVID-19 crisis.
At a time when some donors are nervous about finances, Giving Tuesday has evolved as a campaign that is not just about raising money, but also provides an opportunity for supporters to give in other ways, such as through volunteering and advocacy.
Fundraising remains a crucial part of the effort. Last year, the global campaign – largely driven by social media under the #GivingTuesday banner – raised more than $700 million, up more than a quarter on 2018. Significantly, global data reveals that Giving Tuesday adds to the pool of funds raised, rather than siphoning or cannibalising donations from elsewhere.
In 2019, nearly 300 Australian organisations conducted a huge range of Giving Tuesday campaigns, raising millions of dollars and thousands of hours of volunteer effort, alongside national TV, radio and print coverage and a social media blitz (using #GivingTuesdayAUS).
Among the success stories was regional Victorian animal welfare charity Edgar’s Mission, which used Giving Tuesday to activate social media ambassadors and blitz its $33,000 target by nearly $20,000. Founder Pam Ahern was “over the moon” with its first foray.
Elsewhere, the Ballet Theatre of Queensland campaigned for $10,000 for tutus, the Royal Melbourne Hospital Good Friday Appeal sought $100,000 for specialist equipment, and volunteers from Knitted Knockers Australia got the needles clicking to make knitted prosthetic breasts for cancer survivors.
Fundraising Institute Australia CEO Katherine Raskob said the campaign tapped into the Aussie instinct to help in the lead-up to the giving season, attracting many FIA members and smaller charities to the fold.
And she said the event was about far more than just raising money.
“It’s also about encouraging philanthropy, volunteering, lending one’s voice and getting people to think about what’s really important. It’s also a chance to make a statement that a modest gift can be transformative,” Raskob said.
Alex McMillan said Our Community was approached by the event’s global coordinators in 2018 to promote the event in Australia.
That invitation was on the back of Our Community’s credentials as the host of the low-cost donations platform GiveNow, and in line with its mission to help not-for-profits with training, resources, fundraising, grants funding, data science and campaigns.
“We’ve used our background in this kind of work to help more groups get on board the Giving Tuesday train,” Ms McMillan said.
That effort includes free webinars, campaign guidance, plug-and-play media releases and graphics, social media strategies, mainstream media promotion, and a “generosity registry” that matches would-be donors with organisations.