UPDATE: Getting Ready For Giving Tuesday


By: Sarah Marczynski

In: Development

In October, 2015, I wrote an ArtsHacker article all about preparing your organization for Giving Tuesday.  Now in it’s 5th year, it’s on November 29, a few days earlier than last year. Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (as in Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday).  It is designed to kick off the last bit of charitable giving for the year and create a sort-of party atmosphere around giving.

Giving Tuesday

According to GivingTuesday.org, over 700,000 people in 70 countries raised more than $116,000,000. I’m certain there are arts organizations the country over who could certainly benefit from a tiny portion of that.

With a little less than a month to go, you should be thinking about what you’re doing.

  • Consider asking for something fun that wouldn’t usually get a devoted campaign. Last year, my organization asked donors to buy one music book for a program we were doing in March. Typically, the funds for that program would have come out of my regular budget, but this was an opportunity to promote the program and get some funding for it. Cough drops for singers, water for backstage, paint brushes for an art class…all things that wouldn’t individually get a campaign, but still need to be paid for. This could be perfect.
  • Keep the ask small.  In 2015, the average gift given to arts and culture organizations was $104, down from 2014’s $123. This is probably not the time to ask for the four figure gift. Giving Tuesday is a largely online driven day, so asks need to be something the donor doesn’t need to think much about. Our ask in 2015 was for $7.50 and we raised more than $800, our most successful Giving Tuesday campaign. I really think it’s because donors did not have to consult their bank accounts or set up an installment plan. It was small enough that it was almost like an impulse gift.
  • Publicize it. Everyone just finished getting bombarded with Black Friday deals and calls to become Amazon Prime members on Cyber Monday. So, you’ll need to do a little more PR for your Giving Tuesday campaign than a regular snail mail fundraising campaign. Consider sending e-blasts a week out and the day before or updating your patrons with your progress throughout the day on social media or on your website. Does your campaign focus lend any unique PR opportunities?

Like I said last year, the Internet abounds with helpful tips and information about Giving Tuesday.  A great place to start is the actual Giving Tuesday website.

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Sarah Marczynski
Sarah joined the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera in 2010 working with the Marketing and Development staffs and quickly became interested in community engagement and education. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration focusing in Nonprofit Arts Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where her capstone and other work under Dr. Christopher Horne examined attendance patterns in high-art cultural institutions and network relationships between local arts agencies and cultural partners. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Vocal Music Education from UTC, where she studied under Dr. Kevin Ford and Ron Ulen. Sarah has been active in the Chattanooga arts community, serving as the founding chair of the Chattanooga Young Artistic Network (CYAN), graduating from the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute, and working with the Chattanooga Boys Choir, the Choral Arts Society, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Chattanooga Bach Choir. Outside of the arts world, Sarah pretends to be an excellent cook (but she's broken 2 ovens), reads Jane Austen novels, and watches way too much House of Cards.
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