Another year, another Giving Tuesday! And clearly after the global Cyber Monday bonanza reaching nearly $9 billion in sales, its time for each of your nonprofits to nominate a tribute and play this sector’s most fantastic annual celebration:
Giving Day Hunger Games!
Oh, we’ll fight and scrap for cash, put out marketing materials asking to be one of the organizations the internet gives to globally, and compete with Charity Water, Susan B. Komen, and every entity sending supplies across Europe into the Eastern part of the Ukraine.
But, before you enter the fray, you better consider what character you want to embody as you begin the post-apocalyptic-esque fundraising campaign that is, a giving day!
Choose wisely! For you will need all your strength, wit and endurance to come out unscathed in 24 hours from this online battle for attention and money!
May the odds be ever in your favor! …even though the odds are immensely stacked against you!
An excellent hunter for potential donors, and tremendously resourceful as she wears 10,000 different hats every day. There’s no ONE thing she’s excellent at, but that “can’t quit” attitude is both lauded by others and then taken advantage of by some. Sure, she’ll win in the end, but at what cost? Sanity for one. If you’re a solo staff member with lofty goals, but you’re the only one capable or even actually doing anything about it? You’re a Katniss.
Are you kind and loyal? Do you say yes to more things than you can handle because you are a people pleaser and you just wander around trying to get that one donor to like you more than anything else? Well you’re a Peeta! You’ve probably said yes to participating in Giving Hearts Day because some donor or board member suggested you do because “everyone else is doing it” even though you know it’s gonna slowly kill you from the inside out. But, you’re a good human. And you think about the mission first, not your mental health. Get that dough!
Have you already done a Giving Day…and survived? Has the trauma of working at a nonprofit led you to a life of alcoholism or numbing the pain of working 2 straight weeks prior to the event, then getting up WAY too early for your own health to check on donations coming in and then staying up way too late to see if you’re on a leader board somewhere? Well, then Haymitch is for you! You’ll try and justify still doing giving days by training other nonprofit leaders how to do it. Hell, if you lived through it, you can help others right?
Are you participating in a Giving Day because you think that it will make you look better as an organization? Do you assume once you are successful at said giving day, you can advance your own career as a consultant or start your own nonprofit influencer Instagram page? Well, Effie is for you! Your use of any social media channel to both raise money and the status of your own personal brand to stand out in the very crowded space to get vanity likes and comments, you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons. But, folks are drawn to this kind of thing, so you’ll probably end up kicking ass, and then writing your own quiz that will be picked up by Buzzfeed or something, so kudos my friend!
Are you the organization’s defacto therapist in which everyone in the office comes to, takes off their “business face” and can be themselves for a refreshing 10 minute conversation? Do you get lunch requests leading up to your giving day from co-workers who just need a bit of time to not “play the game and relax” before they have to present in front of the board on the marketing plan as if they know what the marketing plan is going to be with absolute fake confidence? Then you are a Gale! We all love Gale, even though I’m assuming you’re gonna need some LEGIT therapy after burdening yourself with other’s troubles after this event is over.
You reap what you sow. Unless you have someone step up and reap for you because you’re a noobie in the nonprofit world and a co-working hero comes along to volunteer as tribute and takes your place to head the giving day program. Better learn as much as you can. I’m guessing you’ll have work to do in the sequel to this fundraising event. Your softness ain’t gonna work for a giving day, but you’re up to running to Starbucks to get tea for everyone to make up for the lack of things you’re now responsible for.
Did your favorite co-worker quit their job right before the giving day planning began, and now you just gave up on all your office work, leaving the heavy lifting to the other folks at your nonprofit? You’re totally mom. That’s ok. There’s only so much trauma you should be able to take as a nonprofit leader. Sitting back and letting that next generation of fundraisers take over is part of the life cycle.
Are you connected to really important people, but can’t REALLY help in any meaningful way so you give the person who is in charge of all the fundraising for your giving day, like a $5 gift card and say “good luck” and “thinking about you” during the actual event? Well, we all need a Madge in our life to get some good insider baseball about high level donors, and need a friendly face every now and then. But for real, you can show up anytime now.
Are you a bitter nonprofit leader who has taken every course, ready every book, listened to every podcast, and have been volunteering to help with giving days since the beginning of time when giving days began? Is your temper VERY short when others suggest they have an idea that is different than yours because, dammit, you’ve done the research and have trained all year for this 24 hour donor blitz? Well then YOU are a Cato!
Are you reading this as an executive director overseeing your staff execute a delightful display of generosity from others, and watching the nearly mentally incapacitating actions by your staff and volunteers running your nonprofit trying to grab the attention of a global internet to ask for $10? Or have you decided that taking the sponsorship that was sent to your organization in June for something completely different will be the “matching gift” surprise because it falls within the non-spoken rules of the giving day to ensure that it looks like momentum and not some pyramid scheme? Well, then congratulations President Snow, on a job well done!
Whatever Giving Day Hunger Games character you are, just know that…it’s just one day.
You have 364 more days to fundraise and build relationships and talk about your impact to make the community a better place to live.
So don’t fret! These giving days haven’t built a coliseum for you to fight to the death for money…yet.
So participate, enjoy a time where a lot of folks have donations on their mind, but know that big gifts come from those who are aligned well with your vision, and like Rome, isn’t created in a day.