Can you hear it? The holiday drumbeat has begun. It’s a long march up the hill towards Thanksgiving, ‘round the curve past Black Friday, down the path by Cyber Monday, and then onwards to Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and beyond. Plus New Year’s.
But sandwiched in between all of this celebration is a quiet observance that trumps them all. #GivingTuesday was founded as a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
Last year on #GivingTuesday, online giving increased 90% for 3,800 nonprofits–more than $19.2 million–compared to 2012, according to Blackbaud, a nonprofit technology provider and partner of #GivingTuesday.
#GivingTuesday offers companies an ideal way to attract employee participation in their corporate giving programs and to connect with their communities. According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), an early partner and endorser of #GivingTuesday, businesses should approach Giving Tuesday with the following goals in mind:
#GivingTuesday offers a way to share the good news of your company’s investments in the community around it, either celebrating recent progress or future plans. Think of #GivingTuesday as a way to reach a goal and create awareness by joining in on the natural energy of the day.
This observance also fosters a way to engage the community around you to ask what it is doing to recognize the day. What matters to them? This can be an important moment to listen to the needs of your key audiences. You may push out information about your community programs all year long, but this can be a day to let others do the talking and receive invaluable feedback in the process.
Focus on engaging your employees and senior leaders. For example:
Remind employees of your matching policy, and encourage them to make a gift on #GivingTuesday.
Share with employees data showing results and impact from your community initiatives and opportunities for the coming year.
Ask an active employee to tell a story about what the company’s community investment means to them through your Intranet site or company newsletter.
Encourage employees to use the hashtag; educate them on what #GivingTuesday is, and let them run with it!
Focus on engaging your customers, supply chain, and/or the general public. For example:
Announce a commitment on #GivingTuesday. If you’ve got a bold plan in the works, hold it and announce it on the day.
Summarize a few of your proudest moments working with the community over the last year and celebrate those through an op-ed in the local paper.
Work with your nonprofit partners to develop a plan to celebrate together.
Ask customers through Twitter and other social media channels how they are recognizing the day. Ask them to send “un-selfies” (images of themselves sharing how they will give back). Ask how they want the company to engage in the community.
Double the Donation recently gathered insights from business leaders (including me) regarding how organizations can make #GivingTuesday a success. Here’s what a few of us had to say:
Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast: “The number one thing people forget? A great employee giving and volunteering campaign comes down to being able to tap into both employee passion and expertise. Everything you do has to be authentic, meaningful and relevant, or your impact will be next to zero. No one will want to play with you next year if you don’t engage their hearts and minds. So ask your employees what they love, what they care about, and then build a campaign that captures and delivers upon that spirit.”
Chris Jarvis, Senior Partner, and Corey Diamond, Partner, from RealizedWorth: “The paradigm is shifting – clearly, companies that facilitate giving without engaging their staff are missing a large part of the equation. Matching gift programs, Dollar for Doer initiatives and working with employees to choose the causes to support are revolutionizing how a company gives to not-for-profits. Companies now want to see how many hands touch the dollar bill before it goes out the door.”
Megan Reile, Sales & Marketing Director at 360Alumni says: “#GivingTuesday is a fantastic opportunity for individuals and corporations to raise non-profit support. Following Cyber Monday, which is a consumption-driven whirlwind, #GivingTuesday is a chance to give back to non-profits worldwide, and remember the true spirit of the holidays. #GivingTuesday is especially impactful in engaging Millennials, those born after 1979. According to Achieve’s Millennial Impact report, 87% of millennials donated to a non-profit in 2013, and 55% of millennials were influenced to take the job they currently have after discussing cause work with their interviewer. Millennials want to give back, so why not utilize the cause to encourage them? And using corporate matching programs gives these individuals the emotional satisfaction in knowing that their dollar went even farther, often doubled. What better motivation for action?”
So what does observing #GivingTuesday look like for corporations? Last year, Discovery Communications broadcasted PSAs across Discovery’s global networks and promoted an employee donation matching program benefiting victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Bank of America partnered with Feeding America as the exclusive sponsor of its holiday Give A Meal campaign to help the 49 million Americans who struggle with hunger. For every dollar contributed from November 18 through January 10, Bank of America donated $2 more, up to a total match of $1,500,000. And Adobe pledged to rally support for nonprofits in local communities selected by employees at each of their largest offices. These ranged from volunteering at a local food bank in San Jose, California, to helping orphans in developing countries at a charity based in Ottawa, to supporting cancer research in Singapore.
Last year, many CECP-affiliated companies invested in their communities in honor of #GivingTuesday through matching gifts, employee days of service, and renewed partnerships across sectors, among many other projects.
So in between your trick or treating and Christmas shopping, start giving thought to what your company can do on #GivingTuesday to join this inspiring and effective global movement. Amidst a season of much celebration, this day can be the most rewarding of all.
This article was written by Ryan Scott from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.