In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday, a counterpunch to consumerism started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. People around the world are encouraged to donate to worthy causes, and some noteworthy names have been leading the charge; you may remember that last year, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced their intention to donate 99% of their wealth on this day (though the announcement contained no explicit mention of Giving Tuesday). According to the Giving Tuesday website, in 2015 over 700,000 people raised $116 million online. Because of its success, the movement was recently inducted into the PR News Platinum Hall of Fame.
Clearly, such a day is a boon to organizations that survive on donations, but it creates a crowded marketplace. How can a group effectively publicize its need for those donor dollars? PR pros can glean ideas from some of the campaigns at work this year:
- At the Baltimore Humane Society, staff and volunteers are locking themselves in the animal cages, a literal lock-in to symbolize that the organization is shackled without the help of the giving community. Its goal: $15,000 raised.
- QVC is lending its considerable reach to global nonprofit Nest by offering a unique shirt from Peace Love World, profits of which will go to help the social and economic advancement of women.
- Another brand/nonprofit partnership: Sanrio and The Humane Society of the United States. Limited edition tote bags and cookies are on offer from the Hello Kitty brand, a portion of profits fittingly going toward real animals from those of the cartoon variety.
- Oscar-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou is lending his voice (literally) to the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, a 360-degree virtual reality tour that spreads awareness of blindness prevention.
- Blackbaud, a founding partner of #GivingTuesday, will have a "command center" at NASDAQ studio in NYC to monitor donation data and publicize it through traditional media and Facebook Live, hoping to create a snowball effect of awareness and further giving.
- Some organizations are emphasizing awareness over donations, such as the USC Shoah Foundation, which is exhorting people to "share on social media how testimony from the Visual History Archive inspires you to promote tolerance" using the hashtag #BeginsWithMe
Tech, brand or celebrity tie-ins, social media and good old-fashioned ingenuity are a common theme in these campaigns. If you work with a nonprofit, chances are you are already watching these efforts closely to see results; if you're with a brand, consider keeping close tabs to better inform your CSR efforts; there are many organizations without a corporate partner that could use one, and it doesn't hurt to cultivate a little goodwill while helping to make the world a better place.
Follow Ian on Twitter: @ianwright0101