I’m writing this on Black Friday, the first of three “named” days in the run up to the December holidays. It’s called Black Friday now because so many of us go shopping today that retailers finally hit the profitability point for the year. Mr. Stevens and I are no exception, although we tend to spend a lot more time eating and drinking than shopping. The shopping is just a good excuse for the kids to be psyched we are gone all day.
Next up is Cyber Monday, which I find a very humorous holiday since Cyber Saturday has a much better ring to it. But instead of going online the day after hitting the stores, researchers noticed a funny trend in 2005. We wait until we go to work on Monday and then we go online to shop. Why? The theory is that the kids can’t see what you buy and the Internet connection at work was historically faster. It remains the largest online shopping day of the year.
Which brings us to the third named day, and the new kid on the block, Giving Tuesday, which started in 2012 and is credited to Henry Timms at the 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations. It was imagined as a day of global acts of good occurring the first Tuesday after American Thanksgiving. Last year, an estimated $2.5B was donated in that 24 hour period by 35 million people. The data that most surprised me? Statistics show that 82% of participants were between the ages of 18-34. That might be due to the ubiquitous hashtag that gets billions of impressions on social media. What a slight majority of participants say is that they choose to give on this day because they like being part of a greater movement of people doing good.
What we’ve seen at WeSpire is that having signature events and larger causes to rally around does increase participation and impact. As a result, we strongly recommend that organizations with giving programs consider aligning an effort with Giving Tuesday. It could be increasing an employee match for the day or sponsoring a company volunteering event. It could be selecting a specific charity partner or set of partners to promote. It’s also well-timed to remind those who have match dollars remaining for the year how to use them. You can also ask employees to nominate charities, have people vote and select the top vote getters for a company gift.
The other approach, that one of our clients takes, is something I think every company with a giving program should consider. They give their employees an amount to donate, rather than waiting for them to donate their own funds and match. The result is that participation skyrockets. It’s also more equitable, given an estimated 63% of employees live paycheck to paycheck and may not have the capacity to donate or feel that what they can give is too small to matter.
However you approach it, personally or professionally, in this season of giving, I highly recommend participating in Giving Tuesday. Your gift helps charities deliver essential services during a time when the demand is higher than ever. It will also bring you personal benefits at a time that can be festive, but also stressful or filled with complicated dynamics. People who give to charities feel happier, have greater self-esteem, and feel more satisfied with their lives. In one research study, the benefit of giving was greater than doubling your income.
So with three days to go, it’s not too late to gear up to #GivingTuesday. We look forward to seeing what you do.
Quote of the Week: “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”Mary Anne Radmacher