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8 Ideas for nonprofits that don't want to participate in Giving Tuesday

July 24, 2022
3 minutes

Ahhh, Giving Tuesday, a nonprofit's dream! A day made for donations, just as the year-end giving season begins. What more could a nonprofit want? A lot, apparently—every year, we hear loads of nonprofits complain about Giving Tuesday. Some of the more common objections include

  • Giving Tuesday is the epitome of the nonprofit Hunger Games.
  • Giving Tuesday perpetuates inequitable practices. As usual, the lion's share of donations go to louder, richer, more well-funded orgs, the greater part of Facebook funding goes to early-rising orgs, and accessibility challenges exacerbate it all.
  • Some nonprofits think that the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

...But with all the resources out there, and with the proven global generosity on Giving Tuesday, we say that it's worth participating. If you're on the fence or you're certain you don't want nothing to do with Giving Tuesday or your boss reeeeally wants you to do something, here are a few options that leave your Giving Tuesday basket open for donations but your hands free for other efforts.

1. Get the youth involved.

Giving Tuesday's Spark for youth gets your community's youth on board. Unleash their creativity and give them the opportunity to do whatever projects that they choose. Or maybe they'll want to band together and complete a team project. GivingTuesday.com provides ideas, resources, and support.

2. Dive deeper into it.

We've discovered that one way to get a too-small-project done is to to just embrace it. Now, we're not talking about making a big Giving Tuesday campaign, but using Giving Tuesday as a launch pad for the longer year-end giving season, tying it to another campaign, shifting your annual giving day to coincide with Giving Tuesday, or even applying for Giving Tuesday's Starling Collective. In other words; go big or go home.

3. Ask your supporters to take it on.

Get a collective of volunteers to do the work. It's all outlined in our comprehensive Giving Tuesday Toolkit—you should just be able to give them high fives as they go through the steps.

4. Make a tournament out of it.

If you've gotta be part of the nonprofit Hunger Games, you might as well get competitive! Make a peer-to-peer bracket and have fundraisers go head-to-head in deadline-based fundraise-offs. Sweeten it with prizes if you have the ability.

5. Call on the Power of Three

One call to your biggest supporter (maybe they'll match donations), one email, one social post. Schedule them in advance. Forget about it.

6. Be a conscientious objector.

Let supporters know that under no circumstances should they send you donations for Giving Tuesday. Tell them about your upcoming programs and campaigns and events that will need their support and ask that if they do feel compelled to give on Giving Tuesday, that they give in tribute of a cause or human that's near and dear to their heart—not because our capitalistic society and the nonprofit industrial complex is shaming them into giving. Word it however you like, though; that's just off the top of our heads.

7. Do Black Friday or Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday (or all three) instead of Giving Tuesday.

Sell branded swag at a discount, offer shoppers by-donation coffee or hot chocolate while they shop on your community's Main Street, or offer some limited-edition item or experience only available on your website.

8. Don't yuck another nonprofit's yum.

Uplift other nonprofits that have decided to participate in Giving Tuesday—especially ones that are having trouble cutting through the charitable chorus. If you want no part of the global day of generosity, send donations the way of your fellow nonprofiteers who do. (It's the generous thing to do!)

While you may think that Giving Tuesday isn't for every nonprofit, it was made for the nonprofit world. And tapping into the generosity shown on that day shows solidarity with your fellow nonprofiteers—plus, every dollar counts.

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