By: Jamie McDonald, Global Strategy & Communities Lead at GivingTuesday & Beth Kanter, Master Trainer & Nonprofit Advocate
The world feels like it is falling apart around us, but there’s a fundamental truth that gives us hope—that together, we can do extraordinary things. Over the past few months, the entire world has been coming together to help out, give back, and heal. Together.
At GivingTuesday, we’re doing our part by doing what we do best: rallying the world to drive a massive, collective spike of generosity and engagement. On May 5th, we’re launching #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Together, we will take action on behalf of first responders and frontline workers: the nonprofits and community organizations that feed, house, educate, and nurture neighbors impacted by the pandemic.
We aim to empower nonprofits to connect into a larger worldwide movement, using #GivingTuesdayNow to amplify those efforts. Your organization doesn’t need to create a separate effort or campaign for this day of unity, but it can be leveraged in many ways to make it your own. Visit now.givingtuesday.org to get a full set of resources and ideas.
Just like GivingTuesday in December, #GivingTuesdayNow is not just a fundraising day. Nonprofits can also engage their supporters to help spread generosity around the world. While you certainly can use the day to raise critical dollars for your mission, here are a few simple ways your nonprofit can easily participate.
1. Encourage Your Supporters to Chalk their Walks
Just because we have to socially distance, it doesn’t mean that we can’t express generosity. During the pandemic, parents with young children globally have taken out their colored chalk to write messages of hope and draw rainbows. As other families walk around their neighborhoods, they are counting the rainbows.
Why not encourage your supporters to share messages of kindness, generosity, and hope as part of #GivingTuesdayNow in their neighborhoods? Use chalk to draw the GivingTuesday rainbow heart on the sidewalks or create posters for your windows.
2. Partner with a Local Restaurant for “Take-Out Tuesday”
Small businesses, especially local restaurants, have been hit hard. Why not partner with a local restaurant to organize a “Take Out Tuesday” on May 5th? You could work with the restaurant to donate some of the proceeds to your organization, or partner to provide takeout meals for frontline healthcare workers. It’s a win-win. Check out these other GivingTuesday ideas for partnering with small businesses.
3. Gratitude Day for Your Supporters, Volunteers, and Others
Research suggests that a gratitude practice may offer many benefits for individuals, including better physical and psychological health and increased happiness. There are many ways your nonprofit can express gratitude for your supporters, volunteers, and staff on #GivingTuesdayNow. You can host a virtual “thank-athon” on Zoom (be sure to include a custom Zoom background) or add a donor thank you wall to your website or Facebook page.
Another variation is to do 24 hours of gratitude, with postings on social media channels once every hour about things for which your organization is grateful. Use the many free visual and content assets in the #GivingTuesdayNow toolkit.
4. Enlist Your Supporters To Be Ambassadors for Your Organization for COVID-19 Relief
A brand ambassador is an individual with a large following, whether a mega-celebrity or someone well-known in your community, who can leverage their fans for your organization’s program or cause. Celebrities around the world are mobilizing their fans to support COVID-19 relief funds or organizations.
For example, Leonardo DiCaprio helped launch America’s Food Fund, a charity created to help low-income families, the elderly, those facing job losses, and children who rely on school meals. America’s Food Fund raised $12 million to assist those and other suffering communities. Captain Tom Moore, a well-known WW2 veteran in the UK, had originally aimed to raise just £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. He surpassed his goal, raising over £20 million for the charity!
Don’t know any celebrities? Then enlist your supporters as your brand ambassadors and have them share the word about what your organization is doing to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
5. Fundraise for a Nonprofit Staff Relief Fund
If your organization has gotten hit hard by the COVID crisis, and your employees are facing devastating challenges, your nonprofit can set up and fundraise for a Coronavirus relief fund for nonprofit employees. GoFundMe is providing guidance on how to set up and launch campaigns. #GivingTuesdayNow could mark the launch of your effort. Need some advice on strategy? Julie Campbell has written this informative post and check out these creative ways nonprofits are rethinking virtual fundraising.
On May 5th, #GivingTuesdayNow will provide an opportunity for nonprofits and others to participate in a global day of kindness and healing. There are many ways your nonprofit can participate, and by doing so, help take the first steps towards rebuilding hope for the future.
Have questions for Beth or the GivingTuesday Foundation? Join us for a GivingTuesday Now Q&A session at 10:30 a.m. PST on April 23rd. If you miss it live, don’t worry–you can always read through the responses on the page at a later date.
About the Authors
Jamie is a member of GivingTuesday’s global leadership team focusing on strategy and scale. She’s also the CEO of Generosity Inc. and co-founder of The Courageous. Jamie is a nationally known social-sector entrepreneur and serves as an advisor to socially motivated CEOs and visionaries driving large-scale change.
Beth has over 35 years working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, and capacity building and has facilitated training for nonprofits. She is experienced in participatory facilitation techniques, such as design thinking, open space, peer learning, and more. She facilitates online and virtual meetings, is an in-demand keynote speaker and workshop leader, and published author of many books.