#GivingTuesday Trending On Twitter

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, has rolled out its first ever large scale peer-to-peer campaign today’s #GivingTuesday fundraising and awareness event with its #KomenTWOsdayChallenge. The campaign asks for participants to honor two people in their lives with donations and then challenge two others to do the same.

#KomenTWOsdayChallenge stemmed from recent efforts to expand Komen’s digital and social media presence, according to Carrie Walsh, senior vice president of marketing, and a desire to tap into the new pool. Throughout the day, Komen will be focused on digital messaging through social media and email and having affiliates share message on respective networks. Walsh declined to share specific goals Komen has for the campaign, but indicated that turnout will be used to gauge how its online community engages with various online platforms and inform future fundraising efforts. “Honestly, for us, we want to drive donations and we’ll measure this with overall donations and engagement metrics,” Walsh said.

The #GivingTuesday hashtag garnered 331,000 engagements as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the #GivingTuesday Command Central, with #UNselfie generating more than 210,000 engagements. With that level of visibility, organizations are using #GivingTuesday as a means of expanding outreach and thinking outside the box to reach new audiences.

Like Susan G. Komen, the Knoxville Symphony is also using #GivingTuesday to broaden its online presence, according to Rachel Dellinger, communications director. During its 12 Days of Giving campaign from Dec. 1 through Dec. 12, those making $100 donations to the symphony will receive memberships that include perks such as attendance at closed rehearsals and meet-and-greets with artists. A $10 donation enters donors into a drawing for a pair of tickets to an upcoming performance. The modest sum was an intentional effort to try and shed the perception that the symphony is only for the wealthy and encourage the notion that people can engage with the symphony for just $10, Dellinger said.

“As a Millennial, I thought ‘What’s in it for me,” Dellinger said of the campaign strategy, which was a collaboration among departments. “This is an experiment to see if we can drive traffic to give online. As you can imagine, symphony patrons skew to 50 to 85 years old.” The 12 Days of Giving is intended to bridge the gap between young people who might engage with the symphony online but do not attend performances and loyal patrons who could have no idea that the symphony has a Facebook page. Dellinger said that attendance among Millennials is the “holy grail” right now for arts organizations, but, while the symphony has worked to be more social-media and mobile friendly, it does not want to completely change operations.

“We want to spread the word that it is easy and convenient to give online,” Dellinger said. “We added an incentive and, yes, we’re looking to drive people who haven’t given before online…We are thrilled to interact with people in any shape or form.”

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has been promoting school spirit throughout the day with Giving Blueday, a second-year effort that is part of the university’s $4 billion Victors of Michigan campaign, according to Linda Douglas, senior director of marketing and annual giving, and Judie Malcolm, senior director of executive communications. “We were looking for a day to pull together student organizations, pool our resources to reach out to alumni, students, supporters in a single day,” Douglas said of the campaign’s beginnings.

A total of 108 student organizations are raising funds for the university-related causes they care about today, Malcolm said, as compared to 70 last year. After not reaching 1,000 donors until noon last Giving Blueday, the campaign reached 1,000 donors by just 1 a.m. this year, Malcolm said. Last year’s goal was to raise $1 million from 1,000 donors, and total of 5,400 donors ended up raising $3.2 million. As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, the campaign had reached 4,500 donors and was just shy of $2 million.

Giving Blueday is focused on putting philanthropic power into students’ hands, Douglas said, with $40,000 being earmarked to match student donations, up from $30,000 last year. Throughout the day, the campaign has rolled out social media challenges, the winner being given $1,000 to donate to the university cause of their choice. “We’re very excited about how students have embraced this,” Malcolm said. “They are understanding about giving to something you are passionate about.”

The Power of a Match

Several organizations are trying to encourage donors to give on #GivingTuesday by promising matching funds to double their impact. The Michael J. Fox Foundation in New York City is among them, according to Emily Moyer, senior vice president of marketing and digital strategies. This year, the foundation has a gift-matching threshold of $500,000, five times that of last year’s, Moyer said. Foundation leaders are optimistic that the $500,000 threshold will be reached within a few days. Fox, Ryan Reynolds, Katie Couric, Willie Geist and George Stephanopoulos are helping the cause by serving as celebrity promoters of the campaign on social media.

The foundation’s strategy this #GivingTuesday is a little different than last year’s, Moyer said, as last year’s gift-matching campaign was limited to a single day. Goals were set higher this year to capitalize on social media and digital engagement efforts initiated compared to the past year. On Back to the Future Day alone, the foundation saw a 25 percent increase in its followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, 130,000 in total. During the past year, Facebook likes for the campaign have increased from 340,000 to more than 600,000. A focus on social engagement has been important, Moyer said, as it affords the foundation a more cost-effective means of driving donations as well as a way to reach those who are affected by or can help work toward a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Transportation Alternatives, a New York-based safe streets advocacy organization, has conducted end-of-year campaigns around matching funds for the past several years, according to Julie Ziff Sint, associate development director. In each of the past two years, an anonymous donor has gifted $600,000 to match donations made through the month of December, Sint said. Last year, Transportation Alternatives was able to reach the $600,000 mark and leaders anticipate doing so again this year, Sint said.

Transportation Alternatives focused its marketing efforts entirely on #GivingTuesday to kick off the holiday season last year, Sint said, and raised $23,000 to open its campaign. This year, efforts started earlier with promotions around Black Friday. Transportation Alternatives’ staff will track how the early start impacts overall fundraising and will focus more on end-of-month donation totals than #GivingTuesday-specific figures, Sint said. “#GivingTuesday is a great way to kick off the December fundraising season, but I think we’re looking at it as a marathon, not a sprint.”

Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), headquartered in Washington D.C., has already exceeded last year’s #GivingTuesday donations thanks, in part, to the promise of matching funds up to $10,000, according to Donna Grogan, vice president of development and fundraising. A technical glitch limited LFA to $2,500 on #GivingTuesday 2014, Grogan said. As of 2:30 p.m. today, the foundation had raised $15,000, with the $10,000 threshold met by 10 a.m.

LFA was more active in the lead up to #GivingTuesday this year than in year’s past, Grogan said. As lupus is a disease many are unfamiliar with, LFA launched a 10-day build-up to #GivingTuesday during which it posted facts about the disease. Those efforts, combined with the promise of matching funds, have made a difference, Grogan said. “Anytime that you can show a dollar becoming two dollars or two dollars becoming four dollars it really motivates people to give,” Grogan said.