I must admit I initially loved the concept of #GivingTuesday and how it’s a nice invitation to help others beyond our own friends and families.  The timing couldn’t be better since everyone is already softened up and looking to do nice things for those we care about. 

Although I still believe the concept is a good one, I’m beginning to notice a negative trend which I believe is going to lead to more harm than good for the organizations looking to capitalize on this time of good will.

Where did they go off course?

Over the years I’ve paid close attention to the non-profit world and watched them take advantage of the latest trends on social media to share their message in an attempt to go viral and watch the checks come flowing in. 

I’ve seen non-profits who do this well where they effectively spread their message and grow their base significantly, while others unleash overzealous campaigns in an attempt to mirror successful campaigns others have launched, yet they fall flat. Unfortunately these copycat style campaigns come across as superficial and the message of the mission gets lost in the aggressive attempt to get to our wallets.

The old school mentality of outbound marketing must end.

You need to understand your users and place proper messaging in front of the them for when they want it. To me, today has been similar to pulling off a highway exit and watching hundreds of people swarm cars with signs and squeegees trying to get what they can, before the other guy gets theirs.  

If this comment makes you angry, you might want to explore the reason why.  I’d encourage you to think about your current approach and the potential negative ramifications you might face as a result. You could be unknowingly decreasing the reach of the organization you so strongly support.

Why this might be happening…

If you’re a marketer within a non-profit organization and you’ve been thumping your chest at the number of new people you’ve added to your organization’s email database and social media followers, are you willing to watch that number shrink like a wool Christmas sweater in your dryer?

If your supporters are ONLY receiving messages from your organization, you might be OK. But unfortunately they are not. They’re getting blasted by every organization under the sun.  Over and over. 

As I am writing this at 2:13pm, I’ve received 78 messages in my inbox with the phrase Giving Tuesday” since 7:00am.  Some of these organizations have sent as many as 4 messages in this short period of time.  I won’t even cover the social media noise.

Unfortunately, all this abundance of email activity will result in a high volume of unsubscribes and unfollows from your email and social media lists.  That’s bad for you, your organization, and your future efforts.

How much time and money have you invested in specific initiatives to build your list of donors and volunteers over the past year?  Don’t waste that money or water down the good your organization accomplishes on a daily basis by trying to be the loudest or biggest winner on Giving Tuesday.


I’d encourage you to “pump the brakes” a little and remember to share your message and mission instead of just asking for money. This is far more compelling than trying to rise above the noise and ensure your organization “gets theirs” on #GivingTuesday.

Tell us your thoughts and feelings about #GivingTuesday.