In the midst of a global pandemic, a worldwide reckoning with systemic injustice, and economic uncertainty, what will GivingTuesday look like on December 1? Our leadership team hosted a session with straight talk about what we know (and what we don’t) about how this year will shape up and why there’s still opportunity in challenging times. Check out the recording for more on trends in giving during turbulent times and how to create a compelling GivingTuesday campaign to increase community resilience and rally support for your cause.

We also asked a few of our collaborators in the GivingTuesday Data Commons to share their findings and expertise on what the trends of 2020 (so far) mean for nonprofits and organizers grappling with how to engage and activate supporters to give generously of their time, kindness, voice, skills and money this December--and beyond.

The GivingTuesday team recently joined a webinar panel with Tim Sarrantonio of Neon One to share the lessons learned from #GivingTuesdayNow earlier this year and how those insights may play forward to GivingTuesday on December 1. Tim also offers his thoughts on what the year so far can tell us about giving in December:  

“In a typical year, almost one-third of an organization's donations are received in December. Yet with 2020 being anything but typical, there are concerns about donor fatigue and people's willingness to support. The data this year is clear though - not only are people more generous than ever but support of initiatives like GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesdayNow are at an all-time high. Last year, Neon One's ecosystem saw 13% of all new recurring donations initiate on GivingTuesday and we've seen continued success in appeals since #GivingTuesdayNow in particular.”

Tim Sarrantonio, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Neon One

Need some inspiration? In this post, Neon One team highlights four creative ideas for GivingTuesday campaigns from their community of nonprofits.

We can’t resist digging into more data to better understand how people are giving this year, and Classy’s annual State of Modern Philanthropy 2020 report shares more insights on online donor behavior and what that can mean for activating your community for GivingTuesday and beyond. Here’s what they’ve found: 

"We understand why nonprofit organizations are nervous to fundraise in December due to concern around donor fatigue, but year-end giving is a huge opportunity to raise critical funds, and our data is showing that donors still want to give. Twenty-six percent of annual donation volume on the Classy platform occurs between GivingTuesday and December 31, making this the perfect time to not only engage one-time donors, but to steward recurring donors and fundraisers as well. 

According to Classy's 2020  State of Modern Philanthropy report, nonprofits can secure 4-6X as many donors on GivingTuesday over any other day and GivingTuesday donors are 3-4X more likely to become a fundraiser than donors acquired on other days. Additionally, according to the  report, those who become recurring donors do so faster if their first interaction with an organization was on GivingTuesday. 

Recent supporter research from Classy revealed that 39% of people plan to give more in 2020 than in prior years, with one-third of those respondents saying it is because societal needs seem greater this year. So while it can feel like your supporters have reached their giving limit, we're finding that Americans who have the means are stepping up and opening their wallets to causes they care about."

Soraya Alexander, SVP Marketing and Customer Growth, Classy 

Classy’s GivingTuesday Resource Center has a wealth of articles, webinars, and templates to help you engage supporters this year. 

The team at Network for Good are prepping their nonprofit clients for an unprecedented year-end giving season, with resources and coaching to help craft a compelling campaign. NFG also powers online donations for popular platforms, like Facebook fundraising tools, donations through Charity Navigator and Guidestar, and more, so they have a good vantage point to understand how and where donors have been giving this year:

“At Network for Good, we know the 2020 nonprofit burnout is real! That said, it’s not yet time to tap out of fundraising this year. We’ve been tracking online giving since the start of COVID and it continues to outperform 2019 giving. This summer, online giving averaged 39% higher than last year, and our social media partners are also seeing solid growth. We anticipate a strong end to the year.

Individuals are still giving generously and need invitations and reminders to support your cause. Due to the election year, we encourage organizations to start their year-end fundraising campaigns early at the end of October (check out our Year-End eGuide and checklist). To help with donor fatigue, be sure to intermix your fundraising requests with general messaging, program updates, and notes showing that you care. That way, your supporters won’t feel like they are being constantly asked to give. Pace yourself and know that you aren’t alone in this—we are cheering you on!”

Kimberly O’Donnell, CFRE, Lead Fundraising Coach, Network for Good

Many GivingTuesday campaigns also use the day as an opportunity to show gratitude for the impact made possible by their supporters. If you’re considering a thank-a-thon for December 1, Network for Good also shared inspirational examples of How to (Easily) Thank Donors with Video. 

The annual M+R Benchmarks study is a trusted resource for deep analysis on fundraising, email engagement, text, and digital ad spend. We reached out to Madeline Stanionis, Partner at M+R, for thoughts on giving so far this year, why there’s a desire to give in tough times and the outlook beyond December: 

“We had a lively discussion about how this age-old topic (donor fatigue! the economy!) might be showing up in this decidedly new age time.

The short answer: it's not. Without exception, we're seeing massive displays of generosity from donors in every sector. Most of our clients are seeing as good if not better donor engagement and response levels compared to previous years, even those who are not directly involved in any kind of emergency response. In particular, many organizations saw their highest numbers in the spring, at the height of uncertainty.

I often think we project our own nervousness and concern onto our causes a bit but the delightful truth is that the desire to help during times of hardship is really strong in people. And as for the upcoming holidays - that feeling is heightened during the holidays when culturally we put a lot of emphasis on the ideas of gratitude, generosity, and the spirit of giving. We expect that despite/because of the turmoil in the world and in our country, we'll see donors show up once again this holiday season.

That is not to say that I think the future is sunshine and roses. We think 2021 is murky indeed and that's when we may see a downturn so we're projecting cautiously for next year.”

Madeline Stanionis, Partner, M+R

The team at M+R also hosted the recent “Hold the Line Roundtable” to help organizations prepare and plan for uncertainty around the election in the United States.