GivingTuesday began with a simple idea–a day that encouraged everyone to give back—whether that’s time, a donation, or the power of your voice in your local community. Since its launch in 2012, GivingTuesday has grown to include more than 75 official country movements around the world, each led by passionate local leaders. Today, GivingTuesday events pop up all over the calendar, and “local” can mean people who are physically far away.
At the 2021 GivingTuesday Virtual Leadership Summit, Laszlo Bodor of GivingTuesday Romania and Malou Morgan of GivingTuesday Barbados shared how they navigated time and distance to fit GivingTuesday into local traditions.
Romania has celebrated GivingTuesday since 2017. Bodor said the first few years were considered a development stage for cultivating the idea of everyday philanthropy and inspiring people to give back. Bank holidays at the end of November, however, reduced participation as people took off for vacations. So, in 2020, the celebration became an eight-day “generosity festival.”
GivingTuesday Romania’s campaign explains that generosity can happen at every level, small or big. They suggest specific activities, like making a donation, donating blood, volunteering, and donating on birthdays. Bodor said they also created several videos featuring stories and testimonials covering both sides of generosity: what it means to give and to receive. These formed the centerpiece of the campaign’s digital communications.
Bodor said having more time gave them more opportunities to communicate in the media and reach more people via online channels, TV, and radio. GivingTuesday Romania created an ever-evolving “generosity map” that literally illustrates the various ways of giving, which has proven useful for social media communications. “We can communicate day by day the different types of giving gestures,” Bodor said. “At the end of the week, we have a map of all these gestures.”
GivingTuesday Barbados celebrates with the hashtag #BajanGiving (islanders refer to themselves as Bajan). They began in 2017 and faced unique challenges as a small island state—limited access to online fundraising and worldwide platforms, plus a large diaspora living off the island—so they had to devise practical, physical ways to celebrate. Morgan said they also had to overcome the cultural misconception that you have to be wealthy or retired to donate or volunteer.
In-person and nonmonetary campaigns served as springboards to growing the movement, including blood drives, unselfie campaigns, and a book drive. The blood drive helped people see the crucial need for blood on the island and helped quell fears around donation. Morgan said the book drive was a runaway success, particularly with the Barbadian diaspora—there are four times as many Barbadians living off-island as on, and Morgan said they’re always looking for ways to give back. That event resulted in thousands of books being delivered to community partners.
A few more options are opening up in 2021, and GivingTuesday Barbados will be able to raise funds online for the first time. Independence Day in Barbados is on November 30, connecting GivingTuesday with people’s sense of patriotism and giving back before the rush of Christmas.
GivingTuesday Romania and GivingTuesday Barbados are changing the local culture around generosity and sparking action. Looking for more ideas? We have a ton of great resources to help you inspire acts of radical generosity in your area.