Giving Tuesday 2020: Resources for Nonprofit and Donor Success

James Gilmer
Posted on October 30, 2020 by James Gilmer in Industry News, Nonprofit Compliance.
Together we give. December 1, 2020.

Every year, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the world joins together for a day of global giving. On that day, Giving Tuesday, we lift one another up. We share a message of unity and hope. Nonprofits and donors partner to support meaningful causes, inspire greater civic participation, and create lasting change.

In this article, we equip nonprofits with the Giving Tuesday tools and tips they need for a successful and compliant #GivingTuesday. We also share resources for donors looking to make educated giving decisions.

Before you fill up at your Thanksgiving meal, let’s dig in!

What is Giving Tuesday 2020?

From the Giving Tuesday website, “GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.”  The concept is simple. On this day, we do good. We give, collaborate, and celebrate what we can do for each other. While Giving Tuesday takes place on only one day, we carry the message and spirit of generosity for the whole year.

When is Giving Tuesday 2020?

This year, Giving Tuesday is Tuesday, December 1, 2020. While that date is still a few weeks away, your nonprofit needs time to get ready! Keep reading for your Giving Tuesday toolkit, where to find Giving Tuesday logos, and compliance resources to help your organization prepare.

For donors, Giving Tuesday is the best day of the year to give (more on this later!). Use this time to research personally meaningful causes and the wonderful organizations behind them. Keep reading to learn how you can research (and safely give to) the nonprofits that make the most impact in your community.

Why is Giving Tuesday Important?

In 2020, environmental disasters, social injustice, economic turmoil, and the COVID-19 pandemic created massive upheaval in the United States and across the world. The mission of Giving Tuesday is “to build a more just and generous world.”  It’s no secret that nonprofit organizations serve a vital role in our communities. On December 1, 2020, nonprofits and donors come together to make a difference, no matter how big or small. 

Giving Tuesday Resources for Nonprofits

Nonprofits, especially those planning to participate in Giving Tuesday for the first time, need resources to maximize their reach with prospective donors. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Get Everyone On Board

It may seem obvious, but the most successful fundraising campaigns involve everybody! Board members, leadership, staff, and volunteers all need to do their part. Whatever their specific role, each person shares responsibility for engaging with donors, giving personally, and ensuring that their organization has maximized its reach on Giving Tuesday. Whatever that looks like for your organization, make it happen!

  1. Access Your Giving Tuesday Toolkit

The amazing folks at Giving Tuesday make participating unbelievably easy. Be sure to check out their website for your Giving Tuesday toolkit, complete with key messages, social media and digital tactics, email templates, timelines, and more. 

Remember to access the Giving Tuesday logo and images for your email, social media, and digital campaigns. Let your audience and donors know that your organization is participating in Giving Tuesday 2020, and that you need their help!

  1. Prepare to Engage with Donors on a New Level

It’s a noisy world, and your nonprofit needs its message to be heard. On Giving Tuesday, remember that it is the quality of your message that counts. Of course, gentle repetition is important too. But, make a case that’s impossible for a donor to tune out. 

Be sure to share the Giving Tuesday toolkit and these other resources throughout your organization. This includes development staff, volunteers, and anyone responsible for creating donor appeals. The toolkit also provides remedies for donor fatigue, so don’t miss out on ways to keep your donors active and engaged.

  1. Promote Giving Tuesday on Social Media

If your nonprofit is like most, you use various social media to inform and engage with the public. In the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, and on the day itself, flood those channels with your giving message. For the widest visibility, use the hashtag #GivingTuesday and follow the tips outlined in the Giving Tuesday Social Media Toolkit.

  1. Comply with State Registration Requirements

Nonprofits have a duty of transparency to their donors. One of the ways that happens is through state charitable registration. Nonprofits that solicit donations in as many as 41 states may be required to register with the state charity official. “Solicitation” is broadly defined, but it refers to any variety of traditional, in-person, and online methods, including email, websites, social media, and more. On a worldwide day of online giving, ensuring compliance needs to be a top priority. By registering, your nonprofit demonstrates that it abides by the various state laws and offers a way for donors to learn more about you. In short, you help your donors give with confidence.

If your first reaction is, “Whoa, there are rules to this?,” you are not alone. Many organizations learn about state requirements as they grow their fundraising efforts. Through registration, nonprofits can generally solicit by any lawful means. That means compliance is an important component of any development strategy. 

This fundraising compliance guide provides an overview of national requirements. As you leverage social media, email, and your website to target donors, be sure to check out our guide to fundraising online. Regardless of your role at your organization, share these resources with your fellow board members and management. Your organization may need to make proactive efforts to comply before Giving Tuesday arrives.

If your organization needs help preparing and filing state charitable solicitation registrations, contact us for a quote.

  1. Ensure Donor-Compliant Solicitation Materials

In addition to annual registration requirements, 25 states require that donor solicitation materials contain specific disclosures. Disclosure statements inform donors where they can obtain more information about your organization, typically from the state charity official directly. They provide an additional layer of reassurance that your organization is registered and plays by the rules. Note that any state-specific disclosures are different and separate from any disclosures mandated by the IRS. Development, web, and social media staff should work with legal and compliance staff to ensure any Giving Tuesday solicitations are compliant with state and federal donor disclosure requirements.

Giving Tuesday Resources for Donors and Individuals

Nonprofits around the world are gearing up for likely the largest Giving Tuesday yet. Individuals and donors, too, are getting ready to volunteer, collaborate, and give. Here are some resources for individuals looking to maximize their involvement this Giving Tuesday.

  1. Learn How and Where to Get Involved

As the name suggests, “Giving Tuesday” is all about giving of one’s time, efforts, and financial support. Each of us has different motivations, resources, and abilities. Whether you enjoy volunteering, donating, or doing something else, the folks at Giving Tuesday have provided lots of ideas and ways for you to connect with participating nonprofits in your community. If volunteering is your thing, check out sites like VolunteerMatch, Idealist, and your local United Way for opportunities that interest you. On Giving Tuesday, the amount you give does not matter, as long as you give commensurately and with all your heart.

  1. Research Charities Before You Give

Giving can be an emotional decision. After all, we want to support the causes and organizations to which we ascribe the deepest personal meaning. However, some organizations are better suited than others to meet the needs of their local community or to help solve wider social, environmental, and economic problems. Individual donors have an obligation to research which charities can rise to the challenge, and which still feel great giving to.

With Giving Tuesday still a few weeks away, your giving can be planned, but still passionate! Below are some tools to help you identify meaningful, effective organizations and prioritize your giving.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance: The BBB provides evaluative nonprofit reports and accountability standards designed to help donors give wisely.

Charity Navigator: Charity Navigator is an independent rating agency of nonprofits. Keep in mind that Charity Navigator generally rates only organizations that file a long Form 990 with the IRS. If you want to give to any smaller nonprofits, you may need to do further research.

Federal Trade Commission: The FTC provides information on donor due diligence and avoiding charity scams. They help you screen solicitations and identify bad actors.

Guidestar (by Candid): Guidestar is a comprehensive database of information about specific nonprofits, often self-reported. Nonprofits can earn badges of transparency with the more information they provide to donors.

State Charity Databases: Most charities are required to register to solicit donations in as many as 41 states. As a donor, you can search your state’s database to see if the nonprofits you want to support are registered, exempt, or not in good standing.

Finally, your most important resource is the nonprofit itself. After all, who can make their case better? In a modern era, every organization has a website and uses social media. Check out the group’s online presence and see what you can learn about its mission, leadership, and impact. Ensure that what you read online aligns with the information you learned through your other research.

If you like to strike up a conversation, give the organization a call. Are you able to speak with a real human being? Are they friendly and knowledgeable about the organization’s mission? Most importantly, do they listen to you as a prospective donor? It is common knowledge that fundraising is about relationships. If you feel uncomfortable or pressured to give, the organization might not be a fit for you, or worse, is one of those bad actors. Chances are, however, you will leave that phone call or that website visit with a great feeling!

Each of these resources provides different information about the nonprofits in your community. As a donor, it is up to you to form a composite profile about the organization and decide whether to give. With Giving Tuesday a few weeks away, you can get a jump start on your homework now so you can have fun on December 1st!

Giving Tuesday Means Making an Impact Together

Since its founding in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become the largest day of global giving. This year, millions of people and organizations around the world will participate. 

For nonprofits, Giving Tuesday is not only a major source of contributions but a way to showcase their mission and results in front of potentially thousands of donors. For donors, Giving Tuesday is a great time of the year to give. As you plan your end-of-year giving, it is a day to give a little extra. And, by giving alongside so many others, your voice, time, and contributions are magnified. This means a greater impact in your community.

Whether you represent a nonprofit, are a donor, or both, start planning for the celebration now. Together, we can create a day of celebration, generosity, and meaningful global change. Happy giving!


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