It feels blasphemous to admit that I didn’t buy into Giving Tuesday. I’m certain this admission will count against me in the do-gooders tally. On Giving Tuesday, I silently floated through the day afraid to admit my concerns. It was only after a glass of wine with a close friend that I opened the conversation and admitted my skepticism.
1. It didn’t connect.
On the back-end: Being in the industry, I was offered an opportunity to participate in the local planning. When I happened to be on vacation that day, asking to be kept in the loop, the reply was “check out the website”. Which website is still a mystery to me.
On the user experience: A hashtag doesn’t make me give, a relationship does. The entire experience smelled of a slick “let’s add another day of fundraising” campaign versus an actual attempt to share stories of impact.
A favorite policy organization and magazine sent me a Giving Tuesday email appeal, I wondered…really? Do you get to use #givingtuesday? Policy? Are we letting everyone in? If so, is there still value?
2. It used the model it professed to abhor.
By slotting Giving Tuesday right after the shopping holidays, Giving Tuesday gave legitimacy to those holidays. The facade was chanting don’t buy, don’t shop…give. But it used the existing structure of Black & Cyber. Instead of taking away credibility, it adds to it. Now we have a five day chunk – from Thanksgiving to Giving Tuesday – of stuff “to do”.
3. It would benefit from a cultural perspective.
Thanksgiving in the United States, in its unique timing, opens the holiday season. We feel the thanks, the giving, and the gratitude. From Halloween through Thanksgiving, that feeling of gratitude ramps up. Once complete, the doors open to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while some will bemoan their existence, I actually see their effect of allowing us to get straight into the holiday spirit. That spirit is what, once shopping ceases, settles into the homes and the hearts. In that context, perhaps Giving Tuesday is right timed – taking advantage of both the left over Thanks and the upcoming Giving.
In Canada, I don’t see that connection. The Thanks happens in October….and then we are hit with Black Friday and Cyber Monday before the Holiday Season really ramps up. Giving Tuesday, in this context, comes too soon. Thus, the disconnect.
Upcoming years will yield new learning – Do donors simply move up their year-end gifts or do they actually give twice? Can organizations bridge the disconnect and use their stories to build on the holiday spirit, or perhaps invoke it? Can Giving Tuesday better intertwine with Black Friday and Cyber Monday – Could you ask me at the till to donate? Could I donate my Ebates to an organization? Can we better intertwine the message of holiday shopping and holiday giving?
For me, it fell flat. I’m okay with being solo on that. I’m ready for my penance.