Giving Tuesday

Just imagine what's possible

Just imagine what's possible

Just Imagine What's Possible When the other 82% gets its head out of the sand!?!

#GivingTuesday has already become an amazing global movement, raising close to $46 million in 2014. If I were a betting woman,  I would wager that the 2015 #GivingTuesday effort will raise even more. Afterall, giving on #GivingTuesday grew 95% between 2013 and 2014 and a reported 240% growth between 2013 and 2015. Growth is a good bet. The question, it seems to me, is not if there will be growth, but how much.  

However, a new study by the John Templeton Foundation reveals that only 18% of the American public is aware of #GivingTuesday.

Giving Tuesday Sheriff—Start Passing Out the Deputies' Badges

Giving Tuesday Sheriff—It's Time to Start Passing Out the Deputies' Badges

If your #GivingTuesday plan includes a crowd funding campaign GREAT! Peer-to-Peer fundraising is an effective way to enlist volunteers, board members, and staff in fundraising.

As Allison Gauss of Classy says, one of the awesome things about P2P fundraising is that it allows you to reach beyond your circle of supporters to make new friends through the introduction of your existing donors and fans.

I think one of the things that people new to P2P fundraising don’t realize, however, is that it doesn’t happen automatically. You don’t set up a webpage and hit a “go” button. Your site doesn’t immediately go viral. Thousands of people don’t sign up and immediately donate and then ask their friends and family to donate. It just doesn’t work that way (Maybe ice-bucket challenge aside).

It takes some planning and some effort behind the scenes and throughout the campaign to start the engine and fan the flames.  Here are a few things you need to do to before #GivingTuesday:

An Up-Hill Battle: What to Do When You're Behind Your Goal

Recently, a friend of mine who is an Executive Director, asked me what to do. He was concerned that his organization was not going to make their fundraising goals for the year.  "What should we do?" he asked.

First things first. The year is not over yet! I was pretty upset that it's not even October and this Executive Director had already said "ain't gonna happen!" Whoa, my friend! As my mama always said:

"Can't never could!" 

You still have time to re-double your efforts. Pull your team together. This is a moment for him, as Executive Director, to demonstrate leadership. He needs a battle plan. Get all hands on deck. I mean all hands on deck: board members, staff members, volunteers. 

If you have a long way to go to goal, decide what each person can do. Give people specific assignments. Make sure that people have the tools they need to succeed also. If you want board members to send out emails, write the emails for them. Board members can edit them, but it helps them to get going to not have to start from scratch.

Here are a few strategies that have helped me be very successful in year-end giving:

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

This Saturday is Christmas in July.  Santa might not be coming, but there are great sales everywhere and some retailers are even trying to get people thinking ahead to the holiday season which, if you’re a fundraiser, is a really good idea. If you haven’t already begun planning for the end of the year, now is the time to get started.

It’s four months until Giving Tuesday and five months until the close of the fiscal year.

Mentor Me North Georgia

#GivingTuesday Super Hero #3: Mentor Me North Georgia

Mentor Me North Georgia is an organization that I have personally supported for a number of years so when the organization’s Executive Director, Sylvia Cardona, wrote and asked me if she could nominate the organization, I said “yes, of course.  I’d be happy to receive their nomination.”  With pleasure, I introduce you to this organization, an organization that is genuinely grass-roots. The organization provides mentoring for children ages 6 to 17.

Mentoring is a great experience for both the mentor and the mentee no matter how old one is.  That’s why, whenever you take a new position in a company or enter a new profession, or begin a new business, one of the pieces of advice you’ll hear over and over again is “find a mentor.” After you become established in your field, people will approach you repeatedly and ask you to become a mentor and will share with you that it’s one of the most exciting ways to give back to your field.

Mentor Me North Georgia’s mentors do lots of fun activities with children—frisbee golf, bowling, hiking, canoeing, swimming—whatever the mutual interests of a mentor and mentee enjoy or whatever experiences the mentor would like to introduce the mentee to.  Often, this is a matter of exposing the mentee to new experiences that a family’s resources may not allow.

My own father grew up dirt-poor on a farm in rural Missouri.  He began taking my two brothers and I to elegant restaurants at an early age—a practice he continued throughout our lives.  He shared with us, when we were little, that the first time he had ever been to a very nice restaurant was on a homecoming date while in high school. He described how awkward and uncomfortable he felt because he was in totally unfamiliar territory.  He felt greatly disadvantaged in that social setting.  The second time he was ever in a fancy restaurant, it was a job interview while he was in college.  Again, he felt out of his league.  My father would have benefitted from a mentor taking him places his very poor family could not so that when his conversation and social skills were tested, he would have been more likely to succeed.

Mentors not only offer mentees new and different experiences, but they also reinforce positive values. There are some wonderful values and messages in our culture.  Today, I read part of the 2014 Millennial Impact Report.  One of the researchers’ findings was that 50% of millennials entering the workforce considered a company’s commitment to a cause before interviewing and accepting an offer. I think that’s impressive that they care so much and it’s definitely evidence of positive values in our culture.  I don’t know of similar studies of my generation’s values at a similar age (I graduated from both high school and college during the “Greed is Good” Reagan Presidency of the 1980s) and am literally the last of the boomer, born the very last year of the baby boom, but I would wager that there was no similar commitment among my peers to consideration of a company’s commitment at that time among my peers. Even though there are some good values in the culture now, there are also many negative cultural values.  Movies and television are full of characters that seem to have no way to express themselves other than through the very most offensive, extensive use of profanity.  My husband and I started to watch one movie last night with a cast of A-list actors and actresses.  After a half-hour or so of trying to hang with-it, we gave up.  Every sentence had at least one use of a four-letter word that began with the letter f.  I’m not generally offended by profanity, but when every 3rd or 4th word is profane, the dialogue has crossed a line in my personal opinion (feel free to disagree).

For a child to have a mentor who reinforces the positive—after all, the mentor is volunteering, showing concern for youth and the community, already positive values!—is a great thing.  In a world with both strong positive and strong negative messages, kids need help identifying, finding and clinging to the positive. 

Finally, mentoring helps set or reinforce expectations for a child.  Children tend to live up to or live down to expectations. Even a loving family can have low expectations of a child if the norm in the family in which they live has not lead them to expect more.  I know of families that don’t expect their family members to complete high school.  Nobody in their family does. In my own family, there was no question we were going to college.  The questions that existed were around which college, which major, did we need an advanced degree, would we be eligible for a scholarship.  Different expectations. Because my parents assumed I would go to college, I assumed I would also.

How wonderful for a child to have a caring adult become part of his or her life who may have dreams or expectations for him or her that are above and beyond the ones held by his or her family members and family norms.  I’m sure some families that mentees come for have high hopes and expectations, but others may not.  In those cases, it’s helpful for a child to be paired with a mentor who can help a  child set the bar higher.

So far in 2014, Mentor Me North Georgia has worked with 311 children.  The elementary school children’s program designed to help children improve their academic skills has helped 100% of them improve their reading skills.  At the beginning of the school year, 21% of the children were reading at grade-level.  Midway through the year, 59% are reading at grade level. Whether it’s by mentoring children, by helping children improve their academic skills, or by helping high schoolers graduate on time, each year, Mentor Me North Georgia is a Super Hero in the lives of hundreds of North Georgia children and teens.

You can learn more about Mentor Me North Georgia by visiting their website at  and on #GivingTuesday, you can support them through their website.

Giving Tuesday Super Hero #2

Giving Tuesday Super Hero #2

Girls’ Bill of Rights

  • To be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes
  • To express themselves with originality and enthusiasm
  • To take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success
  • To accept and appreciate their bodies
  • To have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world
  • To prepare for interesting work and economic independence

These six expressed rights are at the core of the programming of Girls Inc..  The Girls Inc of Greater Atlanta chapter is today’s community Super Hero, part of our focus on Super Heroes making a difference in communities across the country.  Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta was nominated by one of their supporters and fans who urged me to “Be Strong, Smart, and Bold” the organization’s battle cry for all girls and women.

Today - Our Blog is Going to the Dogs!

Today - Our Blog is Going to the Dogs!

Each day this week, in honor of #GivingTuesday, we'll be blogging and featuring in our social media posts some community heroes we would like to introduce you to.  Each one was nominated by someone out there to be the focus of our efforts to be a Social Media Ambassador.  

Super Hero #1:  Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey

For over 20 years, the Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey have been helping the seniors of Ocean County live independently, aging with in-place with dignity. 

5 Ways to Get Board Members to Fundraise on Giving Tuesday

5 Ways to Get Board Members to Fundraise on Giving Tuesday

How Can a Purple Rhino Help You Get Your Board to Raise Money on Giving Tuesday?

“The Super Bowl of Crowdfunding” – that’s what Blackbaud’s npEngage calls Giving Tuesday.  Wouldn’t it be great to have 100% board member involvement?

The newly released Leading with Intent preview from BoardSource shows that only 26% of Board members get involved with asking at some point in the year.  There is a lot of opportunity for improvement there.  So how can you get your board members to raise funds this #GivingTuesday?

Asking Matters

Asking Matters

What you ask for matters.

If you haven’t finished your end of year appeal, one of the decisions you are probably agonizing over is the ask amount—what numbers to put in your “gift string” or “gift array”—those numbers that you will use on your response card or envelope to suggest gift sizes to donors.

Thinking carefully about these numbers is wise.  What you suggest matters.

Are You Ready for Cyber Monday?

Are You Ready for Cyber Monday?

I know you're getting ready for Giving Tuesday, but are you also ready for Cyber Monday?  Here's what you should do now to benefit from the shopping spree your supporters are about to take.