It is early here in Sao Paulo, Brasil, but I wanted to capture some quick reflections about the experience of GivingTuesday. Maybe it is because I am in a different country, but I felt the magic of what Giving Tuesday was intended to be when it launched two years ago.
Yesterday, Giving Tuesday showed the abundance and generativeness that working in networks, movements, and community or whatever you want to call them can produce. Giving Tuesday is more than a gigantic Kickstarter campaign for nonprofits to beg for money from people they haven’t spoken to all year round. GivingTuesday is about the generosity and reciprocity of giving in the broadest sense. It wasn’t just the people at the 92nd Street Y,who helped catalyze this movement, who were dancing for joy, but everyone around the world was dancing with them.
GivingTuesday is about giving. But it doesn’t mean that giving is simply pulling out your wallet, but is about spending your social capital to make the world a better place. Your social capital includes supporting your colleagues, community, contributing your time to volunteer, sharing your knowledge, modeling charitable behavior to your network, educating others about giving is important. GivingTuesday leaders Henry Timms and Aaron Sherinian have approached it with a true network mindset, encouraging everyone to own it. They did not to prescribe how nonprofits, individuals, companies, or others should participate – but they held the space, facilitated connections, and provided the platform for the network to participate in the way that was the right fit to celebrate the day. They offered us a buffet of options – and allowed to pick and choose how to celebrate. They did a superb job of network weaving — connecting people, highlighting small wins, etc.
While the magic of GivingTuesday isn’t the dollars raised, the early results indicate many successful fundraisers. Later this month, the Case Foundation will give the gift of data, a comprehensive report on GivingTuesday by the numbers.
So to kick off thank you Wednesday, I’d like to say thank you for the many magic moments, including these:
1) Give Local or Where You Live: Many communities and places and local organizations joined the celebration. Even my kids schools that leveraged the day to fundraise locally. Over 20 cities had local giving days to celebrate giving where you live.
(2) Give Where You Visit: I felt really blessed to be in a different part of the world, but to share the same experience of GivingTuesday with nonprofit professionals Joao Paulo Vergueiro and others. That was amazing. I got a chance to attend a fundraiser for a local food bank — what a great way to be a philanthro tourist.
(3) Mainstream Media Attention: The “Pprah” of Brasil tweeted about GivingTuesday – that’s a great for the first year. While in the US, we’ve had three Giving Tuesdays. Talks shows may have tweeted about it in year one, but talk shows and national news were doing segments on GivingTuesday. The message of GivingTuesday has broken out of the PhilanthroBubble.
(4) Making Personal Philanthropy Visible: I loved seeing individuals in my friends circles post the list of nonprofits they were donating too and why. I have seen friends share social status updates about gifts they made during the giving season in the past to a single nonprofit, but seeing people talk about what charities they were supporting and how they made their decisions – felt contagious to me. I also liked that some colleagues like Jen Bokoff did a Giving Tuesday campaign for their birthday.
(5) Giving Time: Here in Brasil, I keynoted a conference sponsored by Telefonica on virtual volunteering and they launched a research report or digital volunteering around the world. There was an amazing panel discussion about giving – and giving in a networked way. A great way to support Giving Tuesday.
(6) Celebrating Community: I loved that Amy Sample Ward Hildy Gottlieb Debra Askanase Jereme Bivins and other NTEN members did a webinar – and welcomed my colleagues here in Brasil to talk about Giving Tuesday from the lens of community, technology for fundraising. And as a champion for NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network annual fundraiser, we got to discuss why we enjoy being champions for a cause. And much gratitude to Ritu Sharma for her generous donation to my champion campaign!
(7) Unselfies: I loved seeing the unselfies – especially people in my network like Sarah Durham. But was thrilled Yo-Yo Ma use the opportunity to promote culture and music. But even better, was to see colleague Frank Barry unselfie with his beautiful triplets being projected on the screen in Times Square. How cool is that?
(8) Global Creativity: I enjoyed watching how different countries were celebrating around the world – like a global New Year’s eve party- with generosity spreading across time zones and in public places.
Much gratitude to the founders of Giving Tuesday for sticking to their vision and leading with a network mindset. The real work now begins for us to keep the pushing towards creating a world-wide culture of giving and spread it through our networks.