Talk About Giving: Giving Tuesday Offers a Platform for Generosity

Victoria Harres Victoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, a UBM company. She leads various social media and audience efforts at PR Newswire and 'proudly' coordinates social media and the blog for Business4Better.
About Victoria Harres (22 Posts)

At New York’s 92nd Street Y on Tuesday of Social Media Week NYC 2013, a packed house of ‘giving’ people representing nonprofits and organizations interested in social good gathered to hear about #GivingTuesday, a movement for sharing social good initiatives great and small.



Giving Tuesday is a nascent organization, conceived in July of 2012, launched in November 2012, and becoming a major movement for social good on its very first try.

The virtual social good event was created for the connected community, people who use social media.

It tapped the strength of influencers to spread its message of doing and sharing ‘good’ for twenty-four hours. Participation included everything from organizations that raised a million dollars to an individual mom who took her kids shopping for the needy. Tapping into niche communities was very important. Organizers reached out to mom bloggers and people who share on Pinterest.

“It was as much about thinking small as it was thinking big,” said Aaron Sherininan of the United Nations Foundation. “It wasn’t something that we put on. It was about what was already happening.”

That took asking the right questions and careful listening.

Giving Tuesday organizers asked people to talk about ‘how’ they give. The idea was to not give in secret but to encourage conversation about what people were doing, great and small to give back to their communities, shining a light on both community needs and the many ways to contribute.

Giving Tuesday celebrates giving.

But it was a challenge to get people to talk about the good they were doing openly. It had to come across as non-arrogant or people wouldn’t do it. “We are all philanthropists, even if we are not incredibly wealthy. It doesn’t matter how small the effort as long as there is giving,” said Aaron.

But people are often uncomfortable about talking openly about their giving, so “they appreciated a celebration of giving that they could be part of,” said panelist Sharon Feder of Mashable.

Susan McPherson and Aaron Sherinian at #SMWNYC

“All of us can be philanthropists,” according to speaker Susan McPherson of Fenton, who will be speaking at Business4Better in May.  “Studies show women in lower income brackets give disproportionately more than women in higher income brackets.”

So how will Giving Tuesday follow a remarkable launch in November 2013?

The answer may well have come from that audience present at 92Y. We were split up into four working groups that spent thirty minutes brainstorming ideas for how to scale Giving Tuesday, writing down each concept and then presenting them to the wider group.

The room was filled with people from ‘good’ organizations big and small. Very smart people. How brilliant of the Giving Tuesday organizers to tap into that brain power.

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