Storytelling With Impact: Brands Step Up For #GivingTuesday


After the year-end holiday shopping frenzy hyped by Black Friday-Cyber Monday marketing comes GivingTuesday, a social philanthropy initiative started by New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation to encourage charitable donations by individuals, brands and corporations alike.

The pitch is simple, and in the spirit of the holidays: “On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more.”[more]

Now in its third year, GivingTuesday’s founding partners also include Blackbaud, CECP, charity:water, GlobalGiving, Groupon, Kiva, Microsoft, Pvblic Foundation, (RED), Unilever, the United Nations Development Programme, Univision, Mashable, Google, Skype, Cisco, UNICEF and the Case Foundation. 

“If GivingTuesday does begin to look like it will create a path to a couple hundred million dollars annually within five or so years of its creation, that means millions of people will have paused to make a donation to a cause—and those millions will be predisposed to giving at larger levels in future years,” Forbes reports.

Participating brands and organizations are seeking to connect storytelling with impact, highlighting altruism with authenticity and social connections, as the global movement aims to exceed last year’s 4.9% increase in charitable giving.

The hope is that this year’s GivingTuesday will double last year’s fundraising by topping $54 million. 

Participating brands cover a broad range of industries. Some examples:

  • The Avon Foundation for Women aims to raise $1 million to benefit domestic violence organizations in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, matching every donation up to $500,000
  • Bitly and the Red Cross collaborate with today’s launch of URL-shortener
  • JetBlue is highlighting its #FlyingItForward social philanthropic platform
  • Evereve, the women’s fashion retailer, is partnering with the global microfinance organization Opportunity International to launch “Giving Is Hot,” with $10 from every pair of jeans sold going to a loan for a female entrepreneur. Donations will be matched by two other female-led organizations, fashion retailer CAbi and marketing agency Latitude
  • JCPenney is helping military families and children in the U.S. through the USO and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with a $50,000 donation to each.
  • J&J’s Johnson’s brand is donating essential resources for baby care kits under their #MoreHandsMoreHearts campaign, as well as making a special grant to help moms ensure their babies thrive
  • MSNBC is on-board as a media partner
  • New York’s Metroplitan Museum is matching donations, dollar for dollar
  • Yoobi is donating one-for-one to the Starlight Children’s Foundation and children’s hospitals across the U.S.
  • Maryland’s #MDGivesMore (@MDGivesMore) is poised to make history by becoming the most generous state  
  • Hickory Farms is matching all gifts up to $50K for No Kid Hungry.

Celebrities are also putting their personal stamp on GivingTuesday, such as Fran Drescher, whose Cancer Schmancer Movement provides educational tools to “Detox Your Home.” Drescher is personally matching donations up to $25,000. Rachael Ray is devoting her December 2 show to GivingTuesday, while Usher’s New Look Charity, is using the day to raise funds to support its youth leadership programs.

As for individual giving, last year’s #GivingTuesday ask is on again: Users can get the #UNselfie Toolkit to snap a photo that represents giving and upload it to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with hashtag #unselfie and #givingtuesday.

Charities traditionally receive 20 to 40 percent of their annual donations towards year’s end, making GivingTuesday of paramount importance. 

“U.S. philanthropy is at something of a crossroads: older models are under greater scrutiny, calls for democracy and transparency abound, technology is changing the playing field, and a new generation is just getting its feet wet in charitable causes,” Forbes reports.

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