Don’t know about you, but I got slammed this week from organizations I know well and many I’d never heard of….all with the same message: “Dear Craig….It’s Giving Tuesday so send money.”
Now, I really do believe in making contributions and do so all year long to the organizations, both local and national, that make a difference related to things about which I care.
So, I got curious….who decided that the first Tuesday after Black Friday and Black Monday should be Giving Tuesday?
Figured it must be a charitable organization who slyly calculated that many of us would be so overcome by guilt associated with uncontrolled spending during a long weekend that when Tuesday arrived, we’d give to a cause. Well, it turns out in 2012 that is exactly what the United Nations Foundation figured might happen…but, has it?
For me, the overwhelming number of requests on one day yielded nothing. It just seemed like too much of a gimmick this year. If the “it’s Tuesday, so give plea” from multiple organizations wasn’t enough, Facebook friends (some I’d never heard of) took up the cause and began requesting gifts for their favorite charities….because it was Tuesday.
Maybe it’s time to rethink this UN Foundation initiative.
Here’s the thing…with no small measure of jubilance, it was announced last year that #GivingTuesday had raised $274 million online…the most ever since the concept was launched.
Impressive. But, consider this….in 2017, Americans gave $410 billion to charity. Yes, that is over $1 billion a day, every day of the week. This from the National Philanthropic Trust which also tells us there were just over 1.5 million charitable organizations in the country in 2015.
I’ve always thought that giving is an important part of life. But, it usually involves a relationship between a donor and an organization. The gift of money and time help the organization and just as much or more help the individual who gives to feel good about themselves.
While I certainly would not frown on methods to encourage people to give, I wonder whether an overwhelming onslaught of requests on a Tuesday in late November is working for or against the real need to help others. Placing pure annoyance between great needs and generous donors is a mistake in the view of this donor and fundraiser, and I look forward to responding favorably to thoughtful messages from organizations and people I know and trust, but not because they message me on Tuesday.
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.