What The Findings From GivingTuesday Tell Us with Chief Data Officer Woodrow Rosenbaum

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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Generosity beams across the globe on every GivingTuesday, and 2022 will be no different (it’s backed by data!)

Last year, roughly 35 million adults participated, raising $2.7 billion dollars, just in the US! 

Woodrow Rosenbaum is the Chief Data Officer for GivingTuesday, and in this episode, we discuss why it’s so important for organizations to play an active role in the day, the need for more diverse donors, and the incredible potential for what this year could hold.

You’ll also hear why small and mid-sized organizations are growing faster than ever on GivingTuesday and the resilience we need if we’re going to weather the upcoming economic storm.

Let’s make this the best GivingTuesday yet!

Sneak Peek:

The importance of participating in GivingTuesday 

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Every year, it takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. Amazing, right?

People are ALWAYS looking for a way to feel like they’re a part of something bigger, and the best opportunity you can capitalize on is to get involved and be present, especially when we’re all going to be much more primed and motivated to give on this day!

Woodrow’s important work involves digging deeper beneath the surface, working with partners across different sectors to understand the drivers and impacts of generosity:

What is the full spectrum of generosity?

How are people leveraging their generosity to make better communities?

How do we motivate more of these behaviors?

Some of his findings are fascinating. Not surprisingly, larger organizations tend to get the largest share of donations. But it’s the mid-sized organizations that are growing the most overall. It’s the smaller organizations that are actually capitalizing on the opportunity much better than others. 

Diversifying your donors (and why small, recurring donors matter more than ever) 

The GivingTuesday Data Commons released a report recently, called From Scarcity to Abundance: Mapping the Giving Ecosystem. (Note: there was SO much great information in it, I could write an entire blog post!)

But one key takeaway was why we need a diverse set of donors and specifically, why we shouldn’t ever neglect small, recurring donors.

Woodrow reveals that people are highly generous, but if we’re focusing only on large donor stewardship, it will be at the expense of broader engagement. And in fact, it’s the smaller, recurring donors who often weather economic downturns and are more resilient.

Someone donating $1,000 might receive an email or a phone call or an invite to a gala, but it’s the $25 recurring donor who, over many years, will still equate to a contribution worth thousands. Make sure your donors feel great and overdeliver on the experience they’re subscribed to.

Trends to pay attention to in the giving space and what’s ahead for 2023 

2020 was an interesting year, one we can think of as “crisis giving.” While there was a massive influx of new donors, that leveled off in 2021. Now, we’re back to fewer donors in our systems, and it’s been tough to keep up with acquisition. Organizations were under a lot of pressure to focus on larger donors.

Younger donors are also making a noticeable impact! They may be less financially secure, but they are highly charitably inclined, and they are more trusting of nonprofits. They believe it’s important to give back.

As we look ahead to 2023, Woodrow hopes for more participation that drives more sustainable dollars for the sector.

He shares, “participation right now is really key. It’s how we’re going to be resilient moving forward. It’s how we’re going to be more equitable. It’s how we’re going to give agency to more givers. I really hope that people use this giving season and giving Tuesday to really re-energize themselves and their organizations, because that’s actually what’s gonna make the difference. Whether we’re up or down is in our hands.”

What Woodrow Is Working On

Woodrow and his team just launched a desperately needed capital campaign to support the GivingTuesday Data Commons, with a goal of offering the necessary data and insights to be agile, and understand what’s happening in the marketplace. They have a $26 million dollar goal, and at the time of our conversation, had achieved over 40% of their target!

He shares, “the idea here is that we will be able to really firm up and scale all of that infrastructure. It’s open data and learning for the entire social sector around the world.”

Notable Quotes from Woodrow

“GivingTuesday is now a lot more than just the day. It’s global. It’s about capacity building and supporting the sector, and the nonprofit sector, but also just the social sector and civil society generally, all over the world, every day of the year.”

“The generosity of the American public is a lot more elastic than anyone’s ever credited it with. And what we achieve this year, overall and on GivingTuesday is going to be exactly what we get out there and inspire. So where’s it gonna go? I hope we see a lot more participation, driving more sustainable dollars for the sector. And participation right now is really key – it’s how we’re going to be resilient moving forward. It’s how we’re going to be more equitable. It’s how we’re going to give agency to more givers.”

Resources & Links

If you want to make this GivingTuesday even butter than last year, join Floyd Jones and me for a fun and free webinar:

How To Set Up Your GivingTuesday Campaign in 1 Hour Without Pulling Your Hair Out! on November 10th. Go to positiveequation.com/givebutter to sign up and find out how your organization can qualify for $50,000!

Learn more about GivingTuesday on their website, and you can also explore the work Woodrow is doing with the Data Commons

Connect with Woodrow Rosenbaum on LinkedIn.

Want to make Missions to Movements even better? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram. Be sure to tag @positivequation so I can connect with you.

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