For one day each December, almost 60 nations celebrate giving in what is arguably the world’s most collaborative philanthropic movement. At this year’s GivingTuesday Global Summit which brought together philanthropic leaders from across Europe and beyond, Fundraising Europe interviewed Kait Sheridan from the GivingTuesday Global Team, about the campaign’s distributed leadership model and more.
GivingTuesday has rapidly become a household name in many nations across the world, what is the background to the campaign?
GivingTuesday was launched in the US in 2012 as a day to celebrate giving; an antidote to the consumer-driven focus of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over the past seven years, the movement has grown and has now been tracked to almost every country and territory on Earth, providing an opportunity to everyone to give back and do good.
What does the campaign aim to achieve?
We celebrate all acts of generosity. From donating books, volunteering, to giving money, GivingTuesday is inspiring people all over the world to come together for one common purpose: to do good.
It’s also providing new opportunities for nonprofits and organisations to engage supporters and to grow their capacity. Throughout the year, campaign leaders share tools, resources, and ideas with the goal of boosting philanthropy in all forms.
How many countries now have a formal partnership role in the movement, hosting a national GivingTuesday campaign?
There are over 55 countries in the global movement, with almost every European nation represented. Bulgaria, Finland, France, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine took part for the first time in 2018. This year’s Global Summit was held in Bellagio in Italy earlier this month and it was a great opportunity to see the European philanthropic community unite and share their stories and ideas for making this year’s GivingTuesday even bigger and better.
Dutch GivingTuesday leader and director of Legavision, Theo Hesen, adds:
“It’s fantastic to be part of an international philanthropic movement like this and reignite our passion for growing philanthropy and creating a more just world.”
What is GivingTuesday’s distributed leadership model and how does it work?
The GivingTuesday global team in New York works with organisations around the world in leading localised, national movements in their own countries. These global leaders oversee the facilitation and direction of the movement in their country. The global team supports these leaders throughout the year and encourages them to customise, adapt, and translate the movement for their country and region. The global leader network also works together across borders, cultures and languages to share ideas and promote philanthropy on a global scale.
How important are digital channels to the campaign?
GivingTuesday is fuelled by the power of social media, providing a way for people to share what they give and why they do so. We can see that crowdfunding platforms and channels like Facebook are revolutionising how people donate and talk about philanthropy. These digital channels are connecting donors to causes and creating an online, global community of givers.
For the global leaders, digital communication is hugely important. We have one in-person meeting every year, but the leaders are talking every day on WhatsApp and over email. It’s crucial to maintaining and strengthening the bonds between countries.
How do you track the impact and what has been the biggest success for GivingTuesday?
Each country tracks the impact of the initiative differently, but together, the global network is looking to partner with platforms and processors to learn more about giving trends and behaviours. Through the GivingTuesday Data Collaborative, we are starting to learn more about how people give, what causes they support, and what impact technology and social media has on donor behaviour. We have learned that there’s huge potential for people to give more and give more frequently to charity, and we are leveraging GivingTuesday to test new ideas and to inspire greater generosity worldwide.
What tips would you offer those looking to build a worldwide philanthropic movement?
Be open and inclusive. Some of the most innovative and creative campaigns have come from the community of participants, not the organisers themselves. Probably the best example of this is our logo. We first saw some of our global leaders take the heart in #GivingTuesday and make it their own, representing the flag or symbols of that country. As the movement grew, communities, schools, charities, and organisations around the world followed suit and created their own #GivingTuesday logo, hashtag, and campaign. This creativity and co-ownership has been a key part of the movement’s success.
About Kait Sheridan
Kait Sheridan manages the community of Global Leaders and digital communications for #GivingTuesday. Kait first joined 92nd Street Y’s Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact team in 2013, where she worked on #GivingTuesday, the Social Good Summit, 92Y Fellowship programs, and other strategic initiatives. In 2016, Kait’s personal life took her to the UK and then Asia, where she continues to work on #GivingTuesday with a focus on expanding the Global Leader community. She has worked on a number of award-winning social media campaigns, leadership programs, and strategic initiatives with NGOs around the globe, and advises a number of startups and companies on their corporate CSR and fundraising programs. Kait currently lives in Hong Kong.