#GivingTuesdayNow a conversation with the organization behind the movement
May 04, 2020
Vanguard Charitable (VC): We recently had the chance to sit down (remotely, of course) with the GivingTuesday organization to talk about how their organization is responding to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Below is a transcript of our conversation, which has been edited for length.
VC: Many of us have heard of and participated in GivingTuesday. But not everyone knows about the organization, GivingTuesday. Tell us a little about your organization, and how did the idea for #GivingTuesday come about?
Giving Tuesday (GT): GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: A day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
GivingTuesday has been built by a broad coalition of partners, including individuals, families, nonprofits, schools, religious organizations, small businesses, and corporations. Our global network collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life.
VC: How have you been thinking about your organization’s role?
GT: When partners around the world reached out to us to help them galvanize a response to this unprecedented moment we decided to move forward with #GivingTuesdayNow. We decided that we should do what we do best: Assemble a global group of partners and on-the-ground leaders to drive a massive, collective spike of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. We know our networks of leaders and movement builders have an incredible power to mobilize people—and we wanted to channel that into a global moment of unity and action.
VC: What are your goals for #GivingTuesdayNow? How does the organization think about driving charitable giving in these unprecedented times?
GT: A moment like #GivingTuesdayNow is an opportunity for everyone to come to the table to collaborate and participate in the ways that best suit their values and goals because it's about encouraging and increasing all types of giving, by anyone, anywhere. We anticipate there will be people and organizations planning and participating in #GivingTuesdayNow activities in every country in the world.
For #GivingTuesdayNow, we seek to drive an overall increase in generous activity. When we think about driving an increase in charitable giving, we want to first focus on ways to connect people with the ample opportunities there are to engage and give to the social sector—we’ve seen that by engaging supporters in multiple ways, we can unlock an overall increase of giving as well as an increase in the number of people who are making those gifts.
We want to raise awareness that everyone has something to give, and every act of generosity counts because we know this leads to building a habit and positive association with increased generous behavior. The more we can get everyone thinking and talking about generosity, the more opportunity we have to make giving top of mind and a priority for a greater number of people.
VC: As you know, Vanguard Charitable is a sponsor of donor-advised funds (DAFs). What is the role that you sees for DAFs in relief and recovery efforts related to the pandemic?
GT: The current situation is unique, so we can't necessarily expect to see the same patterns as in previous shocks to the economy. However, research has shown that in the last recession, donor-advised funds provided notable resilience to the nonprofit sector: The value of grants relative to assets increased, as did the flow rate (the ratio of grant dollars to contributions). While fundholders deposited less and the value of assets declined with the market, they increased their grants to charities, mitigating some of the impacts of the recession on nonprofits.
Since the last recession, the number and value of donor-advised funds has increased dramatically. In addition, DAF sponsors are actively engaging their fundholders to give from their accounts in response to the COVID crisis. We are already seeing substantial response to this call to action, and this has the potential to significantly cushion the economic impact on the sector.
VC: Final question, and perhaps the most important. How can individuals get involved in #GivingTuesdayNow?
GT: There are so many ways for individuals to give back, even while practicing physical distancing and staying safe!
#GivingTuesdayNow is about giving of all types—some may choose to give a financial contribution to their favorite cause or a fundraising drive, others will opt to reach out to neighbors, start an advocacy campaign, donate goods or extra supplies, share gratitude to frontline workers and those keeping us safe. If you can show generosity and share kindness, you have something to give!
People can find more ideas for ways to give here. We encourage everyone to add their generosity story to the map. You can reach out to your favorite community organization or participate in one of our many local campaigns that are mobilizing individuals for #GivingTuesdayNow.