Giving Tuesday: No Giving Required

Giving Tuesday: No Giving Required

 

Giving Tuesday is a mediocre idea made utterly worthless by the notion that people can participate without giving.

From the Executive Service Corps:

#GivingTuesday is almost here!  Has your organization tapped into this social movement?

If you would like to increase brand awareness and engagement for your organization, as part of this movement, there is an #UnSelfie component to #GivingTuesday.

It allows for those who cannot donate monetarily to take part in the movement by simply taking a selfie, describing why your nonprofit is important to them and sharing the selfie online while tagging the nonprofit as well as #GivingTuesday and #UnSelfie.

(Emphasis the Nonprofiteer's.)

Are you f---ing kidding me?  Someone has figured out a way for people to NOT GIVE ANYTHING and still feel a part of Giving Tuesday?  And an organization which counsels charities is endorsing this idea?

(As for "increas[ing] brand awareness," the Nonprofiteer is irresistibly reminded of media outlets which try to persuade her to write without pay "for the exposure."  Journalists, and charities, could die of such exposure.)

Giving Tuesday struck the Nonprofiteer as clever, if kind of trivial, when she thought it took place on the Tuesday BEFORE Thanksgiving.  But when she realized it was set for the Tuesday AFTER, once everyone had spent every nickel on eating and shopping, she started to get cranky.  So we encourage people to spend all their disposable income and then toss to charity the nothing that's left?  That's  an appeal designed to generate the minimum of dollars and the maximum of self-congratulation.

And THEN we tell people they don't even have to give?  That they can take a picture (of themselves, of course) and consider that a contribution?  That's an appeal designed to comfort the comfortable without doing a damn thing for the afflicted.

No reason to criticize charities for participating: what do they have to lose?  And wise ones like the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange give their prospective supporters two options: "Set a reminder [to give December 3]" and "Donate now!"  Please, everybody, choose Door #2.

The Nonprofiteer lost a client once when she expressed her view that Board members should give a minimum amount to the agency they govern.  The amount in that case was $500 and the Board member nearly lunged at the Nonprofiteer's throat when she added that $500 was the cost of getting Starbuck's every business day for a year.  "Well, I don't get Starbuck's; I've just gotten out of law school and started practicing. I have student loans to pay.  I don't have any money to spare!"  "Then why did you join the Board?" asked the Nonprofiteer with her usual tact, and that was the end of that engagement.

The point: privileged people don't often recognize how much they actually have.  If we want them to share, we have to strike when their pockets feel full, and help them understand that while they may feel poor, other people actually are.

Damn.  All these words, and still Dickens had Marley say it better and in less time: "Mankind was my business!"  Humanity is our business; so let's stop gorging and shopping and taking pictures of ourselves, and be about it.

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    Nonprofiteer

    The Nonprofiteer is Kelly Kleiman, principal of NFP Consulting, which provides Board development, strategic planning and fund-raising services to charities and philanthropies. Through her consulting practice and in her guise as The Nonprofiteer, Kelly has spent the past 25-plus years helping small and mid-sized nonprofits organize themselves better and raise more money. These days she focuses especially on helping them use high-skill volunteers. Kelly is also a lawyer and freelance journalist whose reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Chicago Philanthropy; in the alternative press; on websites including the Huffington Post; and on the radio, including the BBC and WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She and her fellow "Dueling Critic" Jonathan Abarbanel present a weekly podcast of their reviews of Chicago theater at DuelingCritics.net. Earlier in her career she was dean of admissions of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and Executive Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and practiced real estate and zoning law with the firm of Rudnick & Wolfe. Kelly holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. She was a founding Board member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits and also served for 5 years on the Board of the Association for Women Journalists–Chicago. She can be reached ("Dear Nonprofiteer . . .") at KellyNFP@yahoo.com.

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