The Subject Lines That Get You Giving On #GivingTuesday

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Here’s some useful holiday history on how we arrived at #GivingTuesday as an antidote to seasonal gluttony.

Since most charities generate the vast majority of their contributions at the end of the year, Giving Tuesday opened the door to a more organized effort on a specific day that any organization could step into. And it worked.

While still in its early stages compared to its retail counterparts, Giving Tuesday has already produced spectacular results for many non-profits. That has led more than 30,000 organizations in 68 countries, from non-profits to corporations to governments, to participate. And the hashtag was mentioned more than 750,000 times on Twitter in 2014.

Of course, it’s still nowhere near as big or established as Cyber Monday.

All the little scrappy nonprofits trying their best! I was among them once, a development professional trying everything I could think of to get you, the potential donor, to open an email appeal. And god it’s hard. Subject lines are the worst. Mike reports, “From my inbox: ‘TODAY ONLY: Your Donation Counts Twice in the Fight Against Blood Cancers.’ I think that’s pretty good. It’s like a Black Friday deal.”

I’ve got “Invest in Their Future Today.” Three buzzwords but still. That can’t compete.


If you like literary nonprofits, here’s a list of fifteen via Bustle, including the Afghan Women’s Writing Project and Freedom to Read.


How do you determine which charities serve as the best channel for your funds? Here’s some advice from Daily Finance.

There are three key facets for grading a charity: its financial performance, its governance practices and its results. “Does the charity have a diverse board keeping an eye on things? Sufficient rainy day funds for when things get tough? A set of ethical best practices?” asked Sandra Miniutti, marketing vice president and chief financial officer of Charity Navigator. “And most importantly, can it deliver results? Not just the heart-warming stories that draw you to the cause in the first place, of one person’s life impacted by their work, but consistent, documentable, reliable results?”


I’m giving to public radio, because I’m a fangirl, and also frankly because of the reporters’ awesome names. I mean, why pretend. I’m also giving to an arthritis foundation in honor of Nikki Chung because, despite the fact that we’ve never met in person, she sent me a huge box of maternity clothes by mail, and how do you respond to kindness like that except by passing it forward?


Mike: I’m giving $150 to Team Rubicon, the amazing organization I volunteered with during Hurricane Sandy after having a not-so-great experience with other large organizations. I’ve donated to Team Rubicon every year since. I also plan on giving to Planned Parenthood.


Nicole: I’ll play the role of the curmudgeon on this one, because the last thing I want after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Unnamed Shopping Sunday, and Cyber Monday is another day where I have to SPEND NOW or forever miss my chance. I am not anti-charity—I donated to both Water Aid and the Red Cross within the past few weeks—but I really, really want this cheerful parade of spending opportunities to end. (Or, at least, for #GivingTuesday to be scheduled later in the month. Can we combine it with Boxing Day?)

That aside, I just donated to Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter in Seattle. Because I am a curmudgeon but not a monster.




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