Dear Fundraising Experts,

The web is full of information, articles, and toolkits detailing how nonprofits can maximize their participation on #GivingTuesday. But it is very hard to find anything about how donors should behave or what we should expect on December 2nd. There’s an organization I’m passionate about and really would like to support it, but I have checked, and this particular organization is not a partner in #GivingTuesday. Do you think I should make a #GivingTuesday gift to this organization regardless? Or would doing so defeat the purpose of the day and punish organizations that have worked so hard to support it?

Torn About #GivingTuesday
Merrick, Long Island


Dear Torn About #GivingTuesday,

You have posed a difficult question. In many ways, the Evans Consulting Team is torn as well. We have promoted #GivingTuesday in articles, blog posts, social media, and in private consultations with our clients. We believe the social media phenomenon offers an unprecedented opportunity for nonprofits to tell their stories, generate awareness and harness the spirit of generosity. People have the desire to contribute to something meaningful. This day allows nonprofits the chance to capitalize on that desire in order to raise more money.

Most nonprofits have little reason to sit this day out. Even if they aren’t organizing a major fundraising effort, groups can use the day to highlight the work of other organizations, mobilize volunteers for a specific project, or simply say thank you to their supporters. Using December 2nd to highlight a group that isn’t participating seems, on some level, like it is rewarding an organization for not doing work. And if an organization isn’t posting or sharing on social media, your donation or #Unselfie will potentially have a much smaller audience. And there won’t be the same kind of potential to have your donation doubled with a matching grant. Many organizations with robust #GivingTuesday campaigns have found donors to offer such grants.

Still, as champions of philanthropy, we can’t ever urge donors not to give to a worthy cause, particularly on a day devoted to charity. Just because an organization hasn’t done the work of preparing for #GivingTuesday doesn’t mean they are not doing great work in their field. The end goal of #GivingTuesday is not to promote itself, but to make the world a better place.

If you have an organization in mind that is doing great work but sitting out #GivingTuesday, go ahead and give. Be sure to use #GivingTuesday in whatever you post, and tag the organization you are supporting. Perhaps your post will inspire others to support the organization as well.

Better yet, give to the organization you had planned to, and make a separate gift to a group that is actively involved in #GivingTuesday. That would send an even stronger statement about your commitment to philanthropy and bringing about positive change. The best aspect about the whole concept is that it is encouraging millions of donors like you to be generous.

If you have questions regarding fundraising, board management, strategic planning, nonprofit best practices or anything else related to nonprofits and philanthropy, please email us at All questions will be handled anonymously.