The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 50

Tenth-Year Takeaways and What’s Next for GivingTuesday, with Kathleen Murphy Toms

In this Episode:

Whether you participated this year or not, the reach and impact of GivingTuesday is undeniable. Nonprofits in the U.S. alone raised $2.7 billion in 24 hours. Millions of people around the world gave money, time and voice to the causes they care about.

But it’s not as simple as saying it’s GivingTuesday and asking for money. We invited Kathleen Murphy-Toms, GivingTuesday’s Director of Digital Strategy, back on the show to talk about what works, what doesn’t, what to do now, and what’s next for the movement after 10 years.

Not surprisingly, we had a lot to talk about…

Listen to this Episode

[00:00:04.310] – Intro Video
Welcome to The Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast and podcast where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better world for all of us. Da-Ding!

[00:00:21.310] – Boris
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. Today is a very cool and interesting episode for me. It is the first time we’ve got a guest coming back to the show. This guest has already been on once and while we were on the air the first time, I said we’ve got to have you back because we want to talk about what happens in the six months since we’ve had her last time.

[00:00:42.620] – Boris
She is Kathleen-Murphy Toms. We had her back in episode 26. Kathleen, for those of you that don’t know, didn’t catch that episode, you might want to go check it out. But she is the Director of Digital Strategy for a little organization called GivingTuesday. Also known as the biggest philanthropy movement in history, GivingTuesday leverages social media and a broad network of nonprofits, community activists, schools, brands, small businesses and individuals to ignite a movement and global call to action to give. It has seen record breaking engagement at every level of society, from some of the world’s biggest celebrities and influencers, to students, volunteers and everyday givers.

[00:01:20.110] – Boris
Kathleen studies the use of digital tools within social movements, particularly their use in shifting power, creating mass mobilization, instilling behavior change, and achieving global equity. Kathleen has coached thousands of social impact leaders and grassroots organizers from nearly every continent on how to not only generate funds for their cause, but to inspire and mobilize grounds for movements to create systemic change.

[00:01:43.700] – Boris
She is on the faculty at New York University Center for Global Affairs, where she teaches social changemakers how to develop innovative content marketing and digital strategies to activate and engage new audiences. Her class is actually coming up soon. If you’re listening to this and interested, you might still get a chance to sign up for a spot. It is limited.

[00:02:00.900] – Boris
And Kathleen describes her superpower as navigating the tools that are worth the time… Sorry, navigating the tools that are worth the time investment versus those that just aren’t. With that, let’s bring Kat onto the show. Hi, Kat.

[00:02:18.740] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Hey, it’s good to see you again.

[00:02:21.390] – Boris
It is always a pleasure to see you. We get to see each other not often enough, I’d say, but I do feel privileged I get to run into you in several circles at this point. And it’s always a pleasure to hear from you, to chat with you, to discuss what’s going on in the world with you. And I’m excited to have you back on to do just that, specifically from your little vantage point of expertise.

[00:02:45.370] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It’s a little vantage point of expertise. I’m humble. You know this.

[00:02:50.850] – Boris
I do know you are humble. And I do know that you also happen to be very knowledgeable and sitting on top of a pyramid of so much valuable information. And you are luckily very generous about sharing it with everybody. And so that’s exactly what we’re going to do again today.

[00:03:09.230] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Let’s do it. Let’s get into it.

[00:03:11.160] – Boris
All right. Catch me up. What’s happened in the last six months since you’ve been on here? There was this little event, GivingTuesday 2021, how’d that go?

[00:03:19.770] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It was a little thing. It happened. It wasn’t little. It never is. We say this every year, right? And we can never anticipate. We talked about this last time. We can never truly predict what’s going to happen. We don’t know. There’s literally no way for us to guess, and so we don’t. But every year it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This is the 10th GivingTuesday, this past one. But now we’re in year ten. So this year is our ten-year anniversary. I can’t even… None of us can wrap our mind around it. We feel like this was just yesterday when we were trying to explain to people that, yes, it’s “pound” GivingTuesday. Yes, you type in the pound sign Giving Tuesday. That’s what a hashtag is. To now, having raised $2.7 billion in 24 hours for charities in the United States alone, it’s mind blowing every single time I say it. And I always—I have a sticky note on the corner of my laptop to make sure that I get the number right, because I get it wrong every single time. $2.7 billion in the US alone that we know about, right? The numbers that we put out are always conservative.

[00:04:30.730] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
What else do we know? Volunteerism was up. 35 million adults participated in GivingTuesday by raising their hand to volunteer in some way. A lot of it was micro-volunteering this year, right? And virtual volunteering. Things that I can do from the comfort of my own couch. Some of the things we were suggesting people do. If you’re a bilingual person, you can transcribe things for people. You can help the Smithsonian digitally transcribe stuff. I’ve done before. It’s cool. What else happened on GivingTuesday? Goods donated. Sorry, 13 million people gave their voice. So these are things like sharing a cause that’s meaningful to them, signing a petition, committing to get out there and create change locally in your community by raising your voice. It was a big day. It’s always a big day, but it doesn’t stop on just this one day, right?

[00:05:31.490] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
So the rest of the year we spend trying to convince the whole world that GivingTuesday is actually every single Tuesday. And what happens if we wake up every Tuesday the same way we do on Mondays and go, “Oh, it’s Monday motivation day, or it’s Friday vibes day.” Whatever it is, today is Tuesday, it’s the day to give back in a little way or a big way. Because if we all do that and act together, that’s how we change our whole world.

[00:06:03.230] – Boris
I love that. And I think it’s a great philosophy, mantra, whatever you want to call it. About gratitude and about giving back. There’s certainly enough psychology studies done around the fact that when folks experience more gratitude, when they’re more aware of gratitude and they are doing things for others, they’re happier themselves. So it’s not even—if you’re an organization trying to instill this kind of concept of GivingTuesday on a regular basis—it’s not even selfish. It’s actually, in its own way, doing good for society to encourage that volunteerism, that kind of giving back in one way or another. I love that.

[00:06:42.380] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
And that empathy for each other in our communities and being a more community-centric society. I think these past two years have shown us exactly the need for this sort of behavior change. So that’s the little thing that we’re working on over here at GivingTuesday.

[00:07:03.830] – Boris
Yeah. I feel like in the last few years, we’ve really as a world had something really large in common. And I’d like to talk a lot about heroes and villains. And certainly most people will see the pandemic COVID-19 as a villain, and it was big enough that it united an entire world against it. Unfortunately, there were also some major splits and differences within that of how we should go about it, what we should do about it. But I do think in almost every way, it did help form communities.

[00:07:39.470] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
And when it comes down to it, we need to become a more generous humanity. I think we are inherently. But there’s always room to grow that, right? What does it look like if our whole world values generosity above all else? Do we become the more just equitable society and world? I think we do. I think that’s the path forward to anything, any of our crises at the moment.

[00:08:08.390] – Boris
Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good vision to me. Let’s talk then, I guess, about GivingTuesday and giving in terms of the numbers that you do have. I know that you guys measure giving not just on GivingTuesday. You measure it for the entire year-end period and year round. You’ve got partnerships with all kinds of CRMs, right? So can you talk to me a little bit, first of all, GivingTuesday was huge. Did it detract at all from the rest of the giving season? Do you know about those numbers yet?

[00:08:42.690] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
So it never does. This has been an age old focus and an assumption about GivingTuesday since the early days., right? This incessant focus on the transaction and that it’s how it’s related to the scarcity mindset. And we think that’s severely limiting the social sector. So many organizations feeling like they’ve just hit their giving ceiling. And GivingTuesday itself is a perfect example of this. In the early days, there was this assumption that it couldn’t possibly be additive. Skeptics would tell us that giving is flat and you couldn’t increase it. There was just no way. All you could do is move money around and that if somebody gives today, then they’re inherently going to give less later on. And the reality is that that’s just not true.

[00:09:34.950] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Some of the earliest work that we did with the GivingTuesday data department was to examine the years of transactional-level data, and we found that the statistical impact of GivingTuesday is that it generates a spike. It’s always additive. This notion of cannibalization is just not something that happens. And if that’s like the number one thing that the data commons and our team wants to put out there, that this scarcity mindset is just not it guys. People are going to give and they’re going to give repeatedly to the causes that they care about. We have to adopt an abundance mentality if we’re going to move forward.

[00:10:18.510] – Boris
Absolutely. Couldn’t agree with you more on that. I find organizations in general have a scarcity mindset, and I kind of get it. Most start as scrappy, young nonprofits with not a lot of resources. But even as they get and hopefully grow into becoming midsize and even large organizations, there’s always this, “we’ve got to have as much as we can in order to do as much as we can,” which I get. But there’s a sense of competition where it doesn’t really need to be there. I agree with you. If we can activate more people and if we could show them the benefits of giving and the benefits of creating a positive impact in society, then we’re going to want to do more of that, right? As individuals, it’s going to feel good to us. We’re going to keep on doing it.

[00:11:02.960] – Boris
However, if we take someone’s money and then don’t communicate with them and then don’t ask them for their input and their feedback and to come along on the journey with us, then sure, it might create a negative association with giving, and we definitely want to avoid that. But assuming that we can tell our stories well, steward our donors. Even from the point of GivingTuesday to the very end of the year, we might be very surprised as to what happens with those same donors.

[00:11:33.300] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Absolutely. This is about how do you rally all your folks and build a movement for your cause? It’s not just about fundraising on one day of the year. The opportunity is to create mass mobilization for your cause, and we can do that if we all come together. We have a lot of coalition campaigns that happen on GivingTuesday. It’s one of the things that we’re most proud of. Nonprofits from various causes will all come together to work together on GivingTuesday. So there’s Giving Zoo Day, there’s a domestic violence coalition. There are Muslim organizations who all work together to uplift each other. It’s really beautiful.

[00:12:14.610] – Boris
Sort of the rising tide lifts all boats concept.

[00:12:19.530] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Absolutely. Absolutely. And we want to see more of these. So if you are listening and you are a part of a cause and you go to the GivingTuesday website, you don’t yet see a GivingTuesday cause coalition for you, contact us and let us know. We want to help you launch it.

[00:12:35.310] – Boris
So organizations are usually fearful that their donors will donate to someone else instead, right? If they enter a coalition like that. Do you have any data on what actually happens in these coalitions so that we could assuage some of those fears?

[00:12:48.930] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
What happens more often than not is that they’re giving to multiple organizations. So in certain age groups—and they tend to be the younger age groups, but this is happening a lot—folks will be really interested in giving to a cause, but not necessarily one individual organization. They might not care exactly which organization it goes to, just as long as they’re advancing the cause of hunger, poverty, whatever it is that is the cause of their heart. So these cause type of coalitions are a great thing to be a part of.

[00:13:23.850] – Boris
Do they then pool the money that comes in and split it among all of them? How does that work?

[00:13:30.350] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It depends on how each coalition is free to operate however it is that they want to operate. There’s a leader of each cause coalition. The infrastructure varies quite a bit. Sometimes they do these pooling strategies, but a lot of times they’ll just be all together on one website and some of the systems will show another nonprofit to you after you’ve given. They’ll say, “I see that you like this cause, what about this other one? They are also a hunger-related cause.” They might not necessarily be located in your city. They might be located across the country. Would you be interested in giving also to this organization? And so many folks press the yes and raise their hand and say, yes, I am also going to give to that organization, too.

[00:14:12.750] – Boris
That’s amazing.

[00:14:13.980] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
People give and they want to give.

[00:14:16.890] – Boris
Yeah. You could almost think about it like you care about a cause and you want to affect change. Almost like investing. So if you’re trying to invest in a certain outcome in the world, you might want to put a little bit of money here, a little bit of money there. Overall, you might put in more money because you see more ways that you could affect positive change rather than just on one organization’s small scale or large scale, whatever it might be.

[00:14:42.160] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Yes. That’s a great way to think about it. It is. It’s an investment in the world that we want to live in.

[00:14:48.390] – Boris
So what else is working? What else worked, as far as you could tell for this past year, that organizations should be thinking about for next year in terms of GivingTuesday and year-round giving?

[00:15:00.550] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
A lot of things. I mean, one of the secret sauces to GivingTuesday is this sense of urgency, right? It’s the most important driver of donation behavior. If you’re a donor, you want to be in on that fun. It’s great to give on GivingTuesday, but it’s not a reason to give to your organization, right? These nonprofits still have to tell a compelling and emotionally-driven story of impact in order to tap into that heightened environment for giving. So it’s not just about GivingTuesday. You can create these moments all throughout the year.

[00:15:35.380] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It’s one of the reasons we created GivingEveryTuesday. What does it look like to create a mini-GivingTuesday every single Tuesday of the year? If you’re not tapped into that, please join us. You can find out more at But you can do this in your own communities, too, to create these giving moments that create a sense of urgency and collective action all throughout the year. And keep those GivingTuesday donors and all of your donors engaged all throughout the year. We’ve seen folks give calls to action to not just donate. Maybe you have a volunteer day throughout the year. Maybe you have an advocacy year, but keep those folks engaged throughout the year.

[00:16:15.320] – Boris
So there are different resources that we could devote to organizations. You already actually covered them a couple of times in different ways. But it’s money, it’s time and it’s voice.

[00:16:24.880] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms

[00:16:25.730] – Boris
So advocacy would fall under voice and/or time, volunteering falls under time. And of course, money donating to a cause specifically. And I like that you’re saying stagger or don’t always just ask for one thing, show other ways that people could get involved, other things that they could do to feel like they’re part of the cause, like they’re giving of themselves and investing into you, because then they’ll be more invested in seeing a positive result.

[00:16:51.420] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
And investing in their own communities, right? You have to frame it that way. It’s not necessarily investment in you and your specific work. It’s their investment in their own community or in that cause that they are so passionate about, all about that framing.

[00:17:06.250] – Boris
But when you say urgency and you mentioned that a couple of times, are you just saying “today is the day,” or are you saying on the sense of… like, I just got an email this morning from an organization that I support that’s worried about what’s going on in Ukraine. There’s definitely a sense of urgency there. We can’t manufacture that year round. And I actually have seen organizations try to say, every other day is seemingly… obviously I’m exaggerating, but now we need your support now more than ever. Every other day.

[00:17:37.490] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It can’t be fake. It can’t be fake, right? There are limits to your creation of urgency. I think it’s recognizing the moments that are going to work for your community, though, right?

[00:17:51.280] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
If you’re an organization that’s on the ground, doing refugee work, then there have been moments this past year that have been very obvious for you to do something. And I think there’s a lot of hand wringing about over-asking. We get this question a lot. Am I over-asking? And the answer is absolutely not. In fact, we are not asking nearly as much as we should be. Asking broadly, right? Now. We’re not advising that you ask for money every single day of the year and run weekly fundraising campaigns. That might be too much for your community. But asking in the sense of getting your folks involved in all of the different ways that we just mentioned.

[00:18:33.910] – Boris
I totally agree that organizations tend not to ask enough in different ways for different things. There is this fear of donor fatigue and asking too much of your donors. But if you’re trying to engage them as human beings, not as ATMs, and asking different things of them on a regular basis, then I definitely think that just gets them more involved and more invested, as we were saying before. But then how do we… GivingTuesday itself, let’s focus just on the one big day, right? The day after Cyber Monday or the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. How do you create a sense of urgency on that day? I mean, it’s a known day at this point. But is there…

[00:19:22.460] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Yes, so you don’t have to. It’s already there, right? We are now known. We have the most brand awareness that we’ve ever had, right? And that’s just going to keep on growing globally. I don’t want to say everybody knows about what GivingTuesday is, but there are a lot of people who know what GivingTuesday is at this point. And your opportunity is to harness that energy that’s already happening. We know there are millions of people who participate in GivingTuesday. We saw it last year. We’re going to see it again next year. It’s an already existing urgent day that is happening with or without you, which sounds like a harsh thing to say. But use that. And whether you use it for fundraising or not… you don’t have to use it for fundraising. You can use it to mobilize your community in a different way. You can get them ready for your end-of-year campaign when you’re ready to launch that. But use that as a rallying cry for people who are already interested in giving.

[00:20:31.450] – Boris
Sort of as a springboard.

[00:20:33.850] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
But you can’t say it’s GivingTuesday so give to my organization, right? You can’t just fire off five emails throughout the day that say give because it’s GivingTuesday. You can say “it’s GivingTuesday and here’s all the impact that we are doing in our community. And if you’re new, here’s an overview of what we accomplished last year. And if you’ve been with us this whole time…” and you’re ideally sending those, you’re using your targeting.

[00:20:59.950] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
We’ll talk about this in my NYU class about email, marketing and targeting. Ideally, you’re sending these emails to different folks, but you’re sending another email, “you’ve been with us all this year, thank you. A thousand times thank you. And here are a bunch of different ways you can give to us. And here’s why. And here’s the impact that we’re creating along with you.”

[00:21:19.400] – Boris
Right, you still …

[00:21:19.070] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
But never, “you’re just giving because it’s GivingTuesday.” That’s going to fail.

[00:21:24.730] – Boris
Right. Right. You still need that story.

[00:21:32.530] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
And that’s almost always the answer that we get from folks when they’ll complain at us that well, GivingTuesday was a failure for us. Nine times out of ten, that’s what they end up saying to us. I sent an email that said it’s GivingTuesday, will you give to us? That’s not going to work. We know that’s not going to work.

[00:21:47.390] – Boris
Yeah. GivingTuesday is an opportunity to engage, but it’s not engagement in and of itself.

[00:21:53.700] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Right. Nailed it.

[00:21:56.920] – Boris
Absolutely valid point. So I’m glad we’re sharing that. Alright. So, if we want to have the best year of giving right this year and we want to have the best end-of-year campaign, starting with GivingTuesday in 2022… what are some of the trends, what are some of the things that we should be doing and looking at today to get ourselves in the best position to have the best results this year?

[00:22:23.280] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
So we are in the most volatile and uncertain market that we’ve ever been in, right? So thing number one to do is follow GivingTuesday, get on our newsletter because we are constantly putting out new data about what’s going on in the moment. Best thing to do is get on our newsletter. Second best thing that you can do is start working on your donor retention. Keep chugging along on that and work harder at it than you had in previous years because it’s been falling, right?

[00:23:01.450] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Folks are interested in giving to new organizations. And while that can also be great for you, still want to work on retaining those folks. So think about ways that you can create moments this coming year to engage your folks, to keep them moving and activated toward your cause. So they’re not just hearing from you once a year. It’s a little trickier to do. I know we’re not in-person in some places and out-of-person, however, we’re calling it in other places. But the thing that we’ve seen these past two years is that folks are creative and our sector is creative and resilient and innovative. And if you’re willing to experiment and we hope that you are, then you’re going to move farther, faster. And you’re going to retain more donors and you’re going to find new donors. I lost my train of thought, Boris. What were we talking about?

[00:23:58.170] – Boris
That’s okay. We’re talking about how to put ourselves in the best position for this year to have the best fundraising. We’re at the… when this episode is airing, it’s still the first quarter of the year. And so a lot of organizations are going through their processes. Hopefully, they’re looking at their new donors that they hopefully acquired starting the end of year last year, whether they picked them up during GivingTuesday or the rest of the end of your cycle. And I do agree, and I’ve had some other guests on the show talking about how donor retention is not nearly what it should be. And we need to be talking better—

[00:24:38.480] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
We got to do better. We’ve got to do better.

[00:24:41.630] – Boris
We need to be engaging our donors on a more regular basis, giving them value. That idea that you said before of how putting out constantly calls for money and just saying, give me money, give me money, give me money, donate, donate, donate is going to burn donors out. But if you’re giving back to them, if you’re providing value on a regular basis to your donors, then they’re going to be much more engaged and willing to pay you back for the value that you’re giving them. And sometimes that value might just be the work that you’re doing in your community, which they’re seeing, or that you’re sharing stories with them about. That’s also valuable to them and makes them feel good about the money they’ve invested.

[00:25:21.450] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
And they feel a part of that. That’s critical to frame it in a way, because they are. They’re part of that. And you have to show them that or you’re going to lose them.

[00:25:29.190] – Boris
If you think—and I’m going to try not to beat this analogy to death, but if you think about it—in terms of investing, if you had invested in Amazon when it was just first IPOed, came out on the stock market and you saw how well it was performing, you would likely invest more. And you would invest more over time because you kept believing in the company. You kept seeing how the work it was doing was working, and it was making more and more money for the folks that were investing. You might keep investing in Amazon or pick any company. It doesn’t really matter.

[00:25:58.960] – Boris
Similarly, if you’re investing in a nonprofit, the return on investment, it’s not financial, but it is very much real. They can see it. They can feel it and feeling perhaps being the most important one. So if they are giving to you and then seeing the return on investment over and over and over again, they’re much more likely then to keep trusting you with their money to provide that return again and again.

[00:26:23.820] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Exactly. If you don’t have monthly giving set up as an option on your donation page, I encourage everybody listening to do that. Mobile giving. It’s really critical that you get mobile giving—like that’s your Apple Pay, your… I click two times real quick, and that’s all I have to do in order to give to that nonprofit. That’s what I want. That’s what everybody wants. If your donation platform doesn’t offer mobile giving, now it’s February, plenty of time before end of year to investigate what that might look like, to move over to making things easier for your folks.

[00:27:03.162] – Boris

[00:27:03.990] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Streamline the whole experience. You have to, especially the way what folks expect of you. We have to make things easier and more efficient and more streamlined.

[00:27:19.570] – Boris
Absolutely. Removing as much friction as possible along the way. The river will cut through the softest rock. If I have to come back later to try to enter my credit card information on a desktop while I’m actually receiving a message on mobile and I don’t feel like typing everything in, then it’s going to—

[00:27:38.750] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It’s 2022. We cannot be asking anybody to type their credit card number anywhere.

[00:27:43.750] – Boris
Absolutely fair.

[00:27:44.720] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
I have very high expectations, but it’s possible. It’s also 2022, and we live in a world where it’s not hard to set this stuff up.

[00:27:55.570] – Boris
Speaking of 2022 and making things easy and giving them choices, do you guys track crypto donations as well?

[00:28:03.730] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
We don’t, but our community, we have a whole data… folks who are working on what that looks like. As you can imagine, that was a trend. This year we had crypto. What do they call it? There’s Bitcoin Tuesday, and then there’s crypto.

[00:28:19.160] – Boris
It’s Crypto Giving Tuesday. Yeah.

[00:28:20.420] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
There’s a couple of different donations—

[00:28:22.450] – Boris
The guys from The Giving Block created Crypto Giving Tuesday and NFT Tuesday.

[00:28:27.190] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
I was going to say there’s NFT Tuesday.

[00:28:30.610] – Boris
And they had a banner year. And they’re not the only folks processing crypto donations for nonprofits. But it was pretty impressive. Like 10X from last year.

[00:28:40.120] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It was immense, which I think we anticipated, right? But who knows if that’s going to be 10X for next year? Could not even hazard a guess. I don’t know what to say about crypto. I mean, if you’re in a position to try it out, I’m always inclined to say try it out. Get yourself a profile on Giving Block’s website. They walk you through how to do it, especially for people who have no idea what it is or what we’re talking about. They help you, you get your profile set up on there so that the folks who have Bitcoin and they want to donate it. You want to be there. There’s no sense in not being there.

[00:29:20.160] – Boris
Right. You can’t— you can only lose if you’re not going to get in the game.

[00:29:26.470] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Exactly right. And there’s not all that many that are signed up on the platform. Get in at the ground level, as they say.

[00:29:34.450] – Boris
All right, Kat, what else should our folks know? We’re coming up on that half-hour mark, which is what I aim for with every episode. And I always tend to run over. Hopefully, folks are staying with it because they love the content that’s coming across. And hearing from you certainly is one of those times when I’m happy to keep going. But what else should people know? What else should they be thinking about? Is there anything I didn’t get to ask you that they should be focusing on today?

[00:30:02.950] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
You’ve got time. We’re in February right now. So while I’m not saying that you should be thinking about GivingTuesday at this moment in your life, you can be thinking about things like making your systems more efficient, thinking about your offerings to your donors and how you’re going to keep them engaged throughout the year so that you are able to have a gangbusters GivingTuesday for this coming year.

[00:30:28.930] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Keep in touch with us. Follow GivingTuesday for all of the latest. We are offering programming all throughout the year. We have a partnership with MailChimp that I’m really excited about. I think this is the first time that’s ever happened. We’re investigating email. We’re looking at what happens to GivingTuesday emails. What’s the click through rate? All kinds of things. Partnerships with companies, brands, all kinds of things so that you can learn from the best of the best.

[00:31:06.110] – Boris
That’s pretty awesome. A couple of years ago or last year was it, you had an additional GivingTuesday kind of banner day in May?

[00:31:13.690] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Yeah, we did a bonus GivingTuesday in May, right at the early days of COVID.

[00:31:19.200] – Boris
Is that something that you guys are looking at doing again or that was just a one off?

[00:31:22.810] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
No, that’s a one off. I mean, GivingTuesday is an open-source movement, though. So if somebody wants to have a GivingTuesday in the spring, they can by all means organize one. But now we’re going to keep focusing on our EveryTuesday.

[00:31:41.270] – Boris
That’s really cool.

[00:31:42.040] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
It should be every Tuesday.

[00:31:43.280] – Boris
I look forward to seeing and hearing more about the EveryTuesday movement. It’s going to be called GivingTuesday, but just every Tuesday or are we starting a whole new hashtag?

[00:31:52.460] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms

[00:31:54.050] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms

[00:31:55.168] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms
Yep, GivingEveryTuesday.

[00:31:55.330] – Boris
Love it. Awesome. Kat, thank you so much for coming back on and debriefing us on what happened and giving us some tips and strategies for what to do going forward. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you and to learn from you.

[00:32:07.040] – Kathleen Murphy-Toms

[00:32:08.750] – Boris
Awesome. And I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon and I hope I’ll be seeing all the folks watching or listening to this episode again soon. We’ll be back again next week with more fantastic guests. If you like this episode, if you like any of our episodes, please do leave us a review. That’s how more folks like you find it and get to learn from people like Kathleen Murphy-Toms of GivingTuesday, and all the great guests that we bring onto the show. Thank you, everybody and we’ll see you next week.

[00:32:35.030] – Intro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to The Nonprofit Hero Factory. We hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think by leaving a review.

Concepts and Takeaways:

  • GivingTuesday is now over 10 years old and keeps growing. Here’s a snapshot of what happened in 24 hours this past year: (3:11)
    • U.S. organizations alone raised a combined $2.7 billion in 24 hours
    • 35 million people participated by volunteering in some way, including virtual volunteering and micro-volunteering (like transcribing or translating for organizations)
    • 13 million people gave their voice by sharing a cause, signing a petition or acting locally
  • GivingTuesday is working to make *every* Tuesday a day to give back year-round. (5:31)
  • The last few years have shown us the need for community-centric thought and action. COVID-19 was a powerful “villain” that united a lot of people around the world to overcome. (6:42)
  • Does GivingTuesday cannibalize year-end giving? The data clearly shows that it is additive. Organizations fear they hit a “giving ceiling” but that’s a false assumption. Giving is not flat, it can be increased. (8:10)
  • The scarcity mindset is counter-productive. (9:56)
    • “People are going to give and they’re going to give repeatedly to the causes that they care about. We have to adopt an abundance mentality if we’re going to move forward.”
    • This is not about fundraising one day of the year, it’s about how you rally your supporters and build a movement.
    • There were many successful coalition campaigns this year—nonprofits working towards similar goals uniting to fundraise together. GivingTuesday is looking to help more of those coalitions launch.
  • GivingTuesday creates a sense of urgency, but that’s not the reason people give. They still need a great, compelling story of impact. And you can create these moments all throughout the year. That’s why they created #GivingEveryTuesday. (15:00)
  • There are three types of resources that people can give: money, time and voice. Keep people engaged and helping you in different ways throughout the year. (16:15)
  • Organizations are overly worried about over-asking. The reality is that we’re not asking nearly enough, as long as it’s not just asking for donations each time. (18:11)
    • “If you’re trying to engage them as human beings, not as ATMs, and asking different things of them on a regular basis, then that just gets them more involved and more invested.”
  • You have to work harder at donor retention in an increasingly uncertain market. You have to work harder to keep them engaged and committed to your work. (22:48)
    • Make your donors feel good about the money they’ve invested and the change that they’re affecting in the world.
  • Think of the donations you get as investments in changing the world. You must show your investors—and make them feel—the returns on that investment in order to get them to keep investing in your work. (25:29)
  • Now is the time to start upgrading your giving systems. Remove all friction and make sure they’re as mobile friendly and easy as possible, including mobile payment options like Apple Pay. (26:23)
    • Consider accommodating Cryptocurrency donations as well.
  • GivingTuesday is an open-source movement. You can organize your own GivingTuesday day any season. (31:22)

Action Steps: What Now?

  • Resource Spotlight

    In this episode, the following resources were mentioned:

    See Kathleen’s recommended resources from her first appearance:

    • Episode 26 – Kathleen Murphy-Toms talks about getting the most out of GivingTuesday

    Related episodes we recommend:

    • Episode 37 – Crypto-donations with Alex Wilson of The Giving Block
    • Episode 49 – Sybil Ackerman-Munson talks about types of donors and which ones prefer to give to nonprofit coalitions

About this week’s guest

Kathleen Murphy-Toms

Kathleen Murphy-Toms

Director, Digital Strategy, GivingTuesday

Kathleen Murphy Toms is the director of digital strategy for GivingTuesday. The biggest philanthropic movement in history, GivingTuesday leverages social media and a broad network of nonprofits, community activists, schools, brands, small businesses, and individuals to ignite a movement and global call to action to give. It has seen record-breaking engagement at every level of society – from some of the world’s biggest celebrities and influencers to students, volunteers, and everyday givers.

Kathleen studies the use of digital tools within social movements, particularly their use in shifting power, creating mass mobilization, instilling behavior change, and achieving global equity. Kathleen has coached thousands of social impact leaders and grassroots organizers from nearly every continent on how to not only generate funds for their causes but to inspire and mobilize groundswell movements to create systemic change. She is an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs where she teaches social changemakers how to develop innovative content marketing and digital strategies to activate and engage new audiences.

Connect with Kathleen Murphy-Toms