By: Rich Maiore
At the tail end of our webinar last week, How to Win #GivingTuesday, someone asked a good question. “Will hurricane relief and recovery efforts effect #GivingTuesday fundraising?” “That’s a good question,” I answered, stalling for a few seconds to come up with a viable answer. This was one day after the Hand to Hand Telethon raised $44 million for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
I said that I didn’t think the recent natural disaster campaigns would cannibalize #GivingTuesday for two reasons. One, that disaster recovery could tie with #GivingTuesday and two, because most people put disaster relief in a different giving bucket and many will still want to support their favorite organizations. I did leave some wiggle room by saying that we will have to wait and see.
On Monday, For Momentum’s president and founder Mollye Rhea was asked the same question on LinkedIn. Her response was: “With the devastation of Harvey and Irma and the anticipation of what Jose, Maria and Lee will bring, I think hurricane relief efforts would make an ideal topic for #GivingTuesday fundraising projects. As we know, recovery will be taking place in the impacted communities for years to come.”
It’s a question that many of us are asking. What are the effects on charitable giving when disaster strikes? Blackbaud’s Steve MacLaughlin had some interesting points about this topic in a post earlier this week. According to Blackbaud’s collected data on online giving:
- Overall giving doesn’t drop because of disasters, but donors are likely to drop disaster organizations from regular giving.
- Peak giving to disasters happens within three days of the event.
- Online giving has been the preferred channel for giving since 2004.
As Steve points out, “We know that a tremendous amount of online giving did happen in response to these storms, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down for future major episodic events.”
You can read the whole article here.
So now that I have had a few more days to think about it, here are some ideas to consider as you put together your #GivingTuesday gameplan:
- For companies who donated money and supplies for hurricane disaster relief, give a great big THANK YOU to your employees who worked overtime to respond quickly.
- For organizations who received disaster relief funds, first thank your supporters and then be sure to show how the money is being used to help those effected by the storms.
- For organizations who will be helping in the recovery efforts, show what is needed to get people back into their homes or adjust to a new normal.
- For organizations not associated with disaster relief or recovery, double down on your story that shows why your mission is so important. People will still want to support their favorite charities.
Our friend Megan Strand of Engage for Good shared that donations to animal shelters rise significantly during natural disasters. It’s hard to turn away from images of pets up on rooftops to escape flood waters or lost pets being held in temporary shelters while their owners are located.
People give for all sorts of reasons. Some people give to alleviate suffering from an emotional place. Others give when they have the chance to talk to a famous celebrity on the phone. Still others give online because their friend sends them a personal request.
So for a variety of reasons, I am sticking with my prediction that #GivingTuesday donations will not suffer due to disaster donor fatigue. What do you think? Leave me a comment with your prediction or email me for more insights.