Top #GivingTuesday Takeaways for Arts & Cultural Organizations

The results are in – and this year was the biggest #GivingTuesday yet! The #GivingTuesday Data Collaborative reports that in the U.S. online giving increased from $400 million in 2018 to $511 million and that total online and offline giving reached $1.97 billion. 

How did arts, cultural & humanities organizations fare on #GivingTuesday 

While we’re still calculating how much of that total cultural organizations raised, here are some campaigns that stood out: 

  • In Brevard County in Melbourne, Florida, the Brevard Zoo leveraged the power of social media to solicit $12,815 in donations to the zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center which rehabilitates and releases sick and injured sea turtles in the area. With the average patient costing $2,000 to treat, the funds will cover expenses for six sea turtles.  
  • Also using social media to rally donations were a number of Broadway shows and organizations raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS who added “donate to Broadway Cares” buttons to their Instagram storiesThe donations collected will contribute to Broadway Cares’ support of The Actors Fund’s safety net of social service programs and its own annual National Grants Program. 
  • Taking a different approach, the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, partnered with a local couple who are matching donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000 given before December 31 

What are the #GivingTuesday takeaways to apply next year 

It’s never too early to start thinking about next year’s #GivingTuesday to make sure you’re ready to take advantage of what promises to be another wave of generosity. Expanding on the examples above, here are some ideas to get your gears turning: 

  • Socialize, socialize, socialize! Both the Brevard Zoo and the collective of Broadway shows and organizations made good use of social media to advertise their causes. Next year, build on their examples by maintaining a steady drumbeat of social media posts. Consider hosting an #unselfie campaign featuring all-star visitors, members and donors and their favorite programs or exhibits of yours. Additionally, zoos or aquariums can host contests over social media for followers to name a new animal. Museums or performing arts centers can do the same but ask their followers to name new statues or caption new pieces of art. Whatever you decide, get creative! The point is to use social media to build momentum and egnage your followers leading up to #GivingTuesday, reminding them of the value you bring to their community while driving website traffic and ultimately donations. 
  • Donation matches are time-tested. As seen with the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature and countless other campaigns, a donation match is a time-tested idea that works. While global corporations like Facebook and PayPal match donations through their platforms, consider involving a local family or foundation. Once complete, remember to send personalized “Thank You” notes to those who gave. Notes via email work, but hand-signed cards add a more personal touch. However you thank your donors, use the opportunity to remind them of next year’s #GivingTuesday. 

While the immensity of the dollar amount donated on #GivingTuesday speaks for itself, there’s a more subtle way in which #GivingTuesday matters – it’s a day when people are talking and thinking about giving back. Using the strategies above or any of the other ideas and resources on the #GivingTuesday website will help you capitalize on this global day of giving so you can close out the fundraising season strong.