About #GivingTuesday, and how it relates to marching & performing arts fundraising

Giving Tuesday filled our collective social media feeds with countless posts about causes to support, and groups raising money to help with a variety of needs.


As it was clearly demonstrated by Facebook and The Gates Foundation, the total mindshared-awareness that can be generated on a global scale is staggering. With the allure of “matching donations”, I’m positive that the total amount of fundraising donations raised on a global basis was immense.

We are in no way attempting to take the shine off of the contribution of the wonderful people at The Gates Foundation and Facebook, but consider:

  • The “match” was capped at $2 million, and it was published that the match was already met by 8am ET on Tuesday 11/28/17.
  • Adding together the last published numbers of the total 2016 Support given by The Gates Foundation ($4.6 Billion in 2016), and today’s Market Cap of Facebook ($509 Billion as of this morning) – these are two organizations that hold about $514 BILLION of sway in the marketplace.
  • The $2 million offered represents approximately .00039% of the total combined revenue of Facebook and the annual giving numbers of The Gates Foundation. In reality this percentage is infinitesimal. If our math is correct, someone making an annual salary of $65,000 making a $26 donation would equate to be about proportional (Interesting to note – FansRaise average donations seem to be HIGHER than this, and in certain campaigns the average donation can be 2X-3X larger)
  • Facebook also agreed to forgo their 5% fee on donations on Tuesday, so there’s some additional giving there. 


All in all, our philosophy tends to be “some funds are better than no funds”, so ANY giving and additional awareness is nothing but a positive thing. However the public would be wise to keep the the proportions in mind when touting how effective or generous #GivingTuesday actually was, in total context.


So who benefited the most from #Giving Tuesday?

The obvious answer here is Facebook, who has been trying to elevate the public profile of their native donation platform all year. The PR bump that they received is hard to quantify, but obviously a tremendous positive benefit given the relatively small financial commitment, relative to the big picture.

Some of the major household names in the non-profit world probably made out well too. Charities like Wounded Warrior, Gift of Life, Autism Speaks, Water.org, and other non-profit brands probably did very well as they have already spent lots of hours and dollars on raising that awareness for their respective missions.

Were there marching bands, indoor color guards, drum corps, or other performing arts ensembles that found a windfall of dollars at their door?


What works for the American Cancer Society is just not compatible for the types of programs that FansRaise focuses on.


Message to marching/performing arts directors and boosters:

(1)  Giving is continuing to trend up, and charitable donations in the 4th quarter are traditionally strong (holidays, tax deductability, etc).

(2) REALLY look at those campaigns that were featured on your social feeds. Many of them barely moved the needle – which underscores the point that targeting those donors that are most likely to donate due to relationships, interpersonal connections, and emotional attachments to your activity makes the most sense. Spray-and-pray on social media (Ala GoFundMe) isn’t the best way anymore, since there’s too much static interference in the social space.

(3)  Do not underestimate how powerful a well-orchestrated campaign can be. Groups using FansRaise are actually still SURPRISING US in terms of how successful they can be with very little work or effort – just a little planning.

(4)  You would be much better off focusing on what’s close to home with local giving, and a targeted crowdfunding campaign built the right way that is student-centered is a much better investment of time and effort (a small investment at that).


Take a look at how it can work, in the context of a DCI Drum and Bugle Corps that raised almost $24,000 in about 6 weeks time.


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