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Giving Tuesday – A global campaign celebrating generosity

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Giving Tuesday – A global campaign celebrating generosity

Written by Alischa Ross | 5th February 2020

Giving Tuesday is a global campaign that creates a platform to bring people together in a concentrated day of 'giving' to support initiatives that are doing good in the world. Aptly titled, the campaign started in the US in 2011 as an antidote to the commercialisation and consumerism that has come to surround Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The day is about celebrating what it means to be generous. With over 50 countries now participating, Giving Tuesday has become a global movement, encouraging individuals, businesses and organisations to give goods, time, donations and voice to the social issues that matter.

And one of the most interesting parts of the Giving Tuesday campaign? No one owns it and there are no rules as to how people, organisations and businesses can take part.

The brand, # hashtag, dedicated date and coordination of the campaign in different countries is simply designed to create a platform to support organisations and businesses to build their own campaigns to encourage the type of giving and receiving they need and want to generate.

Since 2012, Australians have been actively getting involved, collectively raising over $1.25B in donations and millions of hours in voluntary support.

A snapshot of the 2019 #Giving Tuesday Campaign in Australia

  • Giving Tuesday 2019 took place on December 3rd with Our Community taking on the role of Global Lead of Australia’s campaign for the first time.
  • Key partners in Australia’s 'What a difference a day can make’ campaign included: Fundraising Institute of Australia, Community Council for Australia, Pro Bono Australia, Philanthropy Australia and Think Impact.
  • The official Australian campaign was hosted at https://www.givingtuesday.org.au/
  • Close to 1000 Australian not-for-profit organisations, businesses and individuals signed up as official Giving Tuesday partners and supporters.
  • Approximately half a million social media impressions for the #GivingTuesdayAUS hashtag were recorded (and by 10.50am on December 3, #GivingTuesdayAUS was trending in Australia).
  • Many inspiring good news stories were shared from the 300+ not-for-profit sector organisations and businesses that took part.

Measuring the impact of #Giving Tuesday in Australia

Think Impact showed our support by donating time to help measure the impact created from the many acts of generosity occurring as part of Australia’s Giving Tuesday campaign.

Our team developed an online Impact Scorecard consisting of 10 closed and short answer questions to gain insight into how people took part in the campaign and the impact created for beneficiaries of that giving.

Questions were designed to give people an opportunity to reflect on their experience of Giving Tuesday in relation to the five pillars that the campaign aimed to provide:

  • Making it simple to participate
  • Encouraging new giving to support social causes
  • Encouraging more giving from existing supporters of social causes
  • Providing a freeform opportunity for people to create their own actions and initiatives
  • Helping people feel good through the act of giving

Results from the impact scorecard revealed a number of interesting trends of how individuals, organisations and businesses experienced getting involved and the benefits that giving and receiving generated.

Emerging trends and lessons learnt from Australia’s Giving Tuesday 2019 campaign

  • While giving money was unsurprisingly the most common form of giving (63 per cent of respondents), giving of time and talent came a close second (43 per cent). A smaller number of respondents reported giving voice and advocacy (31 per cent) and giving of goods (22 per cent).
  • The largest areas of giving were geared towards improving outcomes for individuals, improving social connection, and health and wellbeing.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was larger organisations that preferred the freedom to create their own campaigns around Giving Tuesday, while feedback from smaller organisations suggested they would prefer more structure and support on how to maximise their engagement with the campaign.
  • While larger organisations received more giving in the way of money, it was smaller organisations that experienced the largest increase in giving in the form of time and talent. This suggests that Giving Tuesday was a successful way for smaller organisations to engage and grow their volunteerism.
  • Although it was larger organisations that received a slightly higher rise in overall giving (39 per cent compared to 24 per cent for smaller organisations), responses indicate that Giving Tuesday produced an overall ‘bump’ or increase in giving for the majority of organisations that ran campaigns during this time.
  • Larger organisations experienced a bigger rise in giving from new supporters (44 per cent compared to 29 per cent for smaller organisations), while many organisations also saw increased giving coming from their existing supporters.

And how did all of these acts of generosity of giving and receiving make people feel?

Giving helped people feel good:

  • Giving was more likely to lead to feeling ‘connected’ (65 per cent), ‘happy’ (71 per cent) and ‘satisfied’ (41 per cent).
  • Those doing both giving and receiving were more likely to feel ‘grateful’ (60 per cent) and ‘motivated’ (70 per cent) but also more ‘stressed’ (20 per cent).

No data without stories

In order to really understand the data collected from the impact scorecard data, alongside that we must also consider the human stories that give us a deeper perspective into the social value that was created through the actions taking place on and around Giving Tuesday.

Think Impact interviewed Humans Helping Dogs founder Margot Wiburd, to get a deeper understanding of what motivated her to run her Knitted Hounds project as part of Giving Tuesday.

Photo credit: Veronika Sajova Photography

Introducing Knitted Hounds

2019 was the first time Margot Wiburd had embarked on a campaign as part of the Giving Tuesday Campaign.

So, what exactly are ‘knitted hounds’?

The campaign engaged a dedicated group of volunteers from across Australia who lovingly gave their time and knitting prowess to produce an array of brightly coloured knitted greyhounds that could then be adopted (purchased) to raise funds.

With a fundraising goal of $5000 for their first annual campaign, the early part of 2019 saw $3100 raised from the online auctions of knitted hounds. Once the decision was made to run a dedicated ‘adoption’ campaign in the week leading up to Giving Tuesday, Margot had her sights set on reaching her annual goal. With the sale of 85 ‘knitted hounds’ in just over one week, the Giving Tuesday Knitted Hounds had smashed their first annual fundraising goal, raising a total of over $6,700 in donations for Greyhound Adoptions WA.

The verdict?

Don’t underestimate the power of one woman’s dedication and vision to develop a fun and vibrant campaign to raise funds for greyhound adoption. Margot saw the potential of using Giving Tuesday as a springboard to bring focus and attention to her campaign and in her vigilant efforts to use social media and the power of personal narrative, she tapped into something that exceeded her expectations of success. The ultimate result was a wildly successful fundraiser for a cause she believes in, but much more than that, a ripple effect of joy and happiness that flowed from the knitters, to the adopters, to those who were lucky enough to have an adopted knitted hound gifted to them.

Interview with Margot Wiburd

If you were having a coffee with a friend, how would you describe the work that you do?

Humans Helping Dogs is an organisation of ‘one’ that I developed to fundraise for rescue dogs. I wanted to create a place where people could donate and 100 per cent of donations would go to greyhound adoptions. I took this up as my passion project when I retired. I live on an aged pension, so I had to come up with some creative ideas to help me fundraise to support my cause.

I decided to start knitted hounds as a fun way to fundraise, by engaging people who like to knit to use patterns I supply for knitting greyhounds that I could then sell online for $50, with 100 per cent of the profits going to Greyhound Adoptions WA.

I encourage the knitters to name the dogs they knit after a dog they know or have loved and attach a personal story about that dog to the one they knit.

With over 30 volunteer knitters, and more than 165 knitted hounds – each attached with a personal story – I had a lot to work with.

People who purchased and received the hounds started to share the stories that were attached to their new knitted friends and send me photos of their knitted hounds in their new homes, often alongside their own dogs.

How did you hear about the Giving Tuesday campaign in Australia?

I only found out about Giving Tuesday about a week before from a friend in the not-for-profit sector. I went back and Googled it and thought that would make a great framework for my next auction. I wanted to try and sell 50 knitted hounds, much more than I'd ever done before. And with the driving force behind it of using Giving Tuesday as a platform to promote my campaign, which created a ripple effect that I loved.

Tell us a little about how you developed your campaign?

At first, I had been auctioning the knitted hounds online, but for Giving Tuesday I decided to simplify things and just make each one $50 and ask buyers (donors) to write the word 'ADOPTED' underneath the picture of the dog that they wanted to purchase in the online gallery. The first person to write ‘Adopted’ was deemed the purchaser of that dog – so first in, first served. I think people thought that was kind of cute and ended up buying them in multiples. We could have made the campaign about buying your hounds for Christmas gifts, but I wanted to keep the message about giving and that by adopting, you’re giving to the dogs.

I have a creative arts background and worked in advertising for many years before I retired. Since I started Humans Helping Dogs I decided to invest with a creative agency to help me develop my skills in social media. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. The course has helped me develop my strategies, learn how to create social media sites from scratch and helped me to work my way around Facebook and Instagram, in particular. It’s not only made the knitted hounds’ campaign possible for me to run, it’s given me the skills to do social media marketing for the rest of my life.

What change (outcomes) were you hoping to create through your Giving Tuesday campaign?

I had an annual fundraising goal of $5000 to support greyhound adoption and had come up to $3100 through online auctions of knitted hounds in early 2019. I thought I might hit my target if I ran a dedicated Giving Tuesday campaign. I raised $3600! That took my annual income to $6700 and I surpassed my firstyear goal massively. I hoped people would be happy and create a buzz. The first day of the campaign I sold 23 knitted hounds. I thought WOW WOW WOW and everyone congratulated me. The next day, sales dropped off massively. Then a funny thing happened. I caught the train while I was carrying a knitted hound with me in a bag. It was crowded on the train and when I looked down to get off, the bag with my hound had gone! At first I was devastated, but decided this was an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

‘Knitted hound kidnapped on a train, we felt they needed it more;

that was the gist of the post I put up on social media to tell the story of what happened on the train. Suddenly the spark came back and sales started to pick up again. We went on to sell 85 knitted hounds! Every time we added a new hound to our gallery, they would sell, like magic.

Did running your Giving Tuesday campaign impact you personally?

I worked as a copywriter for several years, then as an executive for a major advertising agency for five years. I worked in the film industry, too. But I had no idea of what it would be like to have to run my own campaign for something. I've never had to be a one stop advertising agency before!

After losing several beloved dogs, who were family, setting up Humans Helping Dogs and then the Knitted Hounds campaign turned my pain into purpose. It also gave me a sense of personal value because I know I am helping to make the world a better place for animals. I wanted to be a philanthropist, but I had no savings and money, so I thought the next best thing was to become a fundraiser. This has completely transformed my life and given me purpose. I still have the same challenges in my life as before I started this, but I don't see them any more, because of my attitude and mindset. Taking this on has made me a happier person who is very fulfilled.

What do you love most about the work you do and why?

The joy that the hounds brought to those who knitted them and to those who adopted and received them. My original goal was to sell 50. I thought if I got lucky, I might sell 30. But in the end, I sold 85, and it brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. The whole campaign was just wrapped in joy.

What was the most important lesson you learnt from your Giving Tuesday campaign?

Treat your volunteers like gold! Be personal in how you engage with them and always reply to their queries and ideas; they’re giving up their time to support you and your goals, so you must do all you can to help them feel connected and give them ownership of their involvement.

The other practical lesson I learnt was that my knitted pattern for hounds was really good and simple but the sewing them together was a nightmare. So, for future campaigns I want to find a soft toy engineer to help me modify the construction.


What does ‘being generous’ mean to you?

For my campaign, being generous can be as small a thing as commenting on or even sharing our Facebook posts, anything that gets the word out and helps us raise funds for our cause. An act of generosity counts no matter how big or small it is. Generosity can take many forms; it can be big and expensive, or it can be as simple as pressing a button on a computer.

What is the most important social change we need much more of?

For me it is to stop using animals for personal gain. The gambling industry that uses animals for entertainment and racing is just horrendous. I do believe there is some really bad stuff going on in the world, but there are some really good things going on too. Animals have the same rights as we do and I believe it’s our responsibility to protect them and support them.

Change is happening all the time; intentional, unintentional, for good and for bad. What do you think makes change good and how do you know?

I think change is good when it benefits another person, or another creature. I think change is good when it's sustainable and doesn’t do any harm and when it benefits a small business or group. I'm very instinctive. I think most people deep down know if they're doing a good thing, because deep down you feel wonderful. Education is important because sometimes you don't realise you're doing something that is causing harm and to educate people to have the option to do good is where you can really influence positive change.

Do you have plans for a Giving Tuesday campaign in 2020?

In 2020 Giving Tuesday will be my big mega hound event! I’ll be aiming for 100 knitted hounds to be adopted. Throughout the year I might offer a few custom knitted hounds for birthdays or gifts, but I don't want to bore people with the same old, same old all year. I will use my efforts to keep fundraising for Greyhound Rescue in Australia and raising awareness for Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand who I am a very big supporter of. My main goal is to increase awareness for Greyhound Adoptions WA and to get people to consider becoming foster carers – a really important role to help the greyhounds learn things like acclimatising to walking on real grass and to become toilet trained, which we need people to help with finding the permanent homes for these gorgeous hounds.

Humans Helping Dogs is a small but passionate Australian not-for-profit based in Mandurah, Western Australia. Their mission is to make life better and kinder for dogs in need, both in Australia and overseas. They do this through creative fundraising for rescue dog organisations and specifically their ongoing support for Greyhound Adoptions WA, Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand and their partnership with Poops WA (Pets of Older Persons WA). To find out more please visit https://humanshelpingdogs.com

Watch the campaign video on Facebook here.

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