15 Minutes on Giving Tuesday

Episode Transcript

Lama Alsafi: 00:01 Hello and welcome to 15 Minutes to Change the World. Where in 15 minutes you can learn a bit more about the world and how you can help change it. My name is Lama Alsafi standing in for Kasia Souchen as host of this podcast.

As we get closer to the holiday season, life gets more hectic. Our to-do lists get longer, and the pressure of getting the perfect gift can even keep you up at night. In 2017 over $607 million was spent on toys and games, with the average Canadian spending close to $1,000 on gifts. Every year Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals only get bigger and it seems like our gift lists only get longer, but out of all the shopping madness, something amazing has blossomed. Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Our guests today are Lys Hugessen and Woodrow Rosenbaum organizers with Giving Tuesday Canada. Lys joins us remotely from Montreal and Woodrow from Toronto. Thank you both for joining us today.

Lys Hugessen: 01:29 Thank you.

Lama Alsafi: 01:30 So Lys, Woodrow, can you tell us a bit more about your backgrounds and how you got involved with giving Tuesday Canada?

Lys Hugessen: 01:36 I’ve been working at the GIV3 foundation for almost 10 years now. We have a mission to encourage a culture of generosity in Canada. So encourage people to be more giving in that, uh, you know, to charities or to causes of their choice through volunteering. Basically just encouraging generosity. When we saw Giving Tuesday get started in 2012, we said, wow, that fits really perfectly with what we’re trying to do. And so we need to have that in Canada. And I guess the rest is kind of history.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 02:07 So uh, My history with Giving Tuesday starts much the same as Lys’. We were both working for the GIV3 foundation when we launched Giving Tuesday in Canada along with 15 other partners. Um, and since then I’ve also started, uh, working with, uh, our US and global partners on, um, collecting data and insights, learning from Giving Tuesday about the movement and how it grows its impact around the world as well as what it means for how people give and how do we get people to give more.

Lama Alsafi: 02:36 Can you tell our listeners a bit more about Giving Tuesday and how it came to be originally?

Lys Hugessen: 02:41 Yes. So, um, it started with a really simple but powerful idea. Um, so following the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the idea was to have a day that is, that changes the conversation towards generosity back to the community and helping others. The idea that anybody anywhere has at least something that they can give. And we’ve really seen this come through, come true around the world in almost every country in the world. There’s been Giving Tuesday activity, but interestingly, um, Canada was one of the very first, uh, outside of the US to start. We got together with a few other partners total to start Giving Tuesday in Canada in 2013 and it really caught on like wildfire.

Um, I remember back then, we set a goal that we said, you know, if we can get a hundred organizations in Canada, um, to do things and engage the public and get the idea of Giving Tuesday out there, that would be a big success. And it turned out that first year that there were 1200 organizations that signed up to be part of Giving Tuesday and did activities and many, many more that didn’t even know that there was a place that they could sign-up on Giving Tuesday. Dot. CA so it really caught on. And I think it’s the simplicity of the idea that, you know, people can give to any cause they want, they can get involved in any way that they want and just find so many different ways to express their generosity and also to have a lot of fun with it as it really is a global community now in 150 countries.

Lama Alsafi: 04:32 Yeah, I think we’re seeing Giving Tuesday grow bigger and bigger each year. It’s a very inspiring movement. So how can people interested in Giving Tuesday help to get others involved?

Lys Hugessen: 04:42 That’s a great question. So I think the reason that Giving Tuesday has grown so much is that its thousands of individual ideas and grassroots actions and, and small campaigns. So it’s many, many, many people getting involved in their own way for causes that they care about and in ways that they feel comfortable in and that they can do easily within their own area. That idea really takes root very quickly so people can organize in so many different ways. A lot of Giving Tuesday happens online and there’s a really fun campaign that happens on social media called the unselfie campaign where you could post photos of yourself, uh, often people do it with their faces hidden. Uh, you just use the hashtag unselfie and the idea is to shed light on either something good that you’re doing or on the cause that you care about.

Lama Alsafi: 05:41 So why do you think Giving Tuesday’s so important and what impact have you seen it make?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 05:47 Giving Tuesday’s already grown to be something that is truly global and I think that’s one of its most important impacts is that it turns out that this idea of celebrating generosity really is quite universal and transcends all other kind of political, religious, geographic boundaries. We see that Giving Tuesday generates an important uplift in overall giving. We’ve measured this in the U S and Canada and Mexico now that there’s, um, not only a big day for donations but, but that lift is sustained for the rest of the year and that the organizations that, um, achieve that result are sustaining it and getting better results on, on the entire giving season. And I think maybe even more importantly than that, the majority of people report that Giving Tuesday inspire them to be more giving and it turns out that they’re putting their money where their mouth is because when we look at their actual donation behavior, we see that after they’ve engaged with Giving Tuesday, they give more, they give more often, they give more money that donors who are acquired on Giving Tuesday are more loyal, more likely to be retained. So we are actually seeing a shift in the donor behavior. We think that that’s really important to learn from.

I think another key to that success comes from the fact that the majority of people participating in Giving Tuesday do more than one thing in the US the most common behavior is to donate money. The vast majority of those monetary donors are also taking some other action and only giving money is actually the minority behavior. And I think this really shows us that people want a more experiential engagement with the causes that they support. They want to be part of a partnership for a solution as opposed to just a transactional relationship with organizations. And I think that’s an important thing for nonprofits to understand the big opportunity to engage people on a much more meaningful way, not a burden to ask people to do more things, it’s actually an opportunity for them. So something to be learned from Giving about how to engage for support all year round. It’s also seems to be particularly true and particularly resonant with younger adult donors. It turns out that they actually have much more favorable attitudes towards giving. And they’re not perhaps being engaged on normally in ways that are very inspiring to them. But on Giving Tuesday we find that they are the most responsive and that the engagement rates are highest with 18 to 34 year olds. And again, we think this is critically important if we’re going to raise the next generation of giving people that there’s fertile ground there and that engaging these highly thoughtful, generous people in ways that inspire them, we’re going to actually get a powerful result from that.

Lama Alsafi: 08:37 That’s really interesting. Can you tell us a bit more about the ways that people are looking to get involved that you mentioned? Um, that other than giving online?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 08:45 Volunteering is another key way. I mean, there were over a million Canadians reported that they volunteered for Giving Tuesday last year and in fact we see the rate of volunteerism in Giving Tuesday is nearly as high as financial donation in Canada. Um, and I think if you consider the fact that the vast majority of the campaigns are actually about monetary giving and that giving money is an easier action, particularly online than volunteering. I think that really shows that there’s a huge interest in people giving of their time and not just, you know, from their wallets.

Lama Alsafi: 09:21 So speaking of, you know, ways to get involved, what are some things that people listening at home right now or in their car can do to be a part of the Giving Tuesday movement? What are some little actions that they can take?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 09:32 Well, one thing I think that is important is that, um, we, we not be afraid to use our voice to advocate for the causes we care about. Giving Tuesdays an environment of celebration of generosity and so it’s a great time to talk about what you care about and what you support and why that isn’t about a natural disaster that isn’t about an emergency call to action. It’s a joyous occasion and it’s still an important time to talk about the things we support, why we support those things. Um, that advocacy actually is really important for nonprofits, charities causes, I think increasingly people understand that giving their voice as one of the ways that they can give back. And we see a lot of that happening on Giving Tuesday.

Learning about the organizations in your community is also important. We’ve seen more research being done online into charities and their and their missions than any other day of the year. It’s a great day just to educate yourself about the organizations in your communities that are doing things, whether you’re volunteering or giving money or showing up at an event. We have the givingtuesday.ca website has lots of ideas as well as lists of what partners are doing and how you can take action and there are 43 community movements across the country that are ways that you can get involved where you live and some of those communities aren’t geographic. One of the interesting things that’s been, that’s evolved out of the movement is communities of cause. Giving Tuesday kids as a great example, this was started by a 12-year-old girl in the United States and and now, um, in multiple countries around the world. Their goal is a million actions of kindness and generosity from kids that’s instigated by children. It’s not, it’s not about engaging kids. It’s about kids getting out there and engaging in their communities and doing good things. Schools, we have resources and ideas and opportunities for students, for faculty, for businesses, for big companies and small retailers. There’s lots and lots of opportunities on the Giving Tuesday website.

Lama Alsafi: 11:47 And that’s givingtuesday.ca you said.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 11:49 That’s right.

Lama Alsafi: 11:49 Fantastic and this year, Giving Tuesday’s on December 3rd?

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 11:54 December 3rd

Lama Alsafi: 11:56 Thank you very much. Lys and Woodrow, for taking the time to talk with us today. Please do visit givingtuesday.ca to learn more about the Giving Tuesday movement and how you can get involved. I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you Lys and Woodrow, and I wish you the best of luck with Giving Tuesday this year.

Lys Hugessen: 12:12 Thanks so much.

Woodrow Rosenbaum: 12:12 Thanks for having us.

Lama Alsafi: 12:13 Thank you so much and thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in. We hope you were inspired to do something today, big or small, to make a difference this Giving Tuesday. You can stay up to date on our newest episode of 15 Minutes to Change the World on Spotify and iTunes.