Tuesday Buzz: Why #GivingTuesday May Mean #Rebranding

As nonprofits eye opportunities to boost their donation totals on #GivingTuesday and beyond, some have found that the biggest problem they face comes down to their branding strategies. Also: Wanna put out some fires? This #GivingTuesday opportunity might be the ticket.

The fourth annual edition of Giving Tuesday is now underway, but nonprofit groups have been thinking about this date for months.

And those thoughts are leading to some deeper questions, such as, “Does our name make sense anymore?”

The New York Times reports that some New York City nonprofits have changed their names in an effort to become more appealing to donors. One particularly extreme makeover highlighted by reporter Nikita Stewart involves the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City Inc., which changed its lengthy name to the more memorable LiveOn NY.

Other groups highlighted changed their names in the interest of SEO. The NYC group Common Ground, which, for a quarter century, has helped build housing for those in need, found that the name had lost some of its luster as a result of the rise of coffee shops and divorce-litigation firms that shared the name.

So in October, Common Ground became Breaking Ground, a name the group felt was closer to what its goal had become.

Making such a change isn’t easy; it can often take months of planning and requires much soul-searching.

“One of the hardest things with nonprofits is that they do a lot of different things,” Dartmouth College business professor Kevin Lane Keller told the Times. “It’s hard to put in a box and put a label on. It’s a paragraph, not a couple of words.”

But in the age of Giving Tuesday, emotional resonance has to carry through to the name of a nonprofit, because donations count on it.

A Different Kind of Giving

When people think of Giving Tuesday, often it’s money that initially comes to mind. But the National Volunteer Fire Council is pitching an entirely different way to contribute: giving your time and volunteering for a local fire department.

On Tuesday, the council officially launched its new Make Me a Firefighter campaign, which is focused on getting new volunteers to sign up to assist local fire departments.

“When it comes to volunteer firefighting and emergency response, volunteer numbers have declined and call numbers have tripled, making it hard for fire & rescue departments across the country to protect their communities,” the council states on its website.

If this, rather than the traditional Giving Tuesday, sounds a little more up your alley, you can learn more here.

Other #GivingTuesday Links of Note

“The timing is unfortunate. December is already a great giving month. The charitable sector doesn’t need help in terms of giving. They need it in spring or summer, when donations are down.” NPR unpacks the #GivingTuesday backlash some are feeling.

But, then again, the timing feels right to Henry Timms, the founder of Giving Tuesday. “It spoke to a sense of a lot of people around the holidays that we need to ritualize how we think of others,” he explained in a recent Reuters interview. “And you never need more than six words to explain what giving Tuesday is: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday.”

If you’re looking to maximize your own charitable impact on #GivingTuesday, Mashable has you covered.

And for ASAE members, this piece from Susan Boswell, CAE [paywall], highlights the lessons that the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has learned by promoting its own Giving Tuesday efforts.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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