Today is Giving Tuesday—the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday—where individuals around the world are encouraged to do something good: donate, volunteer, campaign, and generally spread the word on good causes. It’s a movement that is now run in over 70 countries around the world, but is still not well known—a survey of Americans last year showed that although 93% of them were familiar with Black Friday, only 18% had heard of Giving Tuesday—we suspect a similar case this side of the pond.
We applaud any movement that raises the profile of giving, particularly as levels of giving in the UK remain static. Although individuals in the UK gave £9.6bn in 2015, that is about the same (£9.4bn) as we gave back in 2005. And although we are the most generous nation in Europe, we still only rank eighth in the world, below the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others.
So if we are inspired to give today (or at any point in the future), the question remains: how do we choose who to give our money to? This can be hard when we are inundated with requests or inspired by adverts, newspaper articles or online campaigns. And yet, choosing how best to donate our money really matters—if we are confident that the organisation we support is effectively spending our hard-earned money, we’re going to be more encouraged to continue donating. This particularly matters when public trust in charities is at such low levels, following various scandals in the sector.
Giving wisely is important whether you’re donating £1 or £10,000. Which is one of the reasons we recently published What makes a good charity?, our already popular charity analysis framework that focuses on the key characteristics we believe are common to all effective charities—a clear purpose, an articulation of impact, being well-run and financially sound. This framework, with a list of questions to ask charities you’re thinking of supporting, is really useful for all donors.
Finding the right organisation seems to increasingly matter for high-end donors, giving thousands of pounds to specific charities. At NPC we have seen an upsurge in clients seeking our help to find effective organisations to fund in their chosen areas of passion. The due diligence we conduct, and the recommendations we make, are very much based around this charity analysis framework, providing confidence that their donations will be used to best effect. This often starts with the need for a donor to understand a particular area in more detail—what are the key issues, policy context, levels of need, priorities for support and types of charities working in each area? We published one of these cause briefings on the refugee and asylum seeker sector earlier this year, and are researching children in care for another client, due to be published early next year.
We hope that Giving Tuesday creates lots of noise, and moves more individuals to give. But we also hope that people take a bit more time to ask a few questions to make sure they give well, ultimately ensuring more impact for the individuals they want to help.
Find out more and join the discussion on Twitter with #GivingTuesday.