Giving Tuesday: The Dynamic Relationship between Public Relations and Nonprofits  

Placed right in the middle of the holiday season, Giving Tuesday represents the pinnacle of giving during a season of heightened generosity. During these 24 hours, millions of people donate billions of dollars along with countless items and hours to organizations actively making a difference in communities around the country. At the receiving end are thousands of nonprofit organizations contending for the support of people around the globe.  

What many may not realize is how much of a role public relations (PR) plays in the choices we make on Giving Tuesday. Whether it’s selecting an organization to feature in a corporation’s matching fundraiser or the recipient of spare budget, it all comes down to how a nonprofit organization has built its brand reputation, and how it engages the public for support.  

After years (decades, cumulatively) of working with nonprofit organizations, our team has seen the drastic difference that public relations can make in the success of a nonprofit organization during Giving Tuesday and all year round. Here is how we see it:  

Gaining awareness.

It’s no surprise that when it comes down to it, people give to organizations they know. Unfortunately, the importance of a cause doesn’t automatically result in corresponding awareness, much less the appropriate support, whether it be financial or otherwise. Luckily, effective public relations can help build the necessary foundation.  

Through strategic promotion – media relations, social media, and influencer engagement included – public relations can help an organization push its messaging into the consciousness of its target audience. As people see the issue spotlighted in their news sources and in their content feeds, it will become part of their world. As we know, it is difficult to ignore a problem when we see it constantly. 

Establishing credibility.

Once there is general awareness of a cause, it becomes critical to establish the organization’s role in the greater conversation about the associated topic. The spokespeople need to be the leading voices, the content needs to be the go-to resources and the organization needs to be synonymous with the cause itself or a respected voice for the issue it represents. Through major media placements, impactful speaking opportunities and strategically developed messaging integrated into content such as blog posts, effective public relations methods build the pathways to widely regarded credibility.  

Broadening reach with different audiences.

According to the 2022 Giving Tuesday Lookback Report, while 84% of people worldwide donated their time, money, items or voice to others last year, both donors and dollars were down in the U.S from previous years. From this, the Giving Tuesday organization concluded that now is the time for nonprofits to both diversify their target demographics to be more proactive with previously under-engaged groups and to increase diversified targeting.  

Rather than settling for the status quo, the best public relations practitioners help their clients identify where opportunities are and how to grow into them. By researching and engaging media outlets and methods that connect with new and potentially fruitful demographics, we can continue to expand an organization’s presence in the areas where great impact can be made.  

Consistency is key.

With all of this insight comes one major caveat: it will take time and commitment. Obtaining support, awareness, and credibility doesn’t happen in the 24 hours of Giving Tuesday or even the weeks leading up to it. It’s the accumulation of a 365-day commitment to exploring and implementing the best public relations practices. 

Organizations our team supports.

Every day, we work closely with organizations doing good in the world. Outside of our work in the office, members of our team hold other causes close to their hearts. In honor of Giving Tuesday, here are a few organizations making a difference in the areas we call home: 

  • Big Brother Big Sisters, National Capital Area – Our area’s chapter of the country’s best-known youth mentoring program holds a special connection with Eliza Levy, Senior Account Manager. Eliza has been a dedicated big sister for five years, and she and her match were honored at the organization’s 2023 Annual Celebration Gala. 
  • DC SAFE – The only 24/7 crisis intervention agency for domestic violence in Washington, DC. Its mission is to ensure the safety and self-determination of domestic violence survivors through emergency services, court advocacy, and system reform.  
  • Girl Up! – This organization is committed to changing the face of leadership for generations to come by expanding girls’ skills, rights, and opportunities to lead.  
  • World Central Kitchen – From one of the biggest culinary names in our city, José Andrés, this organization has been providing meals in the wake of humanitarian, climate and community crises for over a decade.   

There are countless ways to embrace the meaning of Giving Tuesday today and throughout the year – one being through public relations services. PR professionals should leverage their skills to support organizations in need, while the latter should feel empowered to reach out to local PR agencies for support, either paid or pro bono. The result is better results and a better future for all.  

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