#GivingTuesday: The Power of Crowdfunding, Social Media and Collaboration

Without an operating room, anesthesia, recovery unit or air-conditioning, the small clinic in the town of Montrouis, Haiti makes the most of its limited resources to provide disadvantaged Haitians with medical care.

On a trip to Haiti that included a visit to the Life Connection Mission, Megan Silk found herself in the middle of a procedure to remove a local woman’s cancerous tumor that was larger than the volunteer American doctor and non-medical personnel on-hand had expected. Megan Silk can’t forget the woman, who died two months following the mastectomy. That’s why she gives to the Life Connection Mission, she says, “to change the lives of the people in Haiti and give back to the place that changed my life.”   

Megan Silk’s account, captured by #MyGivingStory, is a thread within the fabric of #GivingTuesday, a global charitable campaign designated for the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Launched in 2012, #GivingTuesday is the brainchild of the 92nd Street Y in New York City, which, along with the United Nations Foundation, designated the 24-hour period as a time for consumers to encourage each other through social media to donate their time, talents or cash to a cause or organization. 

From cash to the American Red Cross to clothing for the homeless, #GivingTuesday has emerged as an annual international, philanthropic ritual falling on the heels of the busiest shopping days of the year. As a prelude to the frenzy of giving that takes place just before the end of the year, #GivingTuesday ignited $168 million in charitable donations worldwide last season, up 44 percent from 2015. Meanwhile, volunteers pledged thousands of hours to assist their neighbors and those in need.

With the clock ticking toward #GivingTuesday, Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of the free crowdfunding platform UHelp.com, said many businesses, nonprofits and civic organizations across the world are scrambling to put their benevolent campaigns in order. The key to finding the perfect place on which to host #GivingTuesday campaigns is research. Compare the options and select the platform best suited for the cause.

“#GivingTuesday is all about spreading the word,” said Hikind. “So, connecting with potential donors at the right time through email, social media and online content is a strategy in itself.”

The global day of giving, she said, is also a good time to integrate social media campaigns and evaluate current strategies, including branding measures, fees, data-gathering mechanisms and overall support.

“There are so many opportunities, including prizes and promotions, for groups to get more out of #GivingTuesday and raise extra funds,” said Hikind. “Send updates often and don’t forget to say thank you throughout the campaign.”

Megan Silk keeps a photo on the inside cover of her notebook of the deceased Haitian woman she had briefly crossed paths with at the Life Connection Mission. In the days since, the struggling clinic, as a result of crowdfunding, now has a full-time Haitian doctor and a nurse. Silk still wonders if the woman would have survived if she had regular access to hospitals and doctors.

“I hope to see it thrive and help more and more people,” said Silk. “That is why I give to Life Connection Mission."

Where should I start my fundraiser?

About the Author: This Research Associate completed a comparison of all crowdfunding websites.