Giving Tuesday

For some non-profits, especially medium and large ones, Giving Tuesday is a day to make hay. Nothing wrong with putting money into the organization to help it achieve the mission it aspires to reaching. As one of the biggest philanthropic opportunities of the year, many a non-profit relies upon the generosity of donors on Giving Tuesday to give them the push and resources they need to do remarkable things. Many of those remarkable things only come about because the funding received is unrestricted in the sense that it is not tied to any government funding that may prescribe a certain type of program for a certain population is a certain way (though there is a place for that too).

Giving Tuesday also becomes a sensational example of poverty porn at its finest. By that, what I mean is, organization after organization will go to great lengths to demonstrate they serve the neediest of the neediest. At the same time, said organization will put out a success story or two to demonstrate how incredibly transformative a person or family life can be if only touched by said organization. 

Let's call bullshit when it is necessary.

Sample sizes of one (or two) shouldn't cut it when it comes to Giving Tuesday. Want to be an organization worthy of investment? Want to be a donor that makes a difference?  Stop focusing on outputs and start focusing on outcomes. This shouldn't be a contest of who serves more. If we want to focus on volume of service, needless to say there are oodles of organizations I could mention that see and "serve" lots of people but suck at making a difference in the lives of many if any of them. 

Focus on outcomes. Be an organization that demonstrates your work makes a difference. Be an informed donor. Look at the totality of the volume of households served and see what difference they made in not only accessing housing, but sustaining housing...or not only prepared for a job interview, but got a job and kept it...or not only signed up for assistance to become a better parent, but actually can demonstrate they are parenting better...or not only got access to emergency food assistance, but are now food secure...and so on.

We need great donors and we need great organizations. Thoughtful and results-oriented gets my vote every year. 


About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.

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