Approximately $936 billion (yes, with a “b”) was spent in the United States on Christmas gifts in 2022, up almost $47 billion from Christmas 2021. That’s a lot of money out there, and the competition for every dollar gets tougher every year. It would be nice to get past Halloween before the stores fill their aisles and shelves with nativity scenes, stockings, trees, candy canes, etc., but that’s not happening; there’s too much at stake. While for-profit businesses can look toward Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off their official holiday push, non-profits finally have a way to get in on the action.
According to the History Channel, in the 1950s, hoards of suburban shoppers would flood into Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving in preparation for Saturday’s big Army-Navy football game. The influx of tourists created a headache for the Philadelphia police as they couldn’t take time off and were required to work long hours to manage the traffic and crowds. The police dubbed this day between Thanksgiving and the Saturday football game “Black Friday.” Incidentally, shoplifters took advantage of this chaos created by the extra people and stole merchandise, but there was no denying that sales were up. As much as retailers wanted to change the name to something more positive, like “Big Friday,” the name Black Friday stuck, and by the mid-1980s, it was a marketing boom to get people to shop the day after Thanksgiving, generating massive sales.
To continue the push of consumerism, in 2005, the National Retail Federation declared the Monday after Thanksgiving “Cyber Monday,” taking advantage of faster internet speeds and allowing people to avoid the chaos and crowds of Black Friday. Cyber Monday is the second-biggest shopping day of the year and the biggest day for online sales. How big? Per Forbes, Americans spent a record $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday in 2022.
The Non-Profit Alternative
With all the money spent during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, non-profits needed a way to jump in and provide an opportunity for people to do good and unleash radical generosity – and in 2012, GivingTuesday was born. GivingTuesday is a non-profit organization that promotes generosity. Per their website, GivingTuesday believes that each and every act of generosity is a worthy act in and of itself. One of the significant differences is that GivingTuesday isn’t just a money grab for non-profits; it’s a movement to help others see beyond commercialism, beyond their own needs, and learn how good it feels to be generous to others.
Churches wondering if they can or should participate in GivingTuesday need to consider what Jesus said about helping others. In chapter 25 of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Jesus’ followers wondered when they did that to him, and his response is something every Christian should take to heart, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” GivingTuesday provides an excellent opportunity for churches to showcase how they are making a difference. Think about all of the food drives, clothing drives, outreach events, financial aid, and the list of good things the church does goes on and on. GivingTuesday provides a forum to tell the world how to financially support the church in what God is doing.
Even churches without an advertising budget can develop a simple marketing plan utilizing social media to create posts that reveal why giving to your church makes a difference. The GivingTuesday website provides logos, graphics, and royalty-free images to use. There is absolutely no cost for churches to participate in GivingTuesday – none!
At a time of the year when people are in the mood to spend more and even feel generous, churches need to use this as an opportunity to show the congregation, community, and the world at large why supporting the church makes a difference. In the process, it provides an outlet for people to become generous givers and take care of the least of these.short url: