Giving Tuesday won't work in the UK, Stephen Pidgeon tells fundraising conference

The fundraising consultant tells the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands that donors are engaged best by using causes they connect to

Stephen Pidgeon
Stephen Pidgeon

Giving Tuesday will not be a success in the UK because the idea is too contrived and will fail to capture the emotions of British audiences, delegates at the International Fundraising Congress have heard.

Giving Tuesday, organised by the Charities Aid Foundation, will take place for the first time in the UK on 2 December. It originated in the US two years ago, encouraging people and businesses to do something charitable on the Tuesday after the US public holiday of Thanksgiving.

Speaking at the IFC yesterday, Stephen Pidgeon, a fundraising consultant, said that Giving Tuesday was unlikely to gain much traction among Britons.

"The markets are completely different and how they use emotion is completely different," Pidgeon told Third Sector after the session. "It’s a device and devices don’t work in England – not in the same way. So why should a contrived Giving Tuesday work?

He said that inventing a day on which people donated to any cause showed a lack of understanding that the best way to engage donors was by using a cause they felt personally connected to.

"You can’t get people to donate," said Pidgeon. "You have to move people to do something about that – it’s not a process, it’s a feeling.

"The thing that I resent is that they’d have to spend a million quid on it to make it work, and I’d much rather give that million quid to something that I know will raise money."

Pidgeon told delegates that it was time for fundraisers to be given control of charity websites because fundraising represented such a huge portion of an organisation’s public-facing work.

Asked by Third Sector if this would mean displacing communications staff, who typically held this responsibility, he said charities did not need communications departments except to back up fundraising.

"The idea that communications skills reside only in the communications department is just ludicrous," he said. "The website is such an important tool in fundraising, and to have someone else running it with no responsibility for doing that makes no sense."

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