Give With Your Heart, Not With Your Wallet

I feel my best when I'm giving back. According to the Do Good Live Well Survey, so do a lot of other Americans. Of those who volunteered, 68 percent reported that it made them feel physically healthier; 89 percent that it "has improved my sense of well-bring" (e.g. happiness) and 73 percent that it "lowered my stress levels." When you give back, you are in actuality giving more to yourself than you ever thought possible.

It's so amazing to see over the years that Giving Tuesday has become the social impact's Super Bowl. It comes on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday - a much-needed reset for what the holiday season is really "supposed" to be about. This year, 30,000 non-profits raised $116MM from their supporters, building on a total close to half a billions since Giving Tuesday's inception in 2012.

What even those most people familiar with Giving Tuesday don't know, however, is that its origins weren't so explicitly about fundraising - that just seems to be what the day has grown into. According to co-founder Henry Timms, Giving Tuesday was actually meant to be a much broader call to action, to shine a spotlight on all the great programming that social impact organizations do.

This year, one organization rose to that challenge, and what was incredible was that they didn't necessarily ask for money; they asked for something that "pulled on your heart strings". ORGANIZE, a non-profit working to eliminate the organ donor waiting list, ran a digital organ donation drive rather than a fundraiser. Their tagline: Give With Your Heart, Not Your Wallet [by registering as an organ donor]. "It's one of the perks of organ donation," says co-founder Jenna Arnold. "Our CTA doesn't require a financial solicitation - we can solve the problem for free if everyone just registers as organ donors."

That task has become dramatically more feasible in the two years since ORGANIZE launched. Earlier this year, the non-profit built the first central registry for the US, enabling donor registrations via digital and social media pathways, rather than only at the DMV. Not only does this allow for scale (and a drastically improved user experience), but ORGANIZE's digital nature enables a world of much-needed behavioral science research, which had historically proved impossible at the DMV. For its Giving Tuesday campaign, ORGANIZE teamed up with Dan Ariely and Judd Kessler, prominent behavioral economists from Duke and Wharton, respectively - just the beginning of the most sophisticated effort to date to understand donor registration best practices.

The campaign itself included participation from various corporate partners, including Warby Parker, MeetUp, IDEO, and Four Square, as well as consumer-facing promotion from Verizon, Novartis, and New York Magazine. "Employees appreciated the opportunity to be involved in a philanthropic activity that didn't cost money and had the potential to save lives" says Gareth Stonebraker of OPower. Their social media efforts, including a hosted Twitter Party with Being Latino focused on the Hispanic/Latino demographic, won support from celebs and influencers as diverse as Ashton Kutcher, Michael Skolnik, and Jean Case - not to mention the Chief Technology Officer at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

By the time Giving Tuesday's clock struck midnight, the campaign earned more than 40 million impressions, registering thousands of Americans in the process, making it by far the biggest digital donor drive in US history. The even better news: ORGANIZE is just getting started.

In case you were under a rock last Tuesday, REGISTER HERE and #GiveWithYourHeart.