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A Day In The Life: Behind the Scenes of A Wildly Successful #GivingTuesday

by Benevity, Inc
December 5, 2018

Benevity-ite, Komal gives a $25 charitable gift card to Randy, who happened to be in the right place at the right time!

Benevity-ite, Komal gives a $25 charitable gift card to Randy, who happened to be in the right place at the right time!

It’s been about a week since #GivingTuesday and we’re still replaying all the special moments of cheering, laughter, hard work and happy tears. Our entire company rallied together to achieve new heights of Goodness. It started with our small (and mighty!) crew and it spread…into our local communities, across our international client community, among thousands of charities and all over the Twittersphere.

If you’d asked us two weeks ago how it would go, none of us could have predicted that:

  • we’d process the same amount of donations in one day that we did in the first five years of Benevity’s existence,
  • celebrities would be sharing a video that we made, and
  • we’d find ourselves in the middle of a football rally, a marina or a busy street over the lunch hour.

We’re proud to say that all of these things not only happened, but they culminated into a magnificent display of who we are and what we stand for.

Here’s the story of #GivingTuesday 2018 at Benevity…

For those who aren’t familiar with #GivingTuesday, it’s a global day of giving that was created in response to the mass consumerism that takes place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, #GivingTuesday was November 27, 2018.

When brainstorming what we wanted to say and do on this day as a company, we took inventory of what we’re currently seeing on the news and social media about everything from politics, race and religion to gender, sexuality and the environment. It was undeniable that instead of informing or connecting us, these messages were pulling us apart. So, we thought a lot about what we believe and what we see in action every day: empathy, kindness and the incredible power that every person has to change the world. We wanted to say what we felt—that it’s time for all of us to #BeTheGood in the world—and what better time to start than #GivingTuesday?

We began by creating a little video with a big goal: to inspire people to spread a message of hope that could help change the world—in just 1 minute and 5 seconds.

As the video’s message unfolded, so did a comprehensive effort that touched nearly every area of the company.

Our People Team

Thinking about the corporate giving program of the company who powers other companies’ corporate giving programs can be a little like the movie Inception, but we have one too! It’s called MyGoodness and is managed by our people team (traditionally known as HR). For #GivingTuesday, this group activated a team of volunteers known as Goodness Catalysts who took to the streets of Calgary, Victoria, Toronto, Minneapolis and San Mateo with “random acts of Goodness” in the form of charitable gift cards, to help more people “be the good” in the world. They also utilized our Missions product to make it easy for all Benevity-ites to learn more about the global movement, donate to any cause of their choice with a company match, share the Goodness with their friends and family, and join Volunteer Opportunities to support Soap for Hope and help run our big #GivingTuesday marketing campaign (we’ll talk about that next ;)).

When all was said and done, our team upcycled hundreds of bars of soap and handed out more than $1,500 in charitable gift cards. But most importantly, our people stepped outside of their daily roles and let their passion and creativity drive our social mission in fun new ways.

Our Marketing Team

You know that little video we just mentioned? When our CEO first sat down for a pre-screening, he was overcome with emotion, so we knew it had to be shared far and wide. The video was, in essence, encouraging people to find the good in a sometimes discouraging world. But that wasn’t enough. We wanted more people to be the good and change the world. So, with every share of the video on #GivingTuesday along with the hashtag #BeTheGood and an @ mention of their favorite charity, Benevity committed to giving $10 to that cause, up to $100,000 in total.

To be completely honest, we didn’t know if we could do it, but it turned out people loved the video (and the message) as much as we did! It’s had over a million views and the $100,000 is now earmarked for more than 2,500 unique charities chosen by 10,000 passionate Tweeps, with the first $50,000 claimed in just two hours! We want to give a shout out to celebs like Steve Nash, Sanya Richards-Ross, Kevin Conroy and many others who took part. The real heroes of the day, though, were the charities and their supporters who showed their tremendous strength in numbers.

Our Development Team

We couldn’t have done any of this without our mighty development team, and neither could any of our 450 clients, many of whom had their own #GivingTuesday campaigns in full swing. Most people don’t give much thought to the inner workings of the software they use to give back—nor should they. That’s why we have a sophisticated team of product and technology professionals who work the magic behind the scenes. As a SaaS (Software as a Service) company that powers Goodness programs for some of the biggest brands in the world, our first priority to set the stage for success on #GivingTuesday (and every day!) is to ensure our platform has the functionality, user experience and technical capacity to meet the needs of an always-growing number of do-gooders. Without getting too technical, they kicked things up a few gears to make sure every ounce of good intent went where it needed to go on #GivingTuesday. And we’re talking a lot of ounces of good (but we’ll get to that!).

Our Client Success Team

Speaking of good intent… imagine the customer service (or what we call client success) that’s required when you have 450 companies, some spanning across more than 70 countries, each with their own unique combination and variation of giving, matching, volunteering, grants and positive actions that engage their people, customers and the public. Staying on top of all of these needs is just one specialty they bring to the table. On #GivingTuesday, the team managed more than 2,700 service requests to help keep the Goodness going.

Our Charity Relations Team

Where was the Goodness going? To over 18,000 charities and nonprofits! And our charity relations team was working in overdrive to make sure these organizations receive donations by electronic funds transfer (EFT), the most efficient way possible. We send over 87% of funds through EFT and our platform automates payment notification, donor records, tax receipting and reporting for charities. It’s all part of our mission to improve the overall charitable landscape through efficiency and technology.

Our biggest #GivingTuesday yet

So, just how much good did we do this #GivingTuesday? Nearly 270 of our client companies got involved, logging more than 80,000 volunteer hours and donating $24.7 million to worthy causes! And it didn’t stop there. A few days later when many of our clients’ payroll donations went through, Benevity processed another $35.3 million in donations. Woohoo!

You don’t have to be big to give big

We’re a relatively small company of 500 people, with just one person leading our Goodness program. She’s supported by a passionate group of people (we call them Goodness Catalysts) who run the day-to-day aspects of the program. If you ever meet Angie and the team, give them high-fives all around, because they do all of this in addition to their official jobs! The same is true for many of our clients, big and small. But this #GivingTuesday story is proof that when you build a purpose-driven culture that empowers all of your people to do good, big things can happen.

The cliché is true—it really does take a village—and ours is always growing. If you’re looking to join a passionate, innovative and adaptive team that is fiercely focused on a social mission, visit