As the fall fundraising season slowly ramps up, nonprofits are starting to map out their end-of-year fundraising appeals, while also planning out their fundraising strategy for the year ahead. For many, strategy meetings are already on the books with their development and marketing staff members and dates are being etched into stone.
This year, before you sit down to discuss your year-end giving strategy, don’t make the mistake of overlooking #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a response to the consumerism and decadence of the holiday season to help us refocus on what’s important and kick off year-end giving for nonprofits. After two days of shopping and eating, it’s the perfect foray into the “season of giving.”
It may be tempting write off #GivingTuesday: A 2015 study by John Templeton Foundation found that only 18% of consumers had heard of the day of giving, while nearly 93% were familiar with Black Friday.
But, did you know that #GivingTuesday is quickly becoming one of the largest giving days in the U.S.? In 2016, $168M was donated to thousands of nonprofits across the country. Started in 2012 by 92Y, the day of giving has grown into an international movement that raises hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of causes.
#GivingTuesday is a ripe opportunity for nonprofits with goals to bring in new revenue and build their younger donor database. For many nonprofits, this is a great event to dip their toes into the water of crowdfunding, which can help to achieve both of these goals.
So, what’s the key to ensure your foray into #GivingTuesday will be a success? Here’s four tips to help you break into the global day of giving:
1) Create a strategy
It may be super simple to register for #GivingTuesday on a giving platform host site like Razoo, but that doesn’t mean #GivingTuesday is effortless. The amount you get out of your campaign depends on how much you put it into it.
Get your team together to begin working on your #GivingTuesday campaign and outline your goals. Do you have a monetary goal you hope to hit on #GivingTuesday? What about a project you need to fund? Is there a specific number of new donors you hope to acquire? Think realistically about what you can achieve on #GivingTuesday and start planning your strategy. For instance, if you raised $500 last year during an end of year appeal, doubling the goal to $1,000 for #GivingTuesday is much more attainable than setting a $10,000 goal.
Plus, think about how you can receive more community support: Sponsors need at least a few months of lead time, so make sure to ask any strong corporate partners to make a matching gift or sponsor your campaign with plenty of time. What in-person events could you host at a local restaurant or business or ask them to host on your behalf?
Consider what media contacts you have and how you can leverage their support to get more exposure for your campaign this year. Is there a strong angle to your appeal that they’d be interested in
2) Start early
This goes hand-in-hand with creating a strategy: The sooner you start promoting your participation in #GivingTuesday and sharing your key messages, the more you will prepare your donors to give on the day of the event.
Some organizations believe that if they send their donors too many emails or post a solicitation on social media too frequently they will lose donors who will instead unsubscribe. But, the threshold is actually much higher than these organizations realize it is: In 2017, the average user is expected to receive 124 emails in their inbox per day, according to a study by Radici Group.
So, sending too few emails can actually cause the opposite to happen: your efforts will be wasted on an unmemorable campaign that will be lost among the white noise of other emails in a donor’s inbox.
Aim to send emails at least two weeks out and in the days leading up to the event, when early pledges for sites like Razoo open up, to remind donors about your campaign and your goals. Post several times a week on social media during that timeframe, as well.
Remember to use the same messaging each time to remind donors to give. Using messages like, “$10 can provide xx” helps donors visualize the impact of their gift and encourages them to give more. The more they see this message, the more they’ll remember when they go to pledge their donation amount on the page.
3) Target your donors through segmentation
#GivingTuesday’s mix of social media virality and socially entrepreneurial spirit makes it a perfect environment to increase your millennial donor base. Target these donors by reaching them where they are: targeted Facebook ads, Twitter contests and gamification on your blog can help you engage this young demographic.
For instance, secure a matching gift sponsor to donate a $1 for each retweet your #GivingTuesday Twitter posts receive. Ask this group of young supporters to help by spreading the word with their social networks. This can encourage supporters who may not be able to donate a monetary gift to get involved, too.
On Facebook, create an ad targeting a younger audience. Don’t forget to make it visually appealing and have a clear, short call to action. Set your parameters for the ad by considering this younger audience’s interests. What will they likely be interested in on Facebook?
Finally, consider what other segmentation you can do on #GivingTuesday. If this is your second year doing #GivingTuesday, you may want to ask past #GivingTuesday donors to increase their gift size. You may push mid-level donors towards major gifts by soliciting them for sponsorships or matching gifts, or ask them to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser and bring in new supporters for your cause.
Make sure you are never sending the same message to all donors. Each different level of donor should receive a message targeted to their audience. Tools like DonorSearch can help you identify these different segments of donors to make sure you’re reaching them with the most relevant and compelling message.
4) Use it as a springboard for end of year giving
It’s no coincidence that #GivingTuesday occurs just mere days before December starts and holiday giving hits its peak. Instead of treating these two important events as silos, incorporate them.
Now, the age old question is how to deepen the well without asking donors for back to back gifts? Here are some ways to get more from your #GivingTuesday donors:
- Ask #GivingTuesday donors to increase their impact by sharing the link to give to your organization with five friends and family and ask them to support the cause
- Ask them to share their impact on social media
- Encourage donors to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser and join an end-of-year competition to raise funds for your organization.
- Remind donors how close you are to hitting your year-end goal, and ask them to make another $10 gift (you’d be surprised how many will accept the offer to make such a small secondary contribution!).
Jumping into #GivingTuesday is a low-barrier way to be part of a national conversation and receive exposure for your organization’s work. Plus, you’ll have the ability to receive great benefits not available to nonprofits on other days, like platform-fee free fundraising on Razoo.
Don’t miss out on the plethora of benefits to participating in #GivingTuesday. Even if it’s your first year, just taking these four steps can help ensure a successful giving event for your organization.
This post comes from Ashley Hieb at Razoo, a nonprofit technology platform that makes online fundraising easy. Prior to working at Razoo, Ashley worked on the corporate partnerships at the largest hunger relief organization in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Journalism.