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Let Volunteers Shine (And Inspire Gifts) On GivingTuesday

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13 Lucky Year-End Fundraising Tips

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This GivingTuesday, no matter what your campaign or theme, you can’t go wrong spotlighting the stories of your volunteers. Their dedication, passion, and contributions form the backbone of your organization, enriching your mission and amplifying the effect of every donation. Showcasing your volunteers’ journeys not only celebrates their invaluable commitment, but also fosters trust and connection within the community, highlighting the human impact behind every effort.

Shine a spotlight on your volunteers

Hearing heartfelt stories about why your cause is important to them will amplify your messaging and help make it resonate with prospects and donors, deepening their emotional connection to your organization and fostering long-term support. It shows everyone your cause is an investment that the broader community supports and champions.  

Is celebrating your volunteers and how much they mean to your work a simple but surefire way to get others to get involved? Yes!  

Plus giving the mic and shining the spotlight on your volunteers also gives them a well-deserved moment to bask in the glow of genuine appreciation.    

Spend the day thanking instead of asking

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end-of-life charity.

In 2014, Meredith Niles had just taken over fundraising for Marie Curie in the UK when her phone rang. It was GivingTuesday inviting her to be a part of GivingTuesday’s inaugural UK launch.  

New in her role, with two new staff persons reporting to her and an already-packed end-of-year schedule—including appeals, a holiday catalog, events, and concerts—Melissa felt torn.

With such a busy year-end agenda, she didn’t want to risk cannibalizing their planned appeals.  

The organization was also experiencing some cultural shifts as well. Like many healthy nonprofits, Marie Curie was trying to instill greater collaboration and a deeper culture of philanthropy across teams, some of which were siloed. They were also shifting their culture to more evidence-based planning. This meant Meredith would need to prove that anything she did was a worthwhile investment. 

Meredith’s brilliant solution?

To spend the day thanking instead of asking. She asked staff to give 15 minutes of their time to handwrite a card and prepared them with ready-made assets, stationery, stamps, and sample scripts. She made it fun with decorations and a staff photo contest. Staff got into the spirit with personalized doodles and videos. Every department participated—even finance and nursing—and everyone reported that it made them feel more connected to the organization.    

Did thanking them raise more money?

Meredith and her team did a brilliant job of testing the campaign.

They segmented the donors by type and put them into two groups: one group that would get a (thank you) letter and another that didn’t. They then tracked the level of donations from those groups, how many of them were still giving to the organization in the future, and what the level of their gifts were. In other words, they looked at retention and future gifts among both groups.

Ultimately those who were thanked gave £20 (about $25 USD) MORE than those who were not thanked.  

To make it even more mission-friendly, Meredith explained that those results meant that for every 15 minutes of thanking by staff members, they were able to pay for an extra hour of nursing care. 

On top of launching a new and successful GivingTuesday campaign in a brand new market, Meredith exceeded all her goals: delighting volunteers and donors, inspiring them to give more, bringing diverse teams together in a culture of philanthropy, and perhaps best of all—she made it easy so no one was overwhelmed in a busy end-of-year season.    

Learn more about Meredith and her favorite GivingTuesday campaigns on Sofii.   

How can you celebrate your volunteers and donors this GivingTuesday?

My friend Brock Warner, CFRE at Broccoli, and author of From the Ground Up: Digital Fundraising for Nonprofits, teases me because I love to brag on his brilliant quote: 

“One thing humans never tire of is being the recipient of honest, heartfelt gratitude. Like a timeless piece of music, gratitude has an incredibly long half-life. The opportunity to surprise and delight donors simply by saying thank you is present more often than you might think.”

If you’re feel stressed that GivingTuesday feels like an “Asking Tuesday,” consider making it a Thanking Tuesday instead!  

Drop your comments about plans or campaigns that have inspired you in the comment section below.  

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