This year GivingTuesday will take place worldwide on Tuesday November 28, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This day of global giving has grown into an impressive movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. According to GivingTuesday, the average online gift was $107, and $3.1 billion was raised from 20 million US donors last year. Many nonprofits incorporate GivingTuesday into their year-end drives, and our webinar will show you how to quickly set up a campaign to achieve GivingTuesday success.
Here are the key factors for your ultimate GivingTuesday success
1. You have to be in it to win it
Your nonprofit’s GivingTuesday absence may not be noticed directly, but your supporters will most likely give to other nonprofits because those other nonprofits will reach out to them. (The average donor often gives to multiple nonprofits according to prospect research data.) I get it, your plate is full; but remember that perfect is the enemy of ‘good enough.’ Send something, even if it’s just a thoughtful email and an online post asking for their support. Show up.
2. Sometimes a surprise donation request has value
A study of around 6,000 participants from the Journal of Public Economics found that alerting the participants to the upcoming ask for a donation decreased click-through rates. The implication of their research is that a surprise donation ask in an email or on a page is likely to result in an increase in donations. GivingTuesday is such a day to surprise your donors.
3. Find new ways to inspire and engage with donors
I can hear you saying that your engagement as defined by shares, likes, open and click through rates is awful and has been awful since the beginning of time. Welcome to the work needing to be done, and that work is donor engagement. It may be true that your GivingTuesday campaign may not raise a lot of revenue this year because your prior online engagement has been low. If that’s the case keep your revenue expectations reasonable but focus instead on inspiring your donors to pay attention. For example, teach your donors something that will stun them about your nonprofit’s work, or show them an actual picture of your work that makes everyone smile. Or do both! Make your short pithy email or post memorable. This year win on engagement, so that next time you will have a better footing to advance.
4. Remember SMART goals?
If you’ve attended management workshops that drilled you on the SMART goals, now is the time to use them. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Your donors need your definitions for each SMART goal centered around a specific project, with a defined impact. For example:
“We need a new swing set for our school’s playground, but it has to be an inclusive swing design that accommodates children with disabilities. This includes swings with wider seats, harnesses for additional support, and wheelchair-accessible swing platforms. We also need rubberized or soft-landing surfaces beneath the swings to reduce the risk of injuries in case of falls. These features drive up our costs, but they are still reasonable at $15,000 for six swings, that’s $2,500 per swing. There are 120 supporters receiving this email. Would you consider a $2,500 gift, half of that, or even $250? In fact, forget those specific amounts if you want because, I bet, we’d meet our $15,000 goal if you would just give what for you is doable, affordable, and possibly even inspiring! You determine the amount that’s right. This drive ends tonight at midnight. May we hear from you?”
By setting a goal, you will help your organization measure GivingTuesday success and possibly help you raise more. Notice that I set a goal that’s specific, and you have to assure that it’s realistic. It certainly has a clear purpose. Communicate your progress toward reaching the goal twice during the day. You may want to include the goal on your website donation page and feature a progress bar. We’re all busy but it’s your job to keep your cause top of mind. That being said, I’d personally cap the number of emails/posts at four for the day, but if you’re pressed for time two emails or posts will suffice. If you reach the goal before the day ends, have a plan for what you will do with the extra funds and share that as you celebrate GivingTuesday success.
5. Prime the pump
Most donors like to follow a winner, but some like to prime the pump and give first. We even have a name for these donors: lead gift donors. Ask those lead donors that you know well for their gifts in advance. Or possibly ask that they make their gift at 6 a.m. before the rest of your community sees it that day. Board members may be ideal for this. An empty fundraising thermometer inspires no one! In fact, more people will support one that looks popular. Ideally you should have 35-40 percent raised when the campaign “goes live” on GivingTuesday.
6. Dive deeply into your donor segments
Deeper segmentation strategies will strengthen your fundraising efforts over time. Make sure these steps are taken:
- Gather key donor data during their giving. The best time to gather important data to build your different donor segments is when your supporters give. Ask them questions to determine their demographics (age, zip code, marital status, communication preference, etc.) or automatically sort them into segments based on their giving activity.
- Create corporate giving lists directly into your nonprofit CRM so you can sort them by their corporate giving eligibility. Flag their eligibility for matching gifts by searching a database like Double the Donation. Hopefully you are using an integrated prospect research database, if so then many corporate affiliations can be automatically flagged.
- Document the giving patterns among each donor segment. Specifically, track what kinds of fundraising opportunities work for each donor segment. This way, your team can focus on offering similar opportunities to these segments going forward.
- Be sure your fundraising strategy takes into account segmented supporters who behave outside of the norm for their groups. Such donors include older donors who prefer to donate to social media-driven campaigns, or donors with lower wealth markers who still manage to make generous gifts. These donors should not be set aside as anomalies! You will want to note who these givers are and learn to offer tailored fundraising opportunities to their unique needs instead of solely focusing on larger, more predictable segments.
7. Don’t overlook communication channels
On GivingTuesday email is king — followed by social media — but what about other communication methods? Have you considered leveraging the email signatures of your staff, board members, and volunteers? Create a custom GivingTuesday email signature and invite everyone to use it. Share simple instructions for how to alter email signatures. Does your website have a front-page feature on your GivingTuesday project? Or will your board members ask their company to create a special banner at their website for the day with a link to your GivingTuesday initiative? Last GivingTuesday I shared my favorite charity’s links with a special message at my LinkedIn page which has over 2,220 contacts. It raised $2,450 from new donors. I also messaged my best LinkedIn prospects individually. Switch it up and try new ways to communicate.
8. Create energy, send multiple messages, and say thank you
So much sameness plagues the fundraising field. GivingTuesday is a time to break out the Mardi Gras outfit and celebrate our sector. This is the start of the great gift-giving season. Plus, you are queuing up your donors for the three most lucrative online giving days of the year. Get them excited now. Donors will excuse your intrusions if your messaging is pithy, relevant, and meaningful. Start the day by announcing your goal, give midday updates, recognize specific donors throughout the day, and end the day with a “it’s not too late to give” message. Share and post messages of positivity, courage, and conviction. Contact your supporters again at the close of the day and thank them for contributing. Remind them of what their gift will do. Express gratitude and give updates about progress. If you have not reached your goal, express hope that you will as other donors may give tomorrow.
Unique aspects of GivingTuesday
GivingTuesday has cause-based coalitions that you can join. Examples include #LatinxGive, #iGiveCatholic, GivingTuesdayLGBTQ, and #CryptoGivingTuesday. The point is that you can join an existing campaign related to your mission and enjoy that support.
GivingTuesday has a special resource for young people. Led by a squad of young do-gooders aged 6-21 from all over the world, GivingTuesdaySpark is all about encouraging young people to take action around the causes they care about most.
GT also has a toolkit chock full of amazing resources like logos that you can use.
Additional resources for GivingTuesday success
- GivingTuesday has a complete toolkit that’s chock full of vital content.
- There’s also an FAQ sheet.
- You can find free logos and stock images here to help you communicate about GivingTuesday.
What is your nonprofit doing to prepare for GivingTuesday success?