Giving Tuesday is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and it has become to the nonprofit sector what Black Friday is to the commercial sector. Namely, there is a huge increase in public interest and the number of donations made to nonprofits compared to an average day. It also marks the start of the holiday season when public generosity hits a yearly high.
The concept of Giving Tuesday has been in circulation since at least 2012, after a concerted drive by the nonprofit industry to refocus on giving to those in need during the holiday season, and it’s only grown in prominence since then.
Social media’s role in Giving Tuesday success
Thanks to social media networks and an emphasis on digital fundraising, Giving Tuesday has been a great driver of online donations for nonprofits.
From Instagram’s donation buttons appearing on stories to Facebook’s easy-to-use donate buttons and internal fundraising pages, the tech giants have made it easier than ever for users to donate to their favorite causes. Giving Tuesday hinges on the increased role social media plays in our daily lives, which means your nonprofit should make sure you’re set up for success by using these tools to your full advantage.
With that in mind, remember the power of hashtags! A good hashtag on any platform will send your nonprofit’s Giving Tuesday appeal far and wide.
How can your nonprofit make the most of Giving Tuesday?
One way to make the most of the giving day is to let your supporters know that you’re participating in it. In fact, you should start promoting the day at least a few weeks ahead of time. Keep a consistent theme in your emails, social media posts, and donation forms and let supporters know how they can use features offered by Facebook and PayPal to easily donate to your cause.
That’s especially important because you want as many people as possible to launch their own fundraisers independently of the one you launch before or on that giving day. These organic donor drives make a huge difference in terms of revenue gathered and how visible your nonprofit is, which can help you reach new supporters.
Test your donation process before the actual day.
Pay special attention to any points of friction in the donation process before you go live. As soon as your communication materials are ready to go and your team is on the right page, test out the methods and systems you’ll use to attract donors and accept donations.
Glitches can cost you dearly, so test run the functionality with a small group of volunteers or support staff. Evaluate their feedback and make changes as appropriate.
Encourage monthly donations.
I suggest putting special emphasis on recurring donations during the year-end giving season. It’s not as complicated as it looks, and this option can be added on your donation page through the software you’re using. Make it clear that recurring donations are a huge help when it comes to your organization continuing to carry out your mission.
Seek out new corporate partners.
Giving Tuesday is a fantastic time to seek out new corporate support. It’s a time when businesses are looking to catch the public’s attention, and helping a great cause is one way to do that.
Research a few companies and approach the ones you think would be a good fit to collaborate with on this campaign. Then, ask them to incorporate your donation drive into their own online presence. You should also see if they will match smaller donations or provide an overall matching grant, which will encourage more giving and more free advertising for the business.
To make a good impression, create a special email or mail a package to make that initial introduction. Beyond that, keep it human. Get to know the owners and those at key points in the business infrastructure. Alongside those efforts, explore the local institutions like the clubs, businesses, and more. They may be great contacts who are able to give your nonprofit important support.
Giving Tuesday is framed most often as an online juggernaut. The figures back this up, but behind every share and every decision to donate money is a personal choice made through a personal judgement call.
Donors ask themselves: Does this nonprofit matter? Do I think my donation can make a difference? Do I like the people in charge and how they’re running the organization? Do I feel an emotional connection to their mission? Do any friends support the organization?
Each question is one they spend a great deal of time trying to answer. Fostering a personal relationship with your donor is a huge weight in your favor when Giving Tuesday rolls into view over the golden canopies of late fall.
The holidays are such an important time for this industry. As such, Giving Tuesday is the linchpin which leads into year-end giving.