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When #GivingTuesday And Donor-Advised Funds Collide

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13 Lucky Year-End Fundraising Tips

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I have the privilege and honor of supporting a fairly large number of wonderful nonprofits both locally and nationally.

A few years back, one of these organizations decided to begin a Giving Tuesday campaign.

Before the day was over my wife and I had been solicited by them several times. By late afternoon, I was concerned enough to reach out by phone to ask my contact at the organization if they would like my annual gift now or later in December as we had done in the past.

The person I was talking to suggested we make our gift on Giving Tuesday.

We did just that, at the same exact level as last year, which we had done by a check from our charitable giving account.

Just three weeks later our investment adviser sold numerous shares of appreciated stock and moved the proceeds into our charitable giving account to avoid the capital gain taxes and to allow us to be even more generous in our giving that year.

We were able to more than double many of our annual fund gifts right before year-end.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make an additional gift to the charity that solicited us so much on Giving Tuesday since we had already given them our annual gift.

I wonder how often this exact scenario unfolds for other above-average donors who donate through donor-advised funds, especially in a year like this one with the stock market setting all-time records?

Segmentation is the Key

So how could this nonprofit who missed out on my year-end gift have avoid this whole situation?


Donors like me who make above-average gifts through donor-advised funds at year-end should have been segmented out of their one-size-fits-all Giving Tuesday appeals.

Now, yes, I’ll admit that I represent a very specific donor type, and one that is probably rare for many of you reading today.

But what about other possible Giving Tuesday segments? How could they be solicited differently on Giving Tuesday, rather than sending the same appeal to everyone on your list?

Here are a few key segments and Giving Tuesday ideas to consider:

  • Lapsed Donors (Haven’t Given in 2+ Years)
  • Prospective Donors (Never Given)
  • Donors Who Have Only Given Once
  • Monthly Donors
  • Volunteers
  • Employees
  • Board Members
  • Vendors
  • Sponsors
  • Current Program Recipients
  • Former Program Recipients
  • Alumni
  • Low Level Donors
  • Mid Level Donors
  • Above Average Donors
  • Major Donors

The possibilities are limitless, and the more you segment, the higher your chances of personalizing the appeal and ask amount.

The alternative is repeated, generic solicitations during the day of Giving Tuesday, and a higher risk of cannibalizing a large year-end gift.

This year, the day after Giving Tuesday, I observed from a large number of friends on social media that they felt compelled to finally unsubscribe from one or more charities they had been supporting.

This can significantly impact the lifetime value of previously loyal donors and should be avoided at all costs

Every charity participating in a Giving Tuesday campaign should be careful to plan out in detail the strategies of their campaign.

Such careful planning and execution should allow any charity to set the proper goals and objectives for Giving Tuesday while avoiding the perils mentioned above as well as others.

Please share with us any successes realized from proper planning, segmentation and execution on Giving Tuesday in the comments below!

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