Last year, the total amount donated on #GivingTuesday was $168 million, up from $116.7 million in 2015.
#GivingTuesday is certainly growing in popularity, but success on this special giving day comes with a caveat.
Much like donors don’t give to you simply because they have lots of money, donors are not going to give you money SIMPLY BECAUSE it’s #GivingTuesday. That can’t be the only reason.
It’s up to you to have cultivated a relationship with your donors all year long, through storytelling and consistent communication, before demanding gifts on November 28th.
With that in mind, participating in #GivingTuesday is fun and free, but it’s certainly not easy.
Like any other marketing or fundraising initiative, you need a plan and a strategy to set yourself apart and make a splash.
Once you decide to embark on a #GivingTuesday campaign, here are 10 ways that your nonprofit can prepare and set yourself up for maximum success:
1. Download the planning worksheet.
Download this free Giving Tuesday Key Decisions Worksheet and start making a simple, strategic #GivingTuesday plan for your nonprofit!
2. Register as an official partner.
Registration is free. If you register as an official #GivingTuesday nonprofit partner, your project and nonprofit could be featured nationally on the official website and social media channels.
You can also sign up to participate as an individual.
3. Take advantage of all the free #GivingTuesday materials.
Add the invitation graphic to your website, check out the videos and case studies, and download the helpful tip sheets and The #GivingTuesday Complete Toolkit to generate ideas and inspiration for your campaign.
Projects with SMART goals always raise more money than “general operating expenses” or the “annual fund”.
SMART means – Specific, Measurable, Achieve able, Relevant, and Time-based. Example: “We need to raise $10,000 to provide free after school homework help to 350 high school kids in upstate New York this school year!”
Choose a project based on need and what is most likely to excite your donors and get new donors on board.
5. Get your online ambassadors involved.
Who are your biggest online champions?
You know – the special superstars who forward your emails, retweet your tweets, and share your Facebook posts?
Identify a group of at least 10 people who you want to cultivate and engage to help spread the word about your #GivingTuesday campaign.
These people are already comfortable online and love spreading the word about your cause. Give them something to tweet about!
6. Create a communication schedule.
Write up a timeline as to when and how often you are going to communicate with supporters regarding your campaign.
Are you going to post on social media every day or every other day? Are you going to blog?
How often are you going to send email blasts? Are you going to make phone calls?
When you have a time-sensitive online campaign like this, weekly emails are appropriate – as long as the emails are updating the donors and potential donors on the progress and the impact of their donations.
Don’t forget to include acknowledgements and celebrating success in your communication schedule.
7. Work in live or virtual events.
Do you already have fundraising or awareness events scheduled for the last quarter of the year? Work in your #GivingTuesday message, put the hashtag on all materials, have a Q&A session with the director about the importance of end-of-year giving, provide stories and testimonials of the impact your organization is having on the world.
Double your money with matching gifts. Identify and approach a generous donor, local foundation, or even a small business that wants to increase their profile and help you raise even more money.
9. Explore holding a contest.
During #GivingTuesday last year, the American Diabetes Association (through a gift from a corporate sponsor) gave away a chance to win a free trip to Hawaii via a raffle.
If you donated on #GivingTuesday you were automatically entered into the raffle.
10. Remember that the person-to-person ask is always the most effective.
Personal relationships are the key to success in fundraising, and especially on a busy day like #GivingTuesday!
Once your SMART goal is in place, pull a short list of your most active volunteers, board members, and donors and start making personal calls asking them to help in reaching the goal AND help in spreading the word.
Send them follow-up emails and other communications thanking them for their help and soliciting their ideas.
#GivingTuesday is a fantastic way to reach out to new donors and to bring off-line donors into the online fold.
It should be approached as another tool in your fundraising tool box, used to augment or even kick-off your year-end fundraising tactics.
When used effectively, #GivingTuesday can raise your nonprofit’s profile and expose you to a new generation of donors.
Are you planning a #GivingTuesday campaign? Tell us your biggest challenge over in the Facebook Group!
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