I’ve seen this question a lot lately – Should my nonprofit start a #GivingTuesdayNow campaign?
There is a lot of uncertainty right now, and even more questions:
What if we already have a campaign launched?
What about fundraising right now – is it ok?
What kinds of campaigns are running?
How will I be able to reach my donors?
These are important things to consider, and there is no one right answer.
There is no guidebook for how to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, and no precedent.
On top of the fear and doubt overwhelming the nonprofit sector, there is a lot of misinformation out about the entire GivingTuesday movement, and #GivingTuesdayNow in particular.
I completely understand the skepticism.
As professionals, we are being absolutely bombarded with information, and new information, however well-intended, makes our head spin right now.
What should we listen to, and what should we ignore?
Since every organization and every personality is different, it’s impossible to have a one-size-fits-all strategy.
However, I can give you a simple assessment tool to use when making this decision for you and for your nonprofit.
So grab a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, close all the Google Chrome tabs filled with advice/tips/tricks and take out a pencil and paper.
#GivingTuesdayNow Campaign Assessment – Should We Participate?
Here are four questions to ask yourself, your team, your supervisor, and your Board when making the decision whether or not to start a fundraising campaign of any kind, any giving day, or on an international day like #GivingTuesdayNow:
1) Can you take on one more thing?
If the answer is absolutely not, then commit to this answer and be prepared to defend it when others question why you aren’t participating.
There is no shame in sitting this one out.
You know your limits.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew at this time.
2) What would be the purpose of a new campaign?
Many of my clients come to me because they feel like all of their efforts in the digital marketing space are just not getting results.
After they tell me this, I always ask, “What are the results that you want to get?”
Surprisingly, this question usually stumps a lot of nonprofits.
Without a clear goal – or destination – in mind when you embark on any campaign – or journey – how will you know that you have succeeded?
For an online campaign, whether you are raising money or not, I recommend choosing a goal that is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
For fundraising, this would mean: “We want to raise $10,000 in 24 hours on #GivingTuesdayNow to provide six months of virtual educational programming to 125 youth.”
What’s different now is that donors are giving to employee salaries and to general operating to keep the lights on and the doors open – so if that’s what you need, be honest and open! For specific information on starting an employee relief campaign, read this post: How to Plan and Launch an Emergency Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaign
Once you have your SMART goal in place, you can more effectively create all of the moving pieces of the campaign, like email newsletter copy, social media posts, photos, videos, stories to collect and share, and more.
3) Can #GivingTuesdayNow augment a campaign we are already planning?
Of course! A great example is the Countdown Toolkit that I created with the Kentucky Nonprofit Network.
Their annual state-wide giving day, #KYGives20, has been planned for May 12th for months now.
However, KNN wanted to leverage #GivingTuesdayNow to raise even more money on their giving day.
So they decided to create a Countdown Toolkit and a calendar of virtual events that begin on May 5th, complete with graphics and social media posts, to let people know that #KYGives20 is approaching and to build buzz and excitement.
4) Could you do something other than asking for money on May 5th?
GivingTuesday was created as a day of generosity and giving back, not necessarily a day to ask everyone for money.
If you want to participate but don’t want to fundraise, I have lots of ideas for you (10 listed out in this blog post).
One great idea broached in the Nonprofit Social Media Storytelling Facebook group really stood out to me: Giving Thanks Day!
What other nonprofits are saying:
“We’re doing a gratitude day. We’ve already asked for and gotten pandemic related donations so we’re using it as a way to say thank you.”
“Thinking of using the opportunity as a Giving Thanks Day with videos, stories, and quotes talking about the impact of recent donations.”
“Gratitude day is amazing. Maybe do personal gratitude e-cards sharing the impact the donation has made on people your org supports.”
Great ideas – I’m sure you have many more!
If you do decide to embark on a campaign, there are a TON of helpful free resources available to you.
Check out the webinar replay: #GivingTuesdayNow: Social Media Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Success