With 2017 coming to a close, your organization is probably focusing its last efforts on year-end fundraising—and with good reason!
Giving Tuesday provides organizations with the perfect opportunity to boost fundraising before 2018 roles in. There is no better time to start preparing than right now. If your organization wants to make the most out of this day of giving, you need to make sure you have all the right strategies and resources to make this day a success.
For those of you who don’t know, Giving Tuesday (known on social media as #GivingTuesday) was started just six years ago by 92nd Street Y, a cultural organization in New York City. It serves as a philanthropic reminder after the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Each year, Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year, it’s on November 28!).
This year’s Giving Tuesday is gearing up to be the biggest one yet, and your nonprofit doesn’t want to get left behind and miss out on the donations that people will be making.
By preparing for #GivingTuesday and stewarding your donors afterwards, you will be able to raise more money during this crucial fundraising day.
To help you make it through this year’s Giving Tuesday, we’ve broken these best practices into two categories to make it easier to scroll to the tips you might need most.
Pre-Giving Tuesday Strategies
One of the common misconceptions about Giving Tuesday is that it only requires minimal planning. Nonprofits think they can just jump in on the big day and start requesting funds, but that’s far from the truth!
Planning ahead will ensure that you’re able to maximize your fundraising potential.
So what can your organization do to prepare? We’ll cover 4 ways your organization can plan for Giving Tuesday:
- Draft your Giving Tuesday communication plan.
- Host a Giving Tuesday event.
- Partner With a Local Business or Major Donor to Match Donations.
- Improve your online giving methods.
Let’s jump right into the first tip!
1. Draft Your Giving Tuesday Communications Plan
The first step to planning for Giving Tuesday is to create a communication plan. This plan should align with your current fundraising strategy and detail when and how you’ll communicate with donors to promote this day of giving.
Your communications plan should cover the following:
- When and what you’ll post on social media.
- How you’ll promote #GivingTuesday before the big day.
- How you’ll engage with donors during the event.
Promoting Giving Tuesday on social media should be your organization’s main focus, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your other outreach methods.
Use email to remind donors about the giving day before it arrives and include information about how donors can support your cause. Link to your online donation form, provide instructions on how to give via text message, and give donors marketing materials they can use to promote donating to their friends and family.
2. Host a Giving Tuesday Event
What better way to hype up Giving Tuesday than by planning an event for your nonprofit and the supporters who live in your area?
The event doesn’t have to be anything fancy; you can host a simple fundraising event to celebrate Giving Tuesday and invite your supporters to stop by when it’s convenient.
The event can be a great time to educate new donors about your cause and invite them to become more involved.
In turn, you can learn more about your donors by meeting up with them face-to-face.
Check out GuideStar’s resource on the 3 facts you should know when planning events.
Alternatively, you can host an online event with a livestreaming component. You can incorporate a unique component to your event to make your organization stand out on Giving Tuesday.
For example, have someone on your team volunteer to be dunked in water if you reach your fundraising goal. You could also send donors stickers with your nonprofit’s logo. When a donor gives, they can take a picture on social media with #Givingtuesday or #unselfie.
If you want more ideas on how to make your Giving Tuesday more engaging, check out this list of ideas.
3. Partner With a Local Business or Major Donor to Match Donations
If you could double the funds you raise for Giving Tuesday, wouldn’t you want to? Organizations can partner with a local business or major donor and have them match donations.
You can ask companies and major donors to give a matched contribution once you’ve reached a specific amount of money or match all the donations made on that day.
Look at how the Alzheimer Society partnered with Deloitte for Giving Tuesday:
Matching donations on Giving Tuesday is a win-win situation because your organization will get double the funds and the corporation or major donor will get to promote their philanthropic side.
4. Improve Your Online Giving Methods
It goes without saying that Giving Tuesday is a social experience. As a result, many donors will be flocking to your online donation tools to raise money for your cause. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your online donation forms are optimized to make the giving experience enjoyable for all your donors.
Here are few tips you can use to help improve your online donation forms:
- Invest in mobile giving options (if you haven’t already).
- Limit the number of fields in your online donation forms.
- Create pre-set donation amounts to make it easy for donors to give.
Additionally, you might want to consider looking into passwordless options for your donation forms. Previous donors won’t have to fill out all their donor information every time they make a donation.
After Giving Tuesday is over, you’ll have new donors supporting your organization. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to develop these relationships and establish long-term connections with your supporters!
Implement these four tips once Giving Tuesday is over:
- Follow-up with donors after Giving Tuesday.
- Promote matching gifts.
- Offer other engagement opportunities.
- Review the results of your Giving Tuesday campaign.
Keep reading to learn how you can improve your post Giving Tuesday strategy.
1. Follow-Up With Donors After Giving Tuesday
While having a foolproof fundraising strategy during this day of giving is important, it’s just as crucial to develop a plan to follow-up with donors.
While many donors might be long-term supporters, it’s likely that you will gain a few first-time supporters during Giving Tuesday. Thanking these donors and following-up with other engagement opportunities is the first step to building relationships with these donors.
Your follow-up strategy should include:
- Acknowledgements and follow-up emails. Whether it’s a first-time supporter or a major donor, every supporter should receive a thank-you email directly after they donate to your cause. This can be a short message that shows your gratitude and invites donors to share their contribution on social media.
- Direct mail letters and cards. Once Giving Tuesday is over, organizations should also send direct mail letters, especially to first-time donors. These letters can include welcome packets with more information on your organization and other ways to stay connected to your cause.
- Phone calls (when necessary). Sometimes a phone call might replace your direct mail thank-you letter. Organizations can call long-time supporters to thank them for their donation, which is a great way to show your appreciation in a personal way.
- Social media posts. Create social media posts thanking all of your supporters, and use a video or image with your team showing their gratitude. By posting a public thank you on social media, supporters have the ability to share your post with others, spreading the word even further.
Getting in touch with your donors shortly after Giving Tuesday is over will help keep your nonprofit in the front of their minds as we get closer to the end of the year. Staying in touch will likely give your year-end fundraising a boost!
2. Promote Matching Gifts
Matching gifts help your nonprofit raise even more money without having to ask your donors to open their wallets a second time.
After a donor has made a contribution, they can submit a matching gift request to their employer (if their company offers such a program).
If the donation and your nonprofit are approved, the company will cut a check to your nonprofit for the same amount as the initial donation. It’s two for the price of one!
The unfortunate reality is that many donors simply don’t know that their employers offer a matching gift program, and if they do, they’re not familiar with the submission process. If donors don’t know the different guidelines and requirements, they’re less likely to submit a request even if they know matching gifts are available.
Giving Tuesday is an especially important time to promote matching gifts to your supporters. If you can generate awareness around matching gifts, donors might be able to make requests for their Giving Tuesday contributions as well as any donations they made to your nonprofit over the past year (depending on their employer’s deadline to submit matching gift requests).
Luckily, promoting matching gifts and educating donors on their employers’ program isn’t as hard as it seems. Organizations can incorporate matched giving on their:
- “Ways to Give” page.
- Online donation forms.
- Emails and e-newsletters.
- Social media posts.
3. Offer Other Engagement Opportunities
One of the biggest components of donor stewardship and cultivation is asking for more than just donations.
Make sure that your donors understand that there’s more to your organization than monetary contributions! Offer other engagement opportunities, such as:
- Volunteering with your organization.
- Attending an event of some kind.
- Touring your nonprofit’s facilities.
- Participating in a peer-to-peer fundraiser.
- And more!
By inviting your Giving Tuesday donors to get involved with your nonprofit in other ways, you ensure that your relationships with those donors will continue to flourish in the months and years to come.
4. Review the Results of Your Giving Tuesday Campaign
While you still have a whole year to prepare for next year’s Giving Tuesday, it can’t hurt to look back on your strategy from 2017.
By analyzing what worked and what didn’t this year, you’ll be more prepared to make your campaign for 2018 even better.
Your nonprofit might be wondering what areas to focus on when reviewing the data.
First, examine your promotion and communications strategies. What worked well and what fell a bit flat? Take note of what types of of outreach received the most engagement.
Make general notes or record donor-specific information in your fundraising software so that you’ll have context for your Giving Tuesday preparations next year. Hopefully, as each year passes, you’ll only raise more and more on the most popular giving day of the year!
Use these these top Giving Tuesday strategies to help prepare for the giving day that will launch your year-end fundraising. The more effort you take to prepare for this single day of fundraising, the better chance you have of reaching your goals and acquiring more donors. Good luck fundraising!
Adam Weinger is the president of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.