The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Maximize Giving This Holiday Season

December is truly the month of giving.

The holiday giving season represents a tremendous opportunity for nonprofits to increase donor engagement and raise funds. After all, about one-third of all giving occurs in December, and over one-fifth of all annual giving occurs during the last two days of the year. Despite this increased activity, however, many nonprofits are unable to take full advantage of the season.

One problem lies in how nonprofits engage donors when conveying their charitable visions. Most donors want to connect emotionally to their chosen causes and organizations. Though the rise of online giving has greatly expanded audience reach, it has actually made it more difficult for nonprofits to establish this kind of special connection. And, although nonprofits may receive more exposure than ever before through their Web sites and other online platforms, the number of online options can seem endless to donors, which means that nonprofits must quickly capture and hold potential donors' attention.

Moreover, many donors experience difficulty in finding the exact information they really want when making charitable donations. The information they seek is oftentimes too dense, impersonal, and unfocused. When donors are unable to obtain compelling and clear information, they have a difficult time connecting to and appreciating nonprofits' impact and progress.

Video is a powerful tool for overcoming these challenges.

In the for-profit world, many online marketers use video advertisements to attract the attention of increasingly distracted consumers. According to research by eMarketer, U.S. online video advertisement sales grew by 40 percent in 2010, 52.1 percent in 2011, and are projected to grow by 43 percent in 2012.

When advertisers want to establish a connection with consumers, they turn to video.

Because donors give when they establish a personal or emotional connection to a nonprofit, nonprofits ought to favor videos even more than advertisers do. The reasons are simple:

  • Video brings your cause to life.
  • Video creates an emotional connection with your charity's mission.
  • Video allows you to tell your story in a deeper, more meaningful way.
  • Video catches the attention of a much broader audience.

For many nonprofits, producing a video in order to share their charitable missions is an unrealistic task because they simply do not have the financial resources or experience to do so. Even if an organization could produce a video, getting it in front of potential donors would be a further challenge.

At the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), we recognize not only the power of this medium for communicating nonprofits' missions and engaging donors but also the difficulty organizations may have in creating these tools. That is why we created the Giving Library, a Web site that connects donors to nonprofits through online video interviews. Donors can explore our online archive to locate, study, compare, and engage with hundreds of nonprofit organizations located across the country. The Giving Library also serves nonprofits by enhancing donor access through a compelling medium, increasing overall visibility and providing an opportunity to learn about peer organizations.

Best of all, it's free. LJAF covers 100 percent of Giving Library costs for all selected nonprofits. We are adding 600 new organizations in the near future, so if you are interested in being featured in the Giving Library, apply here by February 11, 2013.

Maximize this season of giving by exploring opportunities like the Giving Library so that your organization can establish deeper connections with donors and have the resources it needs to further its mission and continue its own charitable giving.

Kerry Vaughan, Laura and John Arnold Foundation © 2012, Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Kerry Vaughan manages LJAF's portfolio of innovative technology-based philanthropic projects, including the ERIN Project and the Giving Library. For more information on the Giving Library, please visit www.givinglibrary.org or contact info@givinglibrary.org. To apply to be a part of the Giving Library, please visit our application.

Topics: Fundraising