It’s hard to believe that 2016 is almost coming to a close. Soon we’ll be throwing away old calendars and trying our best to stick to our New Year’s resolutions.
But before you buy a new calendar and embark on a healthier lifestyle (or doing whatever your resolution is!), make sure that your organization is aware of all of the strategies and resources that can help you raise more money during this year’s Giving Tuesday!
For those of you who don’t know, Giving Tuesday (known on social media as #GivingTuesday) was started five years ago by the 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 29!).
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 Giving Tuesday and stewarding your donors afterwards, you will be able to raise more money during this crucial fundraising day.
We’ve got the top strategies to help you make the most of Giving Tuesday! We’ve broken these best practices into two categories to make it easier to scroll to the tips you might need most.
You should already be preparing for Giving Tuesday, but if you’re not, there’s still some time! Use the following tips to get ready for one of the biggest giving days of the year.
1. Register for a Giving Tuesday Webinar
One of the best ways to get all of your ducks in a row for Giving Tuesday is to register for the “#GivingTuesday Game-Changer” webinar. It will be held November 1 at 2 p.m. ET.
Presenters will include Jessica Schneider, the director of strategy & collaboration at 92nd Street Y’s Belfer Center for Innovation; Eva Nico, senior director of nonprofit programs at GuideStar; and me, Adam Weinger, president of Double the Donation.
We’ll be covering strategies that can help you maximize your Giving Tuesday potential, including:
- Steps you can take today to move forward in your efforts.
- How to choose and promote the right form of matching gifts for your nonprofit.
- Tools for increasing your online visibility.
- Examples of successful campaigns.
- And more!
The best part? It’s completely free!
2. Plan an Event or a Get-Together
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 them face-to-face.
If your supporters are spread out across the country, you can host a virtual event that has a livestreaming component on your website. Just make sure that donors have easy access to the livestream so that they can participate!
Check out GuideStar’s resource on the three facts you should know when planning events.
3. Make Sure That Your Website Is Updated
Most of your Giving Tuesday supporters will give via your online donation page. This makes sense, given that Giving Tuesday is a very digitally based giving day, with many people calling attention to it with social media and hashtags.
That’s why it’s so important to have a great website before donors start accessing it in droves after Thanksgiving.
If you need help with nonprofit website design, Neon has a great resource, but I’ll highlight two of their main points here:
- Make sure that your website is mobile-responsive: Many of your Giving Tuesday supporters will be giving on the go. Your donation page and website should look just as good on their phones as they look on your computer.
- Feature Giving Tuesday on your website: Some of your donors might not even know what Giving Tuesday is! Make sure that you give them a little background and tell them how they can contribute to your nonprofit on November 29 (and every other day, for that matter!).
Having an updated and polished website won’t just be beneficial for your Giving Tuesday fundraising activities; it’ll give you the edge as we go into year-end fundraising, as well!
4. Be Vigilant When It Comes to Online Fraud
According to iATS Payments, “The 10 busiest days for online credit card fraud occur in November, peaking on Black Friday.”
Nonprofits have to be wary when it comes to high-volume giving days such as Giving Tuesday. It can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of the day, but make sure that someone is keeping an eye on your online donation activity and noting any suspicious activity.
Here are two easy ways to spot a potentially fraudulent transaction:
- Look out for small, random donations: Many fraudsters use donation pages as testing grounds for stolen credit cards. They’ll try to make a donation, and if it goes through, they know the card is good to use for large purchases. If you see donations in small, random amounts (think $1.47), it should raise a red flag.
- Compare addresses: If your payment processor comes with an address verification system (AVS), then it will automatically check a donor’s address to see if it matches with the address on file with the credit card company. If they don’t match, the donation process is paused until the discrepancy is resolved.
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.
1. Develop a Strong Post-Giving Tuesday Communications Strategy
Don’t leave your donors hanging once Giving Tuesday’s over! Make sure that you have strong plans in place to follow up with donors and thank them for their contributions.
This strategy should include:
- Acknowledgements and follow-up emails
- Direct mail letters and cards
- Phone calls (when necessary)
- Social media posts
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. Highlight 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, he or she can submit a matching gift request to his/her employer (if the 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.
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 employers’ deadlines for submitting matching gift requests).
Click here to learn more about promoting matching gifts to your supporters, and visit https://doublethedonation.com/giving-tuesday/ to learn more about incorporating employee matching gifts into your Giving Tuesday fundraising.
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. Make Notes About This Year’s Giving Tuesday and Look Ahead to Next Year’s
While you still have a whole year to prepare for Giving Tuesday 2017, it can’t hurt to look back on your strategy from 2016.
Examine your promotion and communications strategies. What worked well and what fell a bit flat?
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 eight pre- and post-Giving Tuesday strategies to help your nonprofit raise more money and acquire more donors.
The preceding is a guest post by Adam Weinger, president, Double the Donation. Adam is blending his corporate experience with nonprofit fundraising. After speaking with a host of nonprofit organizations about the need to access matching gift funds in a cost effective way, Double the Donation was born.