The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Creating the perfect campaign for #GivingTuesday

All TUEgether Campaign LogoThe time is…NOW.

With year-end quickly approaching, and #GivingTuesday just ten weeks away, we’re hurtling toward the giving season. It’s that generous time of year that fundraisers count on to be sure that they are well positioned—and well funded—to fulfill their missions for another year.

Now is the time to solidify your #GivingTuesday campaign focus. Whether you are planning to raise money for a project or for general operations, creativity and communications can be the difference between a good and a great campaign.

Break new ground with #GivingTuesday, but don’t forget the basics.

Annual giving is rapidly growing online. And today’s digital donors are the lifeblood of your organization’s success in the long haul.

Traditional year-end annual giving campaigns use personal solicitation, direct mail, email and phone calls to raise unrestricted donations.

The high visibility of #GivingTuesday, combined with some creative thinking about the focus of your campaign, can be a powerful tool for building unrestricted giving also – it just requires a shift in thinking.

Start by structuring a Clear, Compelling Campaign

Great online fundraising is just great fundraising. In a recent e-book, Joe Garecht, the Fundraising Authority, makes this point well:

“Online fundraising mirrors offline fundraising… and in all fundraising, you have to make asks. This means that if you want people to spread the word about your online campaign, you have to ask them to – specifically and concretely.”

Even if you don’t want to fundraise for a specific project, like money to fund 20 instruments for a new school band, it’s still wise to ‘project-ize’ your asks so they resonate with online supporters.

Step One: “Make me feel like I matter.”

Every program and activity in a nonprofit can be reframed as a “project” that contributes to your mission, so donors can understand exactly why you need their support.

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Here are examples of how to reframe your ask into inspiring projects, for different kinds of nonprofits:

  • Direct Service: If you serve 500 people a year with a $1 million budget, frame your annual fund around the $2000 it takes to serve each client. You can also break it down into smaller chunks like funding 3 months of services for $500. Then build a story around an inspiring client that exemplifies your work.
  • Advocacy: As an advocate for a cause, frame your annual fund ask around the number of people you reach each year with your message. So if you are an education advocacy organization trying to improve classroom performance, how many students lives will be changed by the policies you seek to enact? Bring this to life with the story of a student whose attendance rate – and grades – increased because of your work.
  • Arts and Culture: If you are a cultural organization, like a museum or zoo, consider annual fund outreach around how many visitors you have in a year or how much it costs to care for the average animal each day. Build a story about a young artist who found her inspiration after seeing your collection.
  • Place-Based: Urban, environmental, or organizations with a physical campus can structure annual fund asks around the square feet/miles of the area you focus on, or the number of people in your catchment area. One of the most creative campaigns we’ve seen was from Calvin College, who used this approach with great success.

Another effective example: a local clean streams organization serves a series of streams that are five miles long. They need to raise just over $1 million each year. We recommended creating a campaign around providing support for a yard of the stream. The math was easy: $1,100,000/8800 yards = $125 per yard of the stream. This kind of creative thinking repositioned their annual fund for success.

Why frame your outreach this way? Because at its core, your organization is about changing lives, and this needs to be made real and tangible.

In a recent post, Hilborn Consultants said it well “Donors…are feeling and living the giving experience. They want to save lives, make a difference, change the world. Donors give because they care, or have been moved or inspired in some way. How much they give, how often they give, whether they give just once or for the long term mostly comes down to how they feel about your cause and how they feel about the experience they’re having as donors.”

Step Two: Start NOW to build a campaign, not just a one-shot outreach.

So with a strong, inspiring project idea now in the works, it’s time to build your campaign. At their core, every campaign is about moving people to action – getting them to give.

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It takes planning, a strong leader and capable execution to achieve your goals.

But how do you get your campaign going with everything else on your plate? Start at the beginning.

Here are 6 simple steps to get you started.

The Big Six

#1: Set a big goal — Your goal will be one of the most visible anchors of your #GivingTuesday campaign, so make it a motivator. The goal should be big and meaningful enough to get people excited to work hard. If it’s too attainable, it will feel like just another day at the office, and it will be hard to motivate your team.

Your goal will likely include a fundraising target, but it can also include other important metrics:

· Number of donors, number of new donors

· Number of donors that set up a recurring gift (we love this as a focus for #GivingTuesday

· Number of volunteers that participate in an activity

· Participation (for orgs with an alumni base)

#2: Convene a passionate team and active advocates — The most important person on your Giving Day team is the leader, the quarterback of the day, who leads the team from planning to execution to evaluation. Identify the passionate quarterback and then focus on engaging the key thought leaders – and loudest voices – among five key groups:

  • Staff
  • Board
  • Clients, participants, or alumni
  • Volunteers
  • Committed Donors and other potential Ambassadors

Engaged individuals from each of these groups will form the heart of your Giving Day team – and will largely determine your success. Make them insiders. Share your strategy, goals, and make sure they have really internalized the project you have defined. Help them find their passionate voice, so they are as excited to be part of this as you are.

#3: Create a unified, branded theme — In addition to your well-defined project, your #GivingTuesday campaign should stand out from your everyday marketing. At a minimum, tie into #GivingTuesday’s or Network for Good’s branding and marketing tools. Make use of their assets to associate your organization with the campaign, visually and thematically.

Or even better, if you have access to a graphic artist, or a creative streak yourself, create your own branded identity to put on all of your campaign materials, posts, and schwag. Use photoshop or a free tool like Canva.com to incorporate your colors or symbols into a GivingTuesday logo, all your own. Here are some great examples:

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#4: Use your project/theme to create quality content and ‘drip’ it out — To help spread the word and sustain momentum leading up to #GivingTuesday, share your goals and project stories in a weekly “drip.” Create compelling, easy-to-share content for your ambassadors, and keep them engaged with new content each week, on a predictable day. Think tactically about how to include ready-to-use hashtags, Facebook posts and images, tweets, email copy, campaign logo, campaign-related photos, infographics, “Top 10 lists” and links to other engaging content.

#5: Gamify it! — Make the process fun for your ambassadors by creating engaging and rewarding incentives to participate. The most powerful tool on #GivingTuesday is matching funds, but there are other great ways to raise the excitement level – and make donors feel like they are part of something bigger than their own gift.

Special goals like challenges for new donors, most social posts, etc. add a level of engagement. If you have an active client or volunteer base, encourage supporters to set up fundraising teams to compete against each other for the most raised.

Gamification provides fun and engagement, and even more fodder for content creation and social sharing surrounding your #GivingTuesday.

#6 Get your online giving process in shape. When you’ve invested your time and passion into creating, coordinating and communicating your #GivingTuesday campaign, donors will beating down your digital doors. Be sure you make your digital experience welcoming and easy to move through. You don’t want to lose a single donor that reaches your site because they…

• Can’t find your donate button
• Feel it takes too long to donate
• Feel like you are asking for too much information
• Don’t associate your giving page with the campaign

Want some help refining your online donation experience? Reach out to a Network for Good fundraising consultant for more info and a demo of our DonateNow fundraising service.

If you need more strategies for #GivingTuesday preparation, be sure to check out these other resources:

11 Weeks to Go: Launch Your #GivingTuesday Team!

Network for Good’s Complete Giving Days E-Book

Top 10 strategies for a successful giving day [Webinar]


Make this #GivingTuesday your best yet! Kick off your year-end fundraising with our tools, training and matching funds. It doesn’t matter if your organization has 2 staff members or 200, you can raise money on #GivingTuesday and we can help.

Free #GivingTuesday resources are available to all nonprofits through Network for Good’s All TUEgether campaign. Network for Good customers can leverage matching funds for all donations made on December 1, 2015. Plus, customers have access to expert coaching, new donors, and exclusive resources to help plan a stellar #GivingTuesday campaign.

Not a Network for Good customer yet? No problem. Sign up for a demo and find out how easy it is to raise money online. Get ready to have your best giving season ever.

Raise More This Year with Easy-to-Use Fundraising Software that Gets Results

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About This Blog

Lisa Bonanno
Vice President of Digital Marketing

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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Want to raise more money and learn how to market your cause with bigger impact? You’re in the right place! The Nonprofit Marketing Blog is managed by our team of experts here at Network for Good. We’re here to bring you the best in nonprofit marketing trends, fundraising techniques, technology developments, and amazing nonprofit examples.

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