GivingTuesday, which takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, has become a global day of collective generosity. While not all organizations see huge success on GivingTuesday, participation in the day of giving can be a great way to raise awareness and gather support for your cause. And taking a few extra steps to get more people involved in your efforts can make a world of difference.
GivingTuesday relies on the power of people. Rather than leaning on the donations and support of a handful of high-wealth individuals, the philosophy behind this global day of giving is that as many people make smaller gifts, the impact can be exponential. The more people supporting your fundraising efforts on GivingTuesday, the better.
For more about acquiring a good donor base, read our eGuide, How to Find Your First 100 Donors.
Beyond the donations, GivingTuesday also gives you an opportunity to invite people who love your organization and your cause to become ambassadors.
1. Plan Early
Ideally, by July or August, you are thinking about your plans for calendar year-end fundraising.
If this time of year is the beginning of your fiscal year, the months between July and December are critical for setting yourself up for success throughout your fiscal year. If you operate on a fiscal year that aligns with the calendar year, you may be feeling great pressure to hit your targeted budget goals by the end of the year.
Either way, you want to be thinking and talking about GivingTuesday!
2. Identify Your Goal
The first step in planning for GivingTuesday is to identify your goal. Many organizations find success when:
- Their fundraising goal is tied to a specific project or program.
- They can articulate what impact the money raised has on the people or beneficiaries they serve. For example, $10,000 may help a nonprofit launch a new after-school reading program for children not reading at grade level.
- They ask for a specific dollar amount from donors and can easily state the impact of that specific amount. For example, $25 may help an organization feed a family of four for a week.
Making these decisions early will help you plan effectively and decide who you’ll ask to get involved and what you’ll want them to do.
3. Invite Lead Gifts
Do you have a loyal donor who would be willing to offer a challenge to your community? Invite them to leverage their gift to have an even greater impact. When that donor offers to match the smaller gifts of other community members, their impact is doubled, too! And many donors are more likely to give if their dollar will be doubled.
4. Empower Ambassadors
If you have a group of dedicated supporters like volunteers, donors, or program participants, ask them to get involved with planning and implementing GivingTuesday by:
- Providing your key stakeholders with collateral materials they can easily share with their networks.
- Creating social media content with photos that they can easily share on their platforms.
- Sending them an email template they can send to their family and friends.
- Setting up peer-to-peer campaigns for them to create their own fundraising goal and an online giving page to garner their friends’ support.
- Ask a handful of supporters (perhaps board members) to host a small gathering in their homes or offices to personally invite their friends and colleagues to support your organization. These can be as simple as doughnuts before work, a cocktail happy hour after work, or an extended lunchtime to hear about the incredible work being done by your organization.
5. Hit the Ground Running and Stay on Track
Often, the first gift is the most difficult. If someone sees a $10,000 goal with no progress, they will be hesitant to give. No one wants to be first and people are more likely to give if they believe you’ll reach your goal.
Think about how you will maintain giving momentum:
- Recruit a group of early donors, midday donors, and evening donors ahead of time so that you will not see too much of a lull in giving.
- Share progress throughout the day on social media and give progress updates via email or text message.
- “Go live” a few times during the day to help your followers better understand the impact of your work and the power of their donations.
6. Take it Live – But Keep it Simple!
GivingTuesday relies heavily on the power of an online social media campaign – but it doesn’t have to stay online. Consider holding a simple public event that isn’t too labor intensive.
- Host an open house with simple refreshments like hot chocolate and cookies or muffins.
- Conduct a “street campaign” by distributing postcards or flyers with a QR code leading to your donation page.
- Ask local businesses to host a profit-sharing fundraiser with a percentage of proceeds on GivingTuesday going to your organization. Be sure to ask volunteer crews to staff a table during those hours.
- Ask a local coffee shop or bakery to offer a free treat, like a cup of coffee or a cookie, to anyone who shows a donation receipt.
7. Send Thank You’s Early and Often
Ask volunteers or program participants to create thank you teams to mobilize on GivingTuesday. As donations come in, send a thank you video or make a thank you phone call as quickly as possible.
In between phone calls or videos, volunteers can write handwritten thank you notes to be sent in the mail quickly. This way you can ensure donors feel appreciated and know that their donation will make an impact.
Many donors are so touched by the immediate personal response that they share it with others, who also make gifts. Sometimes the donor even gives an additional gift after receiving the thank you!
8. Wrap it Up!
At the end of the day (or first thing the next morning), celebrate! Let everyone know via email, text message and social media posts how much was raised and the difference it will make. Thank your volunteers and celebrate the generosity of your community. Don’t leave people hanging.
Published: August 4, 2022