Our community foundation is hosting its first local giving day in May. How do I leverage this opportunity to raise awareness for my nonprofit’s mission?
Let’s face it – local Giving Days are the best idea to help nonprofits since the Ice Bucket Challenge. Who doesn’t like a 24-hour party where your nonprofit receives all the gifts and someone else handles all of the planning and most of the marketing? SIGN ME UP.
Local Giving Days are urgent by design, almost exclusively online, and are a great way to raise awareness for your organization’s mission. In addition, these days are an outstanding opportunity for smart fundraisers to connect with fellow nonprofit leaders to compare notes and share best practices.
Start early, be consistent and have fun. Here is a list of 8 things you can do to help your nonprofit skyrocket to the top of the next Giving Day’s leaderboard.
- Right now: add a “Save the Date” with link to the Giving Day website to your email signature (for extra credit – ask your colleagues to do the same).
- Tomorrow: add a banner or pop-up to your website with “Save the Date” request for site visitors to share their cell phone number for text message updates throughout the Giving Day. Don’t have fundraising software that lets you text your donors? Check ours out.
- This week: create a series of social media posts with a goal of posting about the Giving Day 2 times/week. Check with the Giving Day host, as many offer very professional templates to help you save time!
- Next week: familiarize yourself with the templates, rules, and special incentives – in many cases, timing is everything. Some local Giving Days allow pledges received up to 14 days in advance to be counted in final donor and dollar totals. You also want to make sure your nonprofit is in the running for any contests, challenges, or special matching gifts throughout the day
- Video, video, video: by now you’ve probably heard of the power of video, even when shot from a cell phone. Use the upcoming Giving Day as an excuse to finally get footage of your organization’s leadership, dedicated volunteers, donors, and staff in action. No idea where to start? Keep it simple and ask everyone who participates the same three questions, like “what do you love most about [organization]?” and “what message do you have for our donors?”.
- Invite two Board Members to serve as your Giving Day Co-Chairs: responsibilities could include sharing video updates throughout the day, hosting a kickoff or wrap-up event at their office or home to keep the giving momentum up throughout the day. (Hint – this is a GREAT role for Board Members with a strong sense of humor or outgoing personality).
- Focus on participation NOT $$: set a realistic goal and provide frequent updates throughout the day.
- Launch a fun challenge: similar to a match, but much more exciting. Think outside the box – for example, if we receive gifts from 100 new donors today, our ED has agreed to close the office at noon on Fridays ALL summer long.
Most importantly, remember that Giving Day is the starting line, not the finish. As soon as you receive the data from the Giving Day platform, upload it to your fundraising software to make sure brand new donors receive your four-part email engagement series and existing donors receive a special thank you for participating in this local event!
Ask a Fundraising Coach is Network for Good’s weekly advice column, where Personal Fundraising Coach Andrea Holthouser tackles your toughest challenges in the world of fundraising, nonprofit management, donor relations, and more.