Fundraising tips for when it matters most this year
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become a major holiday of sorts over the past several years. Its defining characteristic? Philanthropy.
Dubbed #GivingTuesday and started by the United Nations Foundation, the annual happening encourages people to open their pocketbooks and support the causes that mean the most to them. Nonprofits, if they’re savvy, are able to raise significant funds each year — and engage with scores of new donors.
Indeed, more than $300 million were raised in 2017, via more than 2 million gifts. The mean gift size was just over $120, according to GivingTuesday.org. The volume on social media is equally impressive: In 2017, #GivingTuesday dominated news feeds across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, garnering more than 1 million mentions. That added up to over 20 billion impressions.
Nonprofits of all stripes participate each year, from human service and health organizations to educational initiatives and animal welfare programs. Despite broad participation, a handful of brands and nonprofits usually emerge each year as the most creative.
For example: In 2017, PayPal integrated Giving Tuesday calls-to-action directly into their product. With just a few clicks, users could donate to one of thousands of charities — and PayPal added 1% to those donations. The result? Some $64 million raised. “This is a 33% increase over donations in 2016, and includes donations originating from 175 different countries,” explained PayPal CEO Dan Schulman.
Another impressive example? The Red Cross, which used the 2017 event not only to raise money, but also encourage volunteering and blood donations. At some chapters, donors simply had to text “Tuesday” to a five-digit number. They then received in-depth donation instructions.
As Giving Tuesday grows, the competition for donors’ dollars only becomes fiercer. So, how can your nonprofit or brand make the most of this year’s #GivingTuesday? Here are three quick tips:
Don’t view Giving Tuesday as a one-day affair. If you’re viewing #GivingTuesday as a mere 24-hour event, you’re missing out. First, remember to spread the word early: “Let your donors in on your #GivingTuesday plans before the big day. Send them an email at least a week out encouraging them to give,” advises GivingTuesday.org.
Also, your #GivingTuesday campaign doesn’t have to exist in a vacuum — you can integrate it with your existing work. Say you’ve built a stellar end-of-year campaign, with custom graphics and impact stories. Add #GivingTuesday branding as an engine to reach an even larger audience.
Find a partner. Nonprofits are the ones receiving donations on #GivingTuesday, but that doesn’t mean commercial brands can’t get involved — just look at PayPal. Consider teaming up with a like-minded business who might match donations or provide marketing support. An animal shelter might partner with a local pet store. Or, a hospital might partner with a nearby pharmacy. The result? More money for a good cause — and positive press for everyone involved.
Use your data. You likely spend all year gathering and analyzing data about your donors — who gives, how much, and what calls-to-action work best. #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to really leverage that data. If you’ve learned that your donors are most active on, say, Facebook, then deploy your #GivingTuesday campaign there. If the mean donation to your organization is $10, then your #GivingTuesday call-to-action should seek donations around $10.
This year’s #GivingTuesday is November 27 — less than a month away. Make sure to make the most of it!