In just its fourth year, #GivingTuesday surpassed the 1 million tweet mark before day’s end. Further, Blackbaud reported a 52 percent increase in the donations it processed over 2014. Not to mention the slew of celebrities who engaged with #GivingTuesday through Twitter and other social platforms.
While data shows the #GivingTuesday movement is continuing to gain momentum, there are still lessons to be learned to help nonprofits nationwide achieve even greater success in 2016 and beyond.
Motivate with a match
Who doesn’t want their donation to go further? Whether you have the backing of large corporate partners and consumer brands or a dedicated Board with the resources to help drive higher levels of giving, use a #GivingTuesday donor match to drive timely action.
Be anything but cookie cutter
Donors come in all shapes and sizes – so should your ask(s). If you are going to thank a donor for supporting a specific program, or acknowledge their participation in a specific event, as part of your ask, be sure they supported or participated in what you are referencing. Effective fundraising asks make it personal and #GivingTuesday is no different.
While some nonprofits excelled at making it personal, others fell short pumping out emails that weren’t donor centric. (Related lesson – embrace list segmentation).
To the causes that talked about the number of animals specific donations could help them to feed, to the organizations that honed in on particular programs and to those who provided quantifiable proof of organization impact, kudos to all of you. You gave your donors a healthy sense of ownership, allowed them to feel good about what their donation was accomplishing and deepened their investment in your mission.
While it can be challenging for multi-faceted organizations to identify the program or service on which they will focus during a major fundraising push such as #GivingTuesday, being specific prevents donors from feeling overwhelmed and it also answers the all-important question, “Why should I invest in this cause?”
Don’t call an early stop
Congratulations to the numerous organizations who met their #GivingTuesday fundraising goals. Be it through email marketing, strategic social media pushes, individual donor outreach or a combination of the above, you effectively motivated your stakeholders to take action.
While shouting your success from the rooftops can be tempting, some causes were early to declare victory on social media – “Thank you for helping us meet our goal. We did it!” – announcing their goal had been met before the day was done. Sad but true, to some prospective donors this reads, “They don’t need my help today.”
Achieving your #GivingTuesday goal(s) before the day is done is a happy problem – and one your nonprofit should proactively plan for. Whether you use your initial success to propel a second ask, challenge donors to raise an additional X dollars in the remaining X hours to help your serve another X people, or get creative with a bonus campaign, don’t close the door on donations too soon.
While #GivingTuesday is designed to drive donations during a 24-hour period, effective #GivingTuesday marketing starts well before 12:01a.m. on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Some causes drop their annual appeal letters in advance of Thanksgiving and tee up #GivingTuesday in their letter, while others deploy email marketing campaigns during the weeks leading up to the event. Pre-event marketing is particularly critical if you are looking to inspire a large-scale movement, particularly to ensure key influencers are engaged and ready to roll when the big day comes.
Beyond thanking donors for their support, use #GivingTuesday as the launching pad for a year-long communications campaign that educates donors about how their dollars are put to use and the ongoing impact your organization is having on those it serves. For tips on sustaining your #GivingTuesday momentum, check out our tips here.
While #GivingTuesday 2015 has come and gone, the impact that funds raised by causes around the world will make in 2016 and beyond has yet to come. Bottom line – it’s never too early to start planning for #GivingTuesday 2016.
Public relations is a great way to stay on donors’ radars throughout the year.