In less than one week, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be distant memories. It will be time to celebrate a different kind of holiday – #GivingTuesday — on December 2, 2014.
A national celebration of philanthropy that kicks off the giving season, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity for nonprofits to secure critical year-end donations while showcasing the impact they had on clients and communities in 2014. It’s also an opportunity to amplify annual appeal campaigns.
Is your nonprofit ready to maximize the value of #GivingTuesday?
If your nonprofit is eager to participate in #GivingTuesday this year, the first step is registering your cause at GivingTuesday.org. This will give you access to branded imagery and logos to support your online fundraising campaign. After you register, develop a theme for your campaign and the corresponding calls-to-action. Think donate, buy, give, etc.
With the logistical components covered and a rough framework in place, it’s time to identify how you will leverage your existing donor database to heighten the effectiveness of your campaign. Whether you orchestrate a targeted email marketing campaign leading up to the occasion or make personal phone calls to longtime supporters to thank them for their continued support, your existing contacts can play a critical role in executing a successful #GivingTuesday campaign.
An opportunity to foster deeper connections to the cause
The depth of knowledge – and connection – members of your social media communities will have to the cause varies widely. Your online audience likely includes everyone from friends and family of employees to people who clicked through to ‘like’ the cause from a social media marketing ad. Understanding attributes of these key audiences will help to refine your ask, define ‘what’s in it for donors’ and increase conversion. It will also identify opportunities to foster deeper connections to the cause, be it through showcasing client profiles, quantifying impact in unique ways (we once correlated the number of cans recycled to the size of the Eiffel Tower, for example) or strategically dispelling myths and misconceptions about the cause.
A chance to tie holiday shopping to holiday giving
Oftentimes, the thought of doing something impactful to combat a large social issue can be overwhelming. For example, how can one person stop crime globally? Eliminate hunger in urban communities? Halt global warming?
When tackling large, complex social issues it is important to let prospective donors know exactly what type of impact their one donation can have. For example, if your run a job training program and transportation is a barrier to completion for many clients, let donors know that a donation of $X provides one client with transportation to job training for one month. This approach not only helps target audiences relate to the cause, but gives them a sense of pride knowing they made a true impact. It also makes for a great holiday gift – e.g. This Christmas, you provided meals for 10 seniors in need through XYZ organization.
A time to drive action
While #GivingTuesday is designed to help garner year-end donations, it is also an opportunity to engage online audiences in making an impact during the upcoming year. For example, after making a donation, visitors to your site may be redirected to a volunteer signup page. You may also consider asking people to make their #GivingTuesday donation a recurring gift – monthly, quarterly – to sustain their impact. To help spread the word and increase your donor base, consider incorporating calls-to-action such as asking people to invite five friends to ‘like’ the organization’s Facebook page, or a Twitter challenge in which donors ask friends and followers to join them in supporting the cause. If #GivingTuesday coincides with a current advocacy campaign for your organization, you can even use the occasion to secure additional letters to legislators and other key community figures.
Whether your nonprofit is new to #GivingTuesday or already a seasoned veteran, it’s important to conceptualize and execute a campaign that is on-brand, on-mission and on-target. Amidst a sea of worthy causes vying for donations, it’s critical to stand out from the crowd and ensure resources are being allocated to a marketing and development campaign that will generate optimal ROI for the organization.