Were your inboxes and social feeds overflowing with asks from nonprofits this #GivingTuesday? Ours were. Not surprisingly, Blackbaud reports online giving was up 36% on #GivingTuesday 2014, with 15% more groups receiving donations than last year. For nonprofits who participated in this year’s post-holiday weekend celebration of philanthropy, the question is: how do you maintain the fundraising and marketing momentum beyond #GivingTuesday?
Whether you send hand-written thank you notes, create a targeted e-mail campaign or use social media to show appreciation, thanking those who supported your cause on #GivingTuesday is critical. It’s not only about common courtesy and good manners – it’s about building relationships with individual donors and reinforcing the message that one person can make an impact.
Audit your campaign
Regardless if this was your first #GivingTuesday or your third, there are key takeaways that should be used to inform your fundraising and marketing strategies for next year. Evaluate:
- Which communications channels generated the most engagement?
- Were new or existing donors among the biggest contributors?
- Which calls-to-action had the strongest conversion rates?
For organizations that deployed e-blasts and social media updates throughout the day, it’s also important to consider at which times giving and engagement levels ranked highest.
Once your evaluation is complete, develop a list of action steps for #GivingTuesday 2015. It’s a lot easier to analyze and strategize now than it will be to remember how you wanted to apply these learnings 11months from now.
While #GivingTuesday was a one-day event, the lessons you learned can be applied to fundraising, marketing and communications indefinitely. For example, if donors responded to the way you correlated donations to impact, use that approach moving forward. We saw a number of organizations do a great job of letting people know how smaller donations – think $5, $10, $20 – could make a meaningful and lasting impact. This helped prospective donors to relate to the cause and demonstrated the power one person can have in helping to tackle large challenges.
Perhaps one donor’s tweet was particularly on-point. Maybe you received a note with a donation that struck a chord. Regardless of whether or not the donor is willing to be publicly recognized, these sentiments can be used in appeal letters and other fundraising efforts moving forward. While organizations can craft the most eloquent message telling people why they should give to a particular cause, there is nothing quite like hearing directly from the people who support the cause as to why they choose to lend their support.
Show donations at-work
How is your organization putting funds raised to work in the community? While some causes are naturally more visual than others, sharing photos of what your organization was able to accomplish with donor support is key to relationship building. It’s also a great way to demonstrate the power of community and continue rallying people in support or a common cause. In some instances, your organization may also be able to pitch and secure a media story to showcase these successes. Just think how great that article – or video package – will look in an e-blast to donors that says ‘Look what you accomplished on #GivingTuesday.’
As nonprofits put the finishing touches on their year-end appeals and analyze the impact #GivingTuesday had on their 2014 fundraising efforts, it’s important to maintain a laser focus on the cause and how donors have helped your organization achieve its goals. Whether you’re writing thank you notes, organizing a donor appreciation reception or inviting donors to visit the program they funded, remember to keep the spotlight on how individuals are making – and can continue to make – an impact.