I’m sure you’ve all heard of #GivingTuesday, the annual giving day that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year it will be on November 27.
Perhaps you’ve participated in the past and it’s been successful, or maybe it wasn’t. Perhaps you’re planning to participate for the first time.
Whether you participate or not, #GivingTuesday is now part of the nonprofit landscape and if you’re doing a year-end appeal, you’ll need to factor it into your campaign.
I’m not a huge fan of #GivingTuesday or any giving days, for that matter, because they focus too much on getting donations. Many of these donors are first-time donors who don’t give again. That may be because they were drawn into whatever gimmicks the organizations were using to get donations and/or the organizations failed to build relationships afterward.
I have a few suggestions to help make #GivingTuesday more successful or how to navigate around it if you’re not participating in it.
Is #GivingTuesday working for you?
If you’ve run a campaign in the past, check to see if people who gave the year before gave again. Go back as far as you can to check retention rates.
Also, who is donating on #GivingTuesday? Are they brand new donors or current donors who choose to donate on that day?
Focus on relationship building
Never miss an opportunity to build relationships, whether you’re reaching out to new donors or following up with current ones. Keep your appeal donor-centered. Thank current donors and find a way to make a connection with potential donors.
I realize the purpose of a fundraising appeal is to ask for donations, but don’t forget to build relationships, too. Again, the problem with most #GivingTuesday appeals is they’re focused too much on getting donations.
Use #GivingTuesday as a way to follow up with your donors
If you don’t want to launch a full #Giving Tuesday campaign (understandable), it can be a great opportunity to follow up with people who haven’t donated to your year-end appeal. You should be doing regular reminders, anyway.
Send email and social media messages before and on #Giving Tuesday encouraging people to donate. You can use the #Giving Tuesday logos, etc. Obviously, you’ll want to keep following up with anyone who didn’t donate on #GivingTuesday.
Keep in mind your donors will be barraged with email and social media messages on #GivingTuesday. Make yours stand out and be prepared to keep following up.
How about #GratitudeTuesday instead?
Maybe you’ll decide to bypass #GivingTuesday all together and make it a day to show some gratitude to your donors.
Remember that your donors may not see your messages that day so send some #donorlove on other days around that time, such as Thanksgiving.
Donors are going to get a lot of appeals from you at year-end so you also want to use this time to communicate in ways in which you’re not asking for money.
Don’t forget to say thank you
Speaking of showing gratitude, your donors should be feeling the love right after they make their donation.
Make sure you have an engaging thank you landing page and thank you email for your online donors. You could even create ones especially for #GivingTuesday. Then you need to follow that with a phone call, handwritten note, or thank you letter.
Send welcome packets to new donors or welcome back messages to current donors.
#GivingTuesday has a transactional feel to it, although it doesn’t need to. Go the extra mile and do a good job of thanking these donors – both right after they’ve made their donation and throughout the year.
How did you do?
When this year’s #GivingTuesday is over, make a plan to measure your results, whether you do a full campaign, a follow-up, or a thank you fest. Was it worth the time and effort?
I think you’ll find that your #GivingTuesday campaign, or any fundraising campaign, will be more successful if you focus on more than just the giving part. And a big part of a successful campaign is getting repeat donations.