I imagine most of you are familiar with #GivingTuesday, the annual giving day that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year it will be on December 1.
I don’t need to remind you the world is in a very different place than it was last year at this time. You can’t run the same type of #GivingTuesday campaign you’ve run in the past. What I mean is just blasting a bunch of generic appeals that resemble Black Friday ads or those relentless requests for political donations.
Perhaps you’re one of the few organizations that sent more personalized appeals. If so, kudos to you because that’s what everyone needs to do this year. I think this can happen because I did see more personalized, nuanced appeals during #GivingTuesdayNow in the spring.
I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should participate in #GivingTuesday. 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. Maybe it’s just too hard to do right now.
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.
Here a few things to keep in mind for #GivingTuesday 2020.
People want to give if they can
Your donors want to give if they can. That means you should be fundraising. Many people give at year-end so it’s a good idea to run some type of campaign, even if you don’t participate in #GivingTuesday.
As I’ve mentioned many times, you can’t raise money if you don’t ask.
Just because it’s #Giving Tuesday isn’t compelling enough
I’ve seen so many emails that say donate because it’s #GivingTuesday. Many donors don’t care if it’s #GivingTuesday or it’s your “annual appeal.” That’s often not why they donate. They give because they care about your cause and want to help make a difference.
It’s not just about the money either
A successful #GivingTuesday campaign is about more than just raising a lot of money. You also want to build relationships and make your donors feel good about supporting your organization. This is where it often falls short.
I haven’t been 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. The end result is you’ve just spent a lot of time and effort on getting one-time gifts. That’s not what you want right now. You need donors who will support you for many years.
You must address the current situations
Your appeals need to address how the pandemic and economic downturn are affecting your clients/community. Don’t send generic appeals that are basically begging for donations.
Segmentation is crucial
Speaking of generic, many organizations send the same appeals to everyone. Don’t do that.
If someone donated last year on #GivingTuesday, this is the perfect opportunity to thank them for that gift and ask them to donate again this year. If they donated two weeks ago, maybe they shouldn’t get an appeal right now.
Also, if you’re sending an appeal to your monthly donors, recognize them as monthly donors. They can either upgrade or give an additional gift. They get their own thank you, too.
Focus on relationship building
Now that you’ve segmented your donors, you can do a better job of building those important relationships. Keep your appeal donor-centered. Thank current donors and find a way to make a connection with potential donors.
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 sending regular reminders, anyway.
Send email and social media messages before and on #Giving Tuesday encouraging people to donate. You can use the #GivingTuesday logos, etc. if you’d like. 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.
Next comes the 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. That’s also very important now.
#GivingTuesday has had 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.
We want to skip #GivingTuesday
Maybe you’ll decide to bypass #GivingTuesday all together. Keep in mind other organizations will be participating and your messages will be competing with the onslaught of #GivingTuesday appeals.
You have an opportunity to stand out here by keeping your fundraising campaign focused on gratitude and relationship building. Year-end is a good time to ramp up your donor communication (examples include thank you messages, holiday greetings, and updates) so people don’t think you’re only asking them for money.
Give back to your donors
I think you’ll find 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. This means giving back to your donors, as well.
More on #GivingTuesday.