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 3.
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 you’re wondering if it’s best to just skip it.
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’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. The end result is you’ve just spent a lot of time and effort on getting one-time gifts.
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 have a few suggestions to help make #GivingTuesday more successful and 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 chose to donate on that day?
Segment your donors
Many organizations just blast a bunch of generic appeals without taking into account who they’re sending them to. 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 to 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.
Again, the problem with most #GivingTuesday appeals is they’re focused too much on getting donations. Also, the fact that it’s #GivingTuesday may not mean much to your donors. Give them a compelling reason to donate to your organization.
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 #Giving Tuesday 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.
Pour on 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.
#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.
#GivingTuesday is not for us
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. I believe 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.
How did you do?
When this year’s #GivingTuesday is over, make a plan to measure your results. Was it worth the time and effort?
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.