Now that summer is over, the holiday season is fast approaching. For nonprofits, #GivingTuesday has become a “kick off” to the year-end fundraising season. Many organizations want to participate in this highly successful method of raising funds ($168 million raised in 2016), but may not know the best way to create a unique approach, especially looking for one which will help them stand out.
Although there are some established methods being used to promote giving worldwide, this is an opportunity for your organization to start this season armed with options. Here are some suggestions you should consider when preparing your #GivingTuesday marketing plan:
Build Team Excitement for #GivingTuesday
Support for your #GivingTuesday campaign begins within your own organization. Start the fall season off by turning your team’s focus toward this huge event. Make sure everyone has a responsibility, reminding them of the high percentage of donations gathered during this one big event (and continuing through the remainder of the holiday giving season through December 31st). Discuss ambitious goals which raise your organization to the next level, but don’t be over-confident; review your metrics from the previous months and years to determine what you can expect to achieve this time. Consider having a holiday party BEFORE the big campaign. This brings a confident, motivated team to the table when the #GivingTuesday (and year-end) fundraising begins.
Decide on a #GivingTuesday Theme
Although many organizations use this time to raise money, perhaps there are other goals you may have in mind. Are you looking for additional volunteers or do you want to raise overall awareness of your mission? You can create a new campaign theme or repurpose one you have used in the past. Stories speak to people during this “giving” season, so consider ideas like:
- How volunteers are key to the organization’s success;
- Telling a story about the history of the organization, the need that was discovered, and some goals which have been reached so far;
- Explain an upcoming program or large purchase for the nonprofit;
- Get your team together and come up with a catchy phrase.
Announce Your #GivingTuesday Campaign Early
Use email and social media to spread the word about the upcoming date. Emails should be sent the week before, preferably during “peak” time periods, Wednesday and Thursday between 10am and 3pm. Ensure your calls to action are bold and simple, making it obvious for visitors to understand what is going to happen. Why not start your #GivingTuesday early by “opening the doors” ahead of time?
Have a calendar for communications so you can continue to engage your audience; continue to provide content leading up to the launch of your #GivingTuesday campaign. By building a relationship with your followers, you can increase the likelihood of a regular supporter and not just a one-time donation.
Create a Multi-Channel Communication Plan
You likely already understand the value of approaching supporters across multiple channels; use your #GivingTuesday phrase everywhere your organization has a presence, and lead them all to your website and calls to action. Direct mail is still a valuable tool which should not be overlooked. Provide content which fits your audience in each channel (check out this blog on video marketing), so even if you have visitors in multiple locations, the message is similar but the approach is unique.
Use Social Media
This may not be innovative within the context of #GivingTuesday, which may have gained much of its success due to social media sharing, but the power of social media cannot be overlooked (and can be used in unique ways). The heart of sharing in social media today may be found in user-generated content. Supporters (and even beneficiaries) can tell their own stories to spread the message. Invite viewers to your events (to participate or to volunteer), and you can showcase some of the achievements from the current year.
Make Donating Easy—and Mobile
Today’s #GivingTuesday donors are using mobile devices more than ever to support their favorite charities. Make sure your calls to action are clear, represent your campaign, and are ready to accept payments. Donating by text is growing in popularity, spearheaded by large organizations like the Red Cross, and can be successful for short-term or seasonal campaigns like this one. It’s easy for supporters to donate and you have another tool for building a mobile subscriber list. Numbers from MobileCause prove the importance of mobile donations, as the average donation per text is $167, while the average pledge fulfillment rate is 84%. That’s not a bad return!
Never Forget the Thank You’s
It may be tempting to sit back and celebrate your achievements once you have witnessed a successful #GivingTuesday campaign, but with the year-end fundraising season underway, now is not the time to rest! Most importantly, be sure to thank your supporters. For new donors, use this opportunity to strengthen the relationship and information you have about each other, and your established owners appreciate a show of appreciation and recognition for their continued dedication. Look through your lists for new donors, those who increased their donations, and those you may not have heard from in a while. Send messages to your segmented lists, inviting them to participate in your year-end fundraising campaign, and show them what has already been achieved.
These are just a few ideas to help you create a #GivingTuesday campaign you can be proud of…and provides results! Consider how you can excite your organization, devise a communication plan to reach far and wide, and optimize your content and calls to action for mobile use. These tips will help your organization create a plan for a successful #GivingTuesday, which can lead into an even bigger year-end fundraising campaign.