GivingTuesday Best Practices
Did you participate in #GivingTuesday last year? If so, you’re in good company.
#GivingTuesday 2018 saw a 33% increase in donations, growing from $300 million to an impressive $400 million raised. But it wasn’t just the money that benefitted nonprofits and charities across the world.
In fact, #GivingTuesday organizers estimate there were an astounding 14.2 billion social media impressions and over 110 community coalitions, meaning supporters weren’t just giving, they were engaging with organizations online.
With such tremendous growth and increasing public awareness, #GivingTuesday has proven a valuable fundraising opportunity for nonprofits in the US and around the world.
Fiver Children’s Foundation, a comprehensive youth development organization that helps children in underserved communities throughout New York City, raised $42,659 through their GivingTuesday campaign in 2018.
Their ask: “This holiday season, make more Fiver stories possible,” aligned with their organizational mission to empower children to make ethical and healthy decisions, to become engaged citizens and to succeed in school, careers and life.
As the nonprofit world continues to experience an uptick in online fundraising, organizations are finding ways to adapt their fundraising strategies while also reaching an ever-growing list of potential donors. Whether you’ve participated in #GivingTuesday before or are new to the game, consider this day as a way to get in front of new donors through social media and online fundraising.
To help you make the most out of your #GivingTuesday campaign, we’ve put together this list of #GivingTuesday ideas and best practices. By using these tools, you can maximize your reach and meet your financial and engagement goals.
Download your #GivingTuesday planning guide below:
1. Prepare Early
There are a number of ways to use #GivingTuesday to amplify your fundraising results.
For example, #GivingTuesday can:
- Boost the end of your fall campaign
- Kick off your year-end campaign
- Serve as a one-day fundraising sprint for your organization
No matter how you decide to incorporate #GivingTuesday into your fundraising plan, campaigns are only as good as the preparation that goes into them.
We get it. Fall is a hectic time for those of us in the fundraising world, so it’s understandable if #GivingTuesday was an afterthought in years past. But since the support is there, there’s a high chance you’ll get back what you put into this event, and then some!
In surveys from past #GivingTuesday campaigns, many organizations noted they anticipate spending more time preparing for their campaign in future years. Campaign planning is the ideal way to ensure your campaign goals align with your organization’s goals.
To stay ahead of the curve, consider putting some time on your team’s calendar in the upcoming weeks to brainstorm a few ideas for your #GivingTuesday campaign, including:
- Fundraising techniques, such as peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, and special event fundraising
- Potential corporate or major donor gift sponsors/matches.
Next, view CauseVox’s free #GivingTuesday webinar to help wrap your mind around the entire process of planning and implementing a #GivingTuesday campaign.
The time you put into planning now will pay off big time later.
2. Set Goals
In a survey of 2015 #GivingTuesday participants, Impact Lab found 62% of all nonprofits that participated had a fundraising goal, with 44% of them achieving it and 25% of organizations coming close to meeting it.
This data helps prove a valid point: setting a goal drives more donations.
In addition, a goal helps your donors and staff have something to not only work towards but celebrate.
However, Impact Lab also noted that out of the organizations that participated in the survey, 55% only set financial goals, leaving room for growth in the areas of non-financial goals including impact and engagement.
A great example of enhanced goal setting comes from Springfield Education Foundation, who aimed to raise $5000 on #GivingTuesday to benefit 1000 students on #GivingTuesday.
The combination of an impact goal as well as a fundraising goal helped their campaign gain traction throughout their supporter communities, in part because they knew exactly what their funds were accomplishing, but also because the organization made frequent updates on their progress throughout the day on social media, ultimately building momentum for the campaign.
By the end of #GivingTuesday, World Bicycle Relief ended up blowing their impact goal out of the water, raising enough to provide over 1617 bicycles to people in need.
This #GivingTuesday, think about the ways your organization can set SMART goals to give your campaign a more relatable target. Remember, your donors are often more interested in giving for impact as opposed to just giving.
Consider setting any one or more of these goals:
- Awareness: How many people do you want to educate about your cause?
- Donors: How many donors are you looking to get overall? How many new donors are you looking to attract?
- Financial: How much do you want to raise?
- Personal fundraisers: How many individuals are you looking for to raise funds for your cause?
- Impact: How much impact do you want to see from the funds raised? How much money does it take to create this impact?
- Partner: How many partnerships are you looking to build?
- Pledges: How many people do you want to pledge a commitment to the cause?
- Reach: How many impressions do you want your campaign to get on social media?
- Volunteers: How many people do you want to commit as volunteers?
Perhaps not every one of these goals will apply to your campaign, but it’s still important to assess which goals you want to set. Then, move forward building out the plan to meet those goals.
3. Share Stories
It should come as no surprise that storytelling has proven a highly effective way for a nonprofit or charity to inspire their audience on #GivingTuesday.
As a result, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with #GivingTuesday to develop the #MyGivingStory initiative, a space for donors, volunteers, and nonprofit staff to tell the story about why they give. This initiative helps an organization’s supporters find the words and inspiration they need to activate and rally others to get involved.
Why is storytelling often the catalyst for a donor to give? It all stems back to emotions. When we hear a story, we instinctively mirror the emotions of the characters and incorporate our own experience into it, as if it was happening to us.
By telling the story of someone your organization has helped or sharing the reason why a donor is giving, you are putting your audience in their shoes, fostering empathy. This empathy is the inspiration that activates your donors to give.
For #GivingTuesday 2019, think through what stories your nonprofit has to share and how you want to share them with your online audience.
Additionally, take a note from the MyGivingStory initiative, which used user-generated content to open up a dialogue on giving.
Ask your existing donors and social media followers to share why they give to your cause or what activated them to become advocates for your cause. By tapping into the power of your supporters’ stories, you’ll drive further interest and expand the reach of your campaign into new networks.
To further capitalize on your supporters’ stories, give them the opportunity to create their own personal fundraising page, where they can share their own story and fundraise on your behalf on #GivingTuesday.
4. Get A Matching Gift
For instance, a board member may pledge to match all gifts up to $4000 on GivingTuesday. Participating in the challenge and the opportunity to “double the impact” of their donation may spur your supporters to make a gift.
In fact, mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals has been found to increase the response rate by 71% and result in a 51% increase in the average donation amount.
In 2018, the Adult Congenital Heart Association celebrated their most successful GivingTuesday ever by raising $46,750 and surpassing their initial goal of raising $20,000 in 24 hours. Part of their success was due to the Anthony J. Garvy Charitable Lead Trust matching 100% of every donation up to the first $15,000 raised.
5. Make Partnerships
#GivingTuesday isn’t just about soliciting donations from your audience; it’s about drawing attention to your cause and building relationships with current and prospective supporters.
Henry Timms, the founder of #GivingTuesday, noted, “Giving can be transactional, but at its best, giving creates life and shares warmth. Giving is empathy in action.”
Timms is challenging the #GivingTuesday community to think about ‘giving’ as a collaborative effort to create a positive impact on the world. In fact, he’s argued that this collaboration is what’s behind #GivingTuesday’s rapid growth.
In analyzing the results of past #GivingTuesday campaigns, it’s evident that most successful organizations didn’t do it all on their own. They had partners.
One example of the power of these partnerships is from ShareCharlotte, a #GivingTuesday support network created for nonprofits in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. By partnering with large corporations including Google Fiber and Wells Fargo, 230+ nonprofits brought in a record $4.7 million in donations and $1.9 million in volunteer time pledged.
When nonprofits work together using the same media kit, social media hashtags, and share one another’s campaigns online, these actions foster community engagement and give the community something to rally around.
There’s power in numbers, and #GivingTuesday is no exception. This year, consider expanding your partnerships with corporations, local businesses, marketers, and other nonprofits to increase your exposure and build new relationships.
Here are a few ways your organization can partner with others:
- Obtain a matching grant from a corporation that shares the same community values and vision as your own
- Find businesses that support your cause and ask them to leverage their networks for your campaign, donate a portion of sales on #GivingTuesday, or donate their product/space to host an event
- Connect with other nonprofits that have supplemental services to yours and consider running a joint event or a competitive campaign
- Reach out to marketing agencies to donate a certain amount of media for your campaign
- Research influencers or celebrities that care about your cause and ask them to be an advocate
- Develop a relationship with media outlets in varying mediums (print, digital, video, etc.) to get the word out about your campaign
Remember, partnerships don’t have to be monetary. The potential reach you get from tapping into the networks of other nonprofits and businesses can prove invaluable because it fosters a spirit of collaboration. It can open doors for more partnering opportunities down the road.
Building partnerships takes time, but here are a few ways to get the ball rolling before #GivingTuesday rolls around:
- When working with a business, also cater to their employees. Offer opportunities to engage such as by becoming a personal fundraiser.
- When building a partnership, make sure expectations are clear on both sides. The relationship should be two-sided.
- Provide a toolkit for your partners to promote your campaign on social, through email, on their website, and in person. Offer customization to better reach the partner’s audience as needed.
- Follow up with a thank you note after the campaign ends and ask your partners for feedback.
6. Incorporate #GivingTuesday Into Year-End Fundraising
Since 2012, nonprofits have incorporated GivingTuesday into their year-end fundraising and seen amazing results.
Think of GivingTuesday as the launch pad for your larger year-end fundraising campaign. It’s the day you start telling the story you’ll tell for the rest of the season. It’s the first hard ask.
Participate in GivingTuesday with a clear fundraising goal for the day, but keep talking about how that figures into your larger year-end goal. Make it clear that while the first step is definitely launching your fundraising rocket, your goal is to get it to the moon.
For really good results, consider branding your year-end fundraising campaign as an event, with GivingTuesday as its kick-off. Think about “30 Days of Generosity” or “The Christmas Quest” or the “Before the Ball Drops” campaign.
This sends the message, starting with GivingTuesday, that the campaign is about a month long, that you have a big goal, and that rather than a single donation to make, the campaign is a journey to participate in.
In their first GivingTuesday campaign, the Foothill-De Anza Community Colleges Foundation raised $25,434 to support students.
Plan Your #GivingTuesday Campaign
As you can see, #GivingTuesday isn’t just a “Day of Giving.” Nonprofits can also use the movement to foster a giving community focused on impact and relationships.
#GivingTuesday is an opportunity to change the country’s (and the world’s) perception of giving. It proves that philanthropy is about everyday people coming together to inspire positive change.
Yet, without a strategy, an organized effort to make this change is impossible.
So follow these ideas and best practices to ensure you start your #GivingTuesday 2019 campaign planning on the right foot.
Raise More With Less Effort On #GivingTuesday
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Thousands of organizations from small community-service charities and national organizations to global development nonprofits use CauseVox to grow their impact by inspiring, activating, and rallying people to advocate for their cause.
If you’re looking to power your #GivingTuesday campaign, you can get started with CauseVox for free.
This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in 2019.