Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that has grown into the world’s biggest giving movement and gets bigger every year. Donors in the United States gave a whopping $2.47 billion to nonprofits on Giving Tuesday in 2020, up 25% from the year before. And that was during the pandemic!
Sadly, some nonprofits don’t see Giving Tuesday for the opportunity it is. They show up the day of, make a weak social media post or two, and then get frustrated when they get only a trickle of donations. And there’s one big reason – they have no plan.
That planning must include a specific goal focused on a solvable problem. And your messaging must be clear and inspiring.
Remember that lots of other nonprofits are raising money on the same day. Your challenge is to break through the noise, like a clear bell ringing above the commotion. And you do that by sticking with a consistent, compelling message that you share early and often.
So, how can your small nonprofit make the most of Giving Tuesday this year?
Let me share the strategies we have seen work wonders over and over again. It’s not hard, and anyone can do it.
Over the past few years, I’ve helped dozens of small nonprofits create successful Giving Tuesday campaigns that raise money for everything from scholarships to Girl Scout camp to new stables for rescued horses.
Step One in Giving Tuesday is to start early to plan it out, about 6 to 8 weeks before the big day. That gives you enough time to think things through and dig into the details of your campaign.
Here are five things you need to figure out:
A specific goal: The best Giving Tuesday campaigns focus on solvable problems. You don’t just want a random financial target pulled from the sky, you need a real number to pay for real things your organization needs. Instead of asking people to help you reach your arbitrary goal of $10,000, tell them that for $77.80, they can sponsor a child in your program for a year and you have 150 kids who need to be sponsored. A Core Number is always a good idea in an ask!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a larger gift than you might at other times during the year. People tend to give bigger gifts on Giving Tuesday, especially when that gift will help change a life.
You need a graphic to use in social media and in email marketing to visually represent your Giving Tuesday campaign. Create a graphic you love, because you are going to be using it everywhere!
While you can find official Giving Tuesday images at GivingTuesday.org, I recommend that you create and use your own. YOUR photo of a dog in your care is way more compelling than the blue and red Giving Tuesday stock image that dozens of nonprofits are using.
On your graphic, share how the donors’ money will make a difference. Use smart design – sharp photos, not too many words, etc. If you’re not a designer, this is a great time to ask a volunteer for help. Here’s an example of a great graphic for a Giving Tuesday campaign:
A team of ambassadors: Roundup some people who can help you spread the word about your Giving Tuesday campaign. Enlist the most enthusiastic supporters of your organization to champion your Giving Tuesday campaign: Board members, donors, friends, volunteers, even your own family!
Think about the people who really love your organization’s work and always want to help. All they’ll need to do is forward your emails to their friends and share your social media posts on their own personal accounts. A few key people with LOTS of connections can help you reach dozens or hundreds of new potential supporters for your cause.
Campaigns with matching gifts ALWAYS raise more money than those with no match. And when you start your planning early, you have time to identify and approach a donor who knows your work well for a large matching gift of $5,000, $10,000 or more. The donor can be an individual donor, a family, a business, a foundation, or members of the Board. You might be intimidated to ask for such a large gift, but your donors will be flattered and excited for their gift to get stretched even further.
Matching gifts are very motivational for donors. When you tell someone, “Your gift will be doubled,” people tend to give more. It really is that simple.
A Giving Tuesday donation page. Create a unique donation page on your website just for your Giving Tuesday campaign so you can repeat your Ask on the page. This helps people know they’re in the right place. Add a short description of what you’re raising money for, photos or video of your organization in action, and a donation form where the Ask amounts reflect what you have on your graphic. Also create a thank-you page that people land on after they donate so they will be immediately thanked for their gift.
Go ahead and write the thank-you email that automatically goes out when people give. Both the thank-you page, and the automatic email need to reference the Giving Tuesday campaign so that everything is tied together.
Finally, test everything before you launch your campaign to make sure it’s working correctly!
Once you nail down all these details, map out when you’ll send out emails and post on social media, putting it all in a Giving Tuesday plan. Then share it with your Board, staff, key volunteers, and your campaign ambassadors. That way, they can understand what the campaign is about and refer back to it again later if needed.
YOU can refer to it as you write campaign emails and social media posts, and hopefully making your work a little easier.
In short, Giving Tuesday is an important part of a smart year-end fundraising strategy and a terrific opportunity to communicate with your supporters, sharing the story of what your nonprofit does and why funds are needed. It’s a time to gain new donors and spread the word about your cause.
If you plan your campaign well, you will raise money. By planning ahead, asking people to give to something specific and something that matters, you’ll get results. It’s those results that make it possible to change more lives. And that’s what matters.
Sandy shows founders and leaders of small nonprofits how to fully fund their big vision so they can spend their time changing lives instead of worrying about money. She has helped dozens of small nonprofits go from “nickel-and-dime fundraising” to mastering donor-based fundraising, inspiring their donors to give often and give big. Learn how to raise the money you need to fund your new nonprofit without begging, doing without, or paying out of your own pocket.
Click here to learn more about Get Fully Funded.
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