How Are You Making #GivingTuesday Uniquely YOU?

November 18, 2020

It’s that time of year again.

The time when #GivingTuesday is just around the bend. The time when my inbox looks like this once again.

The time when nonprofits, many of whom I haven’t heard from all year long, begin their relentless email assault.

But my mom said it to me. I said it to my kids. And you probably heard it from your mom. “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?”

Listen, I don’t mean to be the lone #GivingTuesday curmudgeon. After all, it’s a beautiful concept, one meant to combat the relentless consumerism of our culture. And I know that many of you have done quite well in raising money on #GivingTuesday. But I know lots more who have been disappointed in their #GivingTuesday results. Especially when you think about the time and effort involved.

It’s time that would be better spent building your own “lifetime donor attraction systems.”

So, before you jump into the fray, consider that #GivingTuesday may not be for everyone. Before you make a decision to participate, make a plan.

First things first. What does your organization’s donate page look like? Is it super easy for your donors to give online on all devices? Test it out. Test it on desktop. Test it on mobile.

What do your donor thank you processes look like? As nonprofits experience increasing success with digital fundraising, there’s a tendency to abandon direct mail. Don’t. You’ll always have your greatest success with a multi-channel approach. So consider how you’ll be thanking your #GivingTuesday donors. If you missed it the first time around, here’s a quick training.

Then what? Your nonprofit is unique, your donors are one of a kind. Make #GivingTuesday uniquely yours. Here are just a few of the ways my readers and students made #GivingTuesday special for their donors.

Annual Giving Coordinator, Nikki wrote:

“This giving Tuesday, instead of asking our donors for money we did a giving Tuesday thank-a-thon. We had people all across our 6 bases making phone calls to donors to thank them for their support and commitment to our cause. It was a great day and people really liked it.”

Associate Director, Kathleen approached GivingTuesday with a novel take:

“We went a different route this year and decided to ask our supporters to take our first general supporter survey on Giving Tuesday. We framed it as “giving a minute (or less)” of your time to help us plan for 2019. So far, we have 110 responses and I plan to keep promoting it through December, both in our e-newsletter and as a P.S. in a few fundraising emails we’ll send out. I’ll also plug it on a FB a couple more times. It’s been super fun to see everyone’s responses roll in, especially in the one more open-ended question we included. Lots of good ideas in there. I think we’re going to learn a lot from it.

Interestingly, we still had quite a few donations on Giving Tuesday despite not having any campaign focusing on fundraising. The one year we did try to promote Giving Tuesday more heavily among our supporters, we got complaints so, for us, it’s not a big focus.”

And Amy wrote in:

“Like you, I am not a fan of GivingTuesday – I feel like it takes valuable energy and time from the rest of the year-end giving season and gives donors a shot of fatigue right when the giving season begins..

But I decided to do it this year. I’m the AD for individual giving at an environmental nonprofit in Philly that has a Wildlife Clinic. The Clinic had to close earlier in the year due to a layoff, but we hired a new rehabber and just reopened in November, so I used GT as the day to publicly announce that and set up a fundraiser with a modest goal for something super specific: an oxygen concentrator (for wildlife suffering from shock). We boosted the post and to my surprise, we surpassed our goal. And it appears that most of our donors weren’t already in our database.

We didn’t raise 20K, but we were able to leverage the day to make an important announcement and raise money for something tangible. I can’t help but envy places like Woodstock Sanctuary who do a whole live-streamed day, etc. But I also accept our small-shop limitations and have decided to count this as a success.

I’m glad that I didn’t send any email. Not sure if I “broke the rules” but I wanted to stay super focused on Facebook and not clog anyone’s inboxes, knowing our loyal donors would want to give via mail in December.

When I started my job at this nonprofit, no one knew what donor love was. You’ve really given me the tools to push that through our communications. Thank you!”

Director of Operations & Programs, Caitlyn said:

“We don’t participate in GivingTuesday — too much noise! Instead, we use the month of November to send weekly emails with a reminder of something our supporters helped us accomplish this year, and then we do a “Thank-a-thon” right before Thanksgiving. Donors who we have phone numbers for get a message from a staff member dropped into their voicemail box thanking them for their support and providing our phone number if they’d like to call us back. If we don’t have their phone number, we send them a hand-written thank you note. If we don’t have their address, they get an email.

Kirsten set this system up, and I think it’s genius :)”

I would agree, Caitlyn.

And, of course, there’s my favorite and preferred way to optimize #GivingTuesday. With a well-executed multi-channel year-end end fundraising campaign. One that incorporates a #GivingTuesday gratitude focus.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Max Harris November 20, 2020 at 2:54 pm

And there’s always / for sending handwritten cards! Contact us at the website if you need any help with our personalized, mailed campaigns – creating a custom cover, automating etc. Happy Holidays!

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