Ten Ways to Stand Out This #GivingTuesday

By susanlienau | October 27, 2016 | Annual Funds, Featured News, Major Gifts, Philanthropy Operations

It is hard to miss #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to encouraging charitable giving across the globe. Last year more than $116,700,000 was raised online from participating organizations in 71 countries. The countdown to this year’s #GivingTuesday, on November 29, 2016, is in full swing, as fundraisers plan how to stand out among the tens of thousands of organizations vying for donors’ dollars in this 24-hour period.

A successful #GivingTuesday campaign requires resources and a strategy to capture donors’ limited attention, and we’ve got ten ideas to help you raise more money:

1. Plan for #GivingTuesday to complement your year-end giving.
2. Identify your target audience.
3. Fill in the gift pyramid.
4. Utilize multi-channel marketing methods.
5. Share you unique story.
6. Schedule outreach.
7. Build a team. 
8. Create matching gift opportunities.
9. Celebrate your success.
10. Don’t forget to thank your donors. 

Whether your organization is participating in #GivingTuesday or has designated its own giving day in the coming months, the tips below will provide guidance as you prepare for your campaign.

1. Plan for #GivingTuesday to complement your year-end giving. Given the timing of #GivingTuesday, consider positioning it as the kick-off for your year-end fundraising campaign. Messaging should explain the significance of #GivingTuesday, while at the same time underscoring the urgency to give before the end of the calendar year. Some donors may wish to use #GivingTuesday as an opportunity to make their annual gift, while others may decide their #GivingTuesday gift will be in addition to their annual giving. The key point to takeaway is that a donor should know that #GivingTuesday is their chance to support your cause before the year ends.

2. Identify your target audience. Define the primary donor pool for your #GivingTuesday campaign. If your goal is to reach multiple constituencies, research giving trends nationally and among your constituents as you determine how to reach each group effectively, along with the most appropriate messaging. For example, you may find that millennials are more responsive to video testimonials on social media, while your boomers have a higher rate of return on email and direct mail. As you learn more about your target audience, you might have to conduct prospect research to secure a major gift for our #GivingTuesday campaign. If you can start the giving day off with a significant chunk of your fundraising goal completed, more donors are likely going to contribute because they want to help reach your goals.

3. Fill in the gift pyramid. Set an attainable fundraising goal for your campaign based on your organization’s giving history and donor capacity. Once you set a goal, build a giving pyramid to reflect the 80/20 rule of all successful campaigns (80% of your funds comes from 20% of your donors). Identify donors at each giving level and create strategies to close gifts at each tier. Not only is the gift pyramid a great way to help you team understand what’s expected of them.

4. Utilize multi-channel marketing methods. Take advantage of email marketing, social media, video, direct mail, and phone calls – sharing a consistent message on all of these channels will keep your donors informed and engaged. Try segmenting your campaigns as donors in different age pools and giving levels require a tailored and personalized message.

5. Share your unique story. Your organization has a unique and motivating story. Now is the time to share the impact of your work with donors to emphasize the need for immediate funding.

6. Schedule outreach. Each email, tweet, post and mailing must be coordinated. Start informing your donors of #GivingTuesday at least 6-8 weeks in advance. As #GivingTuesday approaches, messaging may become more frequent. The day of the campaign, provide your donors with fundraising updates every few hours (without clogging inboxes) and send at least one email that morning and one that evening with a progress update and giving reminder.

7. Build a team. Identify high-level volunteers in your organization and structure a volunteer #GivingTuesday engagement team. These individuals can serve as email or social media ambassadors, callers or letter-writers. Draft emails and social media content for volunteers to send to their personal networks, as well as call scripts, a posting schedule and calendar of any events planned around boosting support. Encourage volunteers to share with their networks their motivation for giving to your organization. Time and time again, studies show that peer-to-peer fundraising is the most effective means of raising funds. Peer-to-peer fundraising can be a great way to drive people to your organization #GivingTuesday. With the help of your existing supporters they can ask their friends and family to donate to your cause.

8. Create matching gift opportunities. Matching gifts encourage additional philanthropic giving. Contact select donors at a major gift level several weeks in advance to request a specific #GivingTuesday matching gift. Once one or more gifts have been confirmed, designate segments throughout the campaign to promote matching gift opportunities. For example, between 10:00am and 2:00pm, John Smith will match all gifts 1:1 up to $25,000.

9. Celebrate Your Success. In the days following #GivingTuesday, share your fundraising success with donors and prospects. Positive messaging will encourage donors to continue to invest in your mission.

10. Do not forget to thank your donors! Place a call, write an email or pen a letter to express your appreciation for your donors’ giving. Your expression of gratitude increases a donor’s likelihood to give again.

Good luck on #GivingTuesday!

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