Engaging Support Before, During, and After #GivingTuesday

What is #GivingTuesday? How does #GivingTuesday fit into your development plans? What are the steps to #GivingTuesday success? Here’s what you need to know to engage support, attract attention, and maintain enthusiasm for your #GivingTuesday program.GivingTuesday2016.jpg

What is #Giving Tuesday? Now in its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that helps non profit organizations harness the power of social media, community, and collaboration to attract new donors and increase giving amounts from renewed donors. It is a 24-hour philanthropic marathon that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and builds on the seasonal successes of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. This year, #GivingTuesday is November 29.

Why has #GivingTuesday become so popular? Each year, its reputation has grown. In 2015, nearly a million Facebook users participated, and the #GivingTuesday hashtag received 114 billion Twitter impressions. Nonprofits raised $116 million through the 24-hour event. That’s impressive enough—but consider also that the mean online gift was $107, when we usually think of online gifts as $5 or $10. Matching donations from key partners have also helped organizations see great success.

Is #GivingTuesday right for every organization? This kind of year-over-year momentum has given #GivingTuesday a life of its own, and it can be particularly successful in engaging potential donors who aren’t responding to traditional strategies or aren’t currently connected to your organization. Still, it requires a strong commitment to the use of social media, something that some organizations struggle with.

How should #GivingTuesday fit into your organization’s big picture and plan? #GivingTuesday can open the door to new donors, excite existing donors with new opportunities to give back, and strengthen the culture of philanthropy at your organization. Examine your existing year-end plan and consider how #GivingTuesday can support existing annual fund efforts or campaigns.

What are the roadblocks to engagement? Are you challenged by supporters who don’t contribute regularly? We suggest first examining your current donor base. On #GivingTuesday, your active donors will be leading the effort on your behalf, and your organization may be one of several trying to engage the same donors. You’ll be more successful if you start with a solid donor base, because they can commit to supporting the event and encourage their peers to do the same. You should also determine your internal resources. Is your staff prepared to organize a large outreach effort? Your staff and leadership will be essential to spreading your message and carrying out tasks.

How can staff help to make the day a success? Start by identifying people and assigning tasks. Look to staff to organize volunteers and ambassadors who are eager to help by sharing content and spreading the word. You’ll also need staff to update social media, prepare print materials, and communicate with partners. In addition, you’ll want to develop specific #GivingTuesday landing pages. Be sure that your giving page is mobile-compatible, since many people will move from your social media pages to your website via their smartphones or tablets.

How can #GivingTuesday help us reach new potential donors? Now’s the time to build on your solid base by targeting potential new supporters who aren’t yet engaged. Create a unique hashtag and use it on all of your social media platforms and outreach. Make sure you feature prominent links to your website in your social media posts so your followers can click over to learn more about your mission and what you hope to achieve on #GivingTuesday. Ask your staff and volunteers to post on social media and send out targeted e-mails to their networks. (It is helpful to provide sample language and pictures for this outreach.)

What is the best way to gain attention? You’ll want your messaging to stand out, but make sure it stays true to your organization, so that your messages are recognized by existing supporters. Create specific #GivingTuesday content that communicates who you are and what you are doing but also fits into your overarching communication plan for the department. Illustrate your culture, maybe in the words of your own people. Highlight the value of what you’re doing by promoting stories of success, perhaps with videos of your volunteers and those you impact. Some organizations also feature messages from their leadership and board. Your content should be original, authentic, unique, and relevant.

What is the best approach to stewarding new donors? One of the benefits of #GivingTuesday is gaining new support. We suggest sending personalized thank you notes or emails right after the event ends. Be sure to add all of your new supporters to your database. You’ll also want to send follow-up materials to them with information on your other projects and programs throughout the year. After all, #GivingTuesday isn’t the only thing you do!

Need inspiration? A Toolkit for Nonprofits (now in version 3.0) is available as a companion piece to our Gearing up for #GivingTuesday webinar. Campbell & Company has many examples of successful #GivingTuesday campaigns, too.

About Campbell & Company

Campbell & Company is a national consulting firm offering fundraising, communications, executive search and strategic information services for nonprofit organizations in the education, health and medicine, arts and culture, environment, social service, and professional society fields. 

Through 40 years and thousands of engagements, Campbell & Company has helped nonprofit organizations anticipate and manage the challenges of the philanthropic marketplace. The company maintains offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC.  For more information, please call (877) 957-0000, email info@campbellcompany.com, or visit www.campbellcompany.com.

Nonprofit News

Caitlin Bristow

Caitlin Bristow is a Senior Consultant at Campbell & Company. A leader of our Higher Education practice and alumni engagement work, she partners with nonprofits across sectors to help them build philanthropic support and deepen donor relationships.