Every year when #GivingTuesday rolls around, I see the same thing repeatedly; nonprofits looking for big fundraising payoffs, matching funds from online platforms, and hoping to score significant donations.
Yes, #GivingTuesdaay has become the second-largest day for donations, right behind December 31. However, the misconception is that nonprofits think that “giving” days designated throughout the year are solely to gain funds.
Studying the toolkit provided by the #GivingTuesday organization should be a prerequisite for every nonprofit looking to participate successfully on #GivingTuesday, along with long term planning. Sorry, you can’t just post on social media and expect to be the one who receives the match from Facebook or Paypal. It just doesn’t work that way.
Here’s the link to resources: https://www.givingtuesday.org/organizations
What’s the correct way to approach next year’s #GivingTuesday?
Focus on communicating with existing donors. Every donor who gave to your campaign this year should already have been acknowledged and thanked. If not, why should you expect them to ever donate to your cause in the future? You haven’t let them know the value of their support to your organization. Get that thank you card in the mail today!
Create a stewardship plan that is in force all year long. It’s as simple as staying in close contact with existing donors and letting them feel how much you appreciate and value their contributions. If you do this all year long, they are more likely to make an additional gift to your cause on #GivingTuesday.
Begin building a network of new donors by leveraging your existing donors. Please encourage them to tell your story to other potential donors or ask them for recommendations on who to contact. If someone is donating to your cause and feeling good about it, they are happy to give you information about others who may be interested in joining you.
Connect with other organizations and community partners because, yes, there is power in numbers. Look at businesses and individuals you are associated with regularly and allow them to partner with you on #GivingTuesday. Many of them will do the heavy lifting for you by planning a local event with proceeds donated to your nonprofit on #GivingTuesday. Perhaps they already have a large following on social media or an energetic staff that can push your message out further. Approach them with the reciprocation of telling the world about them in every post you make and referencing from your website for the following year. Who doesn’t want tons of free advertising along with looking like hometown heroes!
Launch your plan NOW.
Examine your database of donors and analyze their giving patterns. Make personal contact with large donors regularly by relating success stories or letting them know the impact their donation made for your cause. Consider investing in donor software to see the results you need.
Appoint a committee or individual to start devising strategies, designing images and graphics, writing copy for website and all social media platforms, updating current information, and constructing your plan. Don’t wait until November and then wonder why you didn’t reach your goals.
Research case studies and other organizations’ success, find out what tipped the scales for them, and incorporate them into your plan. Sign up for newsletters and attend webinars to learn some of the latest success strategies. My favorite resource has been Nonprofit Tech for Good for the best in original and curated content.
Send a consistent email newsletter to everyone associated with your organization; board members, volunteers, donors, and interested parties. Tell your story through consistent blog posts and keep everyone abreast of your successes along with your immediate and long-term needs.
The bottom line is communication with donors, staff, and community is key to any fundraising campaign’s success, and even more so for #GivingTuesday.
Tell your story and share it with others who will perpetuate your message and join you on your mission.
UPDATE: After writing and sharing this article, I found something I felt I needed to include that I ran into on Twitter from Cureo.Com:
A Philanthropic Millionaire’s Rant
“Oh my goodness… don’t get me started! I just received my annual call from these guys — I let it go to voicemail. I give a six figure donation to these guys every year. I don’t need to hear how important their organization is — how I’m one of their largest donors. I’ve already won every award they can give out at their annual meeting.
My question is, where have they been all year? What have they done? Where did they put my money to work? Did they move the needle at all? They never ask me to help in ways that don’t involve a check? I know, I’m not going to volunteer at their race, but I’m sure there are other opportunities for me to help!
And believe me, I have offered a number of times. I’ve asked for more frequent, and more relevant data. Maybe I can make new connections. Maybe I can assemble a volunteer team of some of my super talented staff to riff on a problem or deliver a solution of some kind — in areas of marketing, HR, capital projects, operational expansion — whatever!
I guess I feel disconnected and under-utilized. The information they give me each year is overproduced, one-size-fits-all, glossy paper, professional pictures — you know the routine! How much of my money did they spend to produce that?
The irony is, I might be willing to give them a lot more money if I had a better sense of things — if I were just a little more intimately connected — and if it wasn’t like pulling teeth to pull this stuff out of them!”
The reality is most donors never say anything, they just withdraw their giving and go elsewhere. There are too many organizations who want and need contributions, how are you treating those who are already giving to you?
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