And the answer is, it depends!
Giving Tuesday raised over $168 million last year for over 20,000 non-profits. Not every participating non-profit garnered a huge amount of donations, but there’s more to be had than just dollars on Giving Tuesday.
There’s a lot to consider when a non-profit looks at participating in Giving Tuesday. Commitment and time are two driving forces that can make or break a successful campaign. You need to determine if you and your staff have the time to develop and implement a plan to capitalize on Giving Tuesday. The good news is that it is not too late for you to get the wheels in motion to make Giving Tuesday a part of your plan for this year.
First, make sure your non-profit is registered with the Giving Tuesday website, www.givingtuesday.org. The website has tool kits and resources to help non-profits of any size.
Second, look at the channels you are using. Giving Tuesday really is all about using social media. If your non-profit is not already in the social media sphere, this probably isn’t the time for you to jump-in with expectations of solving all your funding shortages. However, you could still join in the festivities and gain exposure, acquisition of new email addresses and an introduction to potential donors.
Some organizations use Giving Tuesday as a time to show their gratitude for the support they’ve had through the year. Posting online thanks is a great way to participate and give your supporters some well deserved attention (donor love). Use this tactic if you don’t have a lot of time or resources to put in your Giving Tuesday efforts.
Non-profits that already have vibrant social media programs should take time now to plan-out their Giving Tuesday campaign. One suggestion would be to have a specific giving opportunity rather than focusing on everything your non-profit does. For example, a rescue mission might do an ask for blankets since the winter season is at hand. Every part of the campaign would be laser focused on this one “need”. Start by making the need known through your social media outlets before Giving Tuesday. You should be doing a series of emails and tweets, not just a singular email or tweet. Even your landing page would center around this particular ask.
Speaking of landing pages, make sure that everything online is branded and easy to navigate. That “Donate” button should be easy to see and should match the ask that you are doing for the day. Also, if your system allows, a warm automatic thank you should be generated for every donation made.
The day after Giving Tuesday, send an email update letting everyone know exactly what they did. Going back to the rescue mission example, send out an email that tells how many blankets were provided by the generous donors and the number of people helped by the donations. The difference made by the gifts.
Make sure that you keep information on all the new donors as a separate segmented file so you can send them a welcome packet or at the least a welcome letter/email. And, don’t forget to send another thank you using traditional mail.
Another idea to consider is to use a match. Perhaps your board or a major donor would offer a dollar for dollar match for gifts given that day. Matches are effective when used with a time limit such as Giving Tuesday.
The temptation will be to be only about “asking” on Giving Tuesday, but don’t give in! Use this as an opportunity to share stories, give gratitude and perhaps even focus on a few donor stories.
If your non-profit has never participated in Giving Tuesday I hope these suggestions will help you decide if Giving Tuesday should be a part of your plans this year.
Please drop me a note and let me know how your non-profit participated and your results for Giving Tuesday.