“#GivingTuesday is not a moment, it’s a movement.” — Cathy Galvin, CEO, UN Foundation, and a member of #GivingTuesday’s Team of Influencers
With Thanksgiving less than a month away, it’s time for people to appreciate all they have—and to share it with others. December 1 is #GivingTuesday, a day devoted to philanthropy. In just four short years #GivingTuesday has evolved from a small grass-roots movement into a global, viral phenomenon. The day offers a great opportunity for your nonprofit to garner donations, gain visibility, and build its donor base. So start mobilizing your forces now to reach your maximum #GivingTuesday potential.
Social media drives #GivingTuesday. In 2014, some 32.7 million Twitter impressions were shared over the course of #GivingTuesday. Your campaign action plans should be geared toward the online community, including Facebook and Twitter posts and targeted email messaging. Your email list is a particularly valuable tool in promoting your campaign. You may have twice or three times as many people on your email list as follow you on social media. So prior to #GivingTuesday, build some buzz through email blasts.
As busy as you are, it’s worth your time to go online and investigate the many tool kits, webinars, and other resources available for nonprofits. Two great places to start are the #GivingTuesday website and Network for Good. They offer fantastic freebies, downloadable logos, and lists of case studies to inspire your own campaign. “Be sure you use the #GivingTuesday logo on your website and social media platforms,” advises Megan Leitheiser, senior consultant, development communications, The Munshine Group. “It will link your campaign to the global cause and give you credibility.”
If you have the resources, develop a simple campaign logo that builds off your own or #GivingTuesday’s logo. Use this logo on your website, your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and all other social media in advance of the campaign. Create a special fund for #GivingTuesday and have a dropdown donate button in place on your website well before December 1.
Even if you actively post on Facebook there is no guarantee that your followers will see your posts. So consider budgeting a small amount of money to run Facebook ads promoting your campaign. “These can be surprisingly affordable—as little as $20 a day,” says Leitheiser. “Track your Facebook posts to see which ones resonate the most with your followers, and reuse them as your ads. You can run the ads in your geographic area or target them to those who already like your Facebook page.”
Build some excitement and spread your #GivingTuesday campaign out over a few days. “The majority of your donors will probably give on Tuesday, but why limit yourself to 24 hours?” says Leitheiser. Spreading out your campaign will also enable you to capture more matching donations, a proven stimulus to charitable giving. Matching donations are key to #GivingTuesday’s success. According to Double the Donation, mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in the response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount. Reach out to your board of directors and local businesses and ask them to match donations. The logos of businesses who match donations can be featured on your website and social media pages. The #Giving Tuesday website offers other strategies to maximize matching donations.
On #GivingTuesday your team should constantly monitor social media to respond to followers. If someone comments or likes a post, comment back to keep that conversation going. It’s how you interact with followers and expand your reach.
Acknowledge donor contributions as quickly as possible. In a recent survey, when researchers made $10 donations to nonprofits and posted about them on social media, 72 percent of the nonprofits took three days to respond to tweets; 92 percent took at least five days or never responded at all to Facebook posts.
These strategies can help you make #GivingTuesday a great success. The Munshine Group employed many of them last year to support a fundraising campaign for the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation, an organization promoting awareness of the history and accomplishments of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) and military construction force, the Seabees. The campaign involved emails, social media posts, and graphics. One particularly effective Facebook post reached more than 22,000 people in just a short time. Seabee followers engaged with the Foundation by posting stories and photos on its Facebook page. In its first foray into #GivingTuesday the Foundation more than quadrupled its reach and surpassed a goal of raising $20,000. Some 24 percent of the donors were new to the organization.
If you have any #GivingTuesday strategies or case studies you’re particularly proud of, share them here.