Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday was a designed in response to commercialization in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). This past year, 98 countries participated and over $177,000,000 was raised. The number of organizations participating in Giving Tuesday continues to grow – 34,000 and counting. Due to this growth and increased awareness, I am confident that your Board members, donors and other constituents will want to know how your organization will “get in on the action”.
Now is the time to plan! The Giving Tuesday website, www.givingtuesday.org, offers a wealth of information, including a timeline and toolkits, to help you launch a successful Giving Tuesday campaign. And, if your organization is located in Illinois, be sure to register and participate in, #ILGive. #ILGive is an initiative of Forefront (Illinois’ state association of grantmakers, nonprofits, and advisors to the sector), that raises money for Illinois communities, brings in new donors, and increases awareness about local nonprofits while leveraging the national marketing of #GivingTuesday.
Since they have provided the details, I will simply add a few pointers of my own, which come from lessons learned with clients over the past few years.
Be cohesive in your approach
If your organization does a Holiday appeal, be sure that your Giving Tuesday messaging is consistent with your appeal. For example, if you are sharing a success story about a client in your Holiday appeal, tell a related story in your Giving Tuesday campaign. I have often found that the “simpler the better”. Inspire your donors by sharing one cohesive storyline. And don’t forget to include photos!
Make it personal
Because there is a chance that donors will grow weary of the number of emails, posts and requests they receive in a 24-hour period and may begin ignore requests altogether, try and personalize your emails as much as possible. Include the recipient’s name in the body of the email and utilize a creative subject line.
Giving Tuesday also provides a great opportunity to enlist your Board members and volunteers. Ask them to forward the Giving Tuesday email/link to their contacts and include a personal message about why the organization is important to them. Recipients are more likely to open an email from a friend – and they are more likely to give when there is a personal connection.
Utilize a match
Big or small, the use of a matching gift is inspirational to donors. If you have a donor who is interested in providing a match or challenge for Giving Tuesday, take advantage! Donors love it when their gift goes farther. If you do have a matching or challenge gift, try and keep it as simple as possible. For example, the Smith Foundation will match every dollar raised up to $2,500. A challenge is also a good way to inspire new donors; for example, the Smith Foundation will match all new gifts 2:1, so for every dollar a new donor gives, the Smith Foundation will donate $2.
Watch your timing
While you want to be sure your donors are aware of – and donate on – Giving Tuesday, be strategic. Consider sending an email the week before to let them know Giving Tuesday is just around the corner. When the big day arrives, consider sending two (or three, at most) emails to your constituents. The first could be timed to arrive when people are getting to work or starting their day. The second could be sent in the evening, when people are arriving home or winding down for the day. That said, it is important not to inundate your donors; by sending too many emails, they may simply delete them all.