It’s time to get ready for Giving Tuesday on November 27, 2018. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who usually pre-plans, a few preparations to get a jump on your fundraising plan for Giving Tuesday will pay off.
If somehow you haven’t heard of Giving Tuesday, it’s an annual International Day of Giving event which takes place on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The event started back in 2012, and it mostly happens online, helping to amplify year-end fundraising efforts for non-profits.
And it's growing too - last year, Giving Tuesday saw a significant increase in donations. In 2016, $177 million in online donations occurred on Giving Tuesday. In 2017, the total was $300 million - a 69% increase.
Another way to think about November 27 is as the beginning of your end-of-year fundraising effort. The planning and work that you do with that deadline will help carry you through the whole season, especially if you're a smaller organization with limited resources. It might seem wasteful to expend a lot of energy for a single 24-period - but instead, think of it as the opening day of the larger 'giving season'.
Here are five ways you can get a head start on your Giving Tuesday strategy:
1. Find a story to tell that inspires
“People don’t just give because they’re asked to,” according to CauseVox. “They give because they’re motivated by the story of a friend, a video you post on social media, or the client spotlight in your e-newsletter. Giving is the result of inspiration.”
Think about who you want to inspire. You may want to focus on your online audiences, people on your email list or your social media followers. Who are they? How are they different from your other supporters?
Also, think about what kind of story you can tell. You’ll likely want your end-of-year fundraising to use the same story as your Giving Tuesday campaign - something appropriate for the season that can be heard through the noise.
2. Prep your tech
Make sure that all your online donation pages are working seamlessly. Even better, have someone analyze your fundraising user experience. Too many clicks? Not enough security? Figure it out before November.
You can build your potential Giving Tuesday donor base by growing your email list and your social media following. Make sure that your donation page has a follow-up that goes to donors after they’ve given - a 'thank-you' email, at the very least, an email which offers another way to get involved or shows the impact of the donation is even better.
You might also want your follow-up email to be specific to Giving Tuesday when it happens.
3. Draft a plan
“The best way to plan this day is to think about it as you would any other fundraising campaign,” according to CauseVox. “It’s not just a 24-hour event. Instead, it’s an opportunity for storytelling, donor cultivation, supporter engagement, and a way to build awareness around your organization and mission.”
A plan needs goals based on your organization’s needs - figure out what staff and budget you can allocate to the project, then share your plan with your team. Yes, I know it seems early, but months pass so quickly. You need your team on-board.
4. Use #GivingTuesday resources
GivingTuesday.org offers a lot of resources to help you plan - get on one of their weekly calls or Google+ Hangouts, or check out their blog posts and online tools.
The #GivingTuesday toolkit has ideas, logos, and branding materials, videos, and more. Their blog also regularly shares updated examples of successful fundraising materials from other organizations which participate in the event.
Join the #GivingTuesday campaign as a partner to start receiving updates and information right away.
5. Try something new
A 24-hour campaign is a great place to try something new. Maybe a peer-to-peer fundraiser to expand your donor base? Maybe try telling your story with video? On social media, you could try creating a special #GivingTuesday hashtag, going LIVE on Facebook, or using Instagram Stories. Why not integrate a physical event for extra engagement. How about a walk-a-thon? Giving up a meal?
To come up with novel ideas, hold a brainstorming session - talk to some of your current supporters and solicit ideas from them. Talk to corporate partners, too. Try an idea that's exciting. If it excites you, it has a chance to inspire others.
A version of this post was first published on the Ignite Action blog.