Giving Tuesday. What’s it all about? Read about the origins here. It’s one of those things that sounds good on paper, but in actual implementation it can be less than ideal. Why? Because it comes right smack dab in the middle of most folks annual campaigns. So there’s often little time to do it right. And it can cannibalize other fundraising efforts.
Last year I chimed in with Michael Rosen who wrote there is No real evidence of #GivingTuesday success. The skeptic in me wonders if philanthropy can be forced or button-holed into a specific day. Sure, there’s anecdotal evidence that it’s good for this or that charity, but nothing showing that it caused people to give more money overall during the period. I do wonder if #GivingTuesday encourages token, one-time transactions or small gifts that might have become larger gifts if solicited another way. We keep trying these universal marketing initiatives on for size (“National Philanthropy Day” and “Leave a Legacy” come to mind), yet I’ve seen no evidence that these efforts are directly responsible for more philanthropy flowing to individual nonprofits.
That being said, it’s a nice idea to find opportunities to give back to our supporters. I like using #GivingTuesday for that purpose. We ask our donors to give a lot. We don’t thank them enough. I also like the idea of shining a light on giving “help” and “service” rather than “stuff” or “money.”
Still… there’s a lot of pressure to jump on the #GivingTuesday bandwagon. It comes from board members, volunteers and others who say “Gee, I see so-and-so is doing a big splash for Giving Tuesday. What are we going to do?”
So… if you feel so compelled, at least figure out a way to make the most of it.
Expert Advice on Taking Advantage of #GivingTuesday comes from the folks at Double Donation. More than 30 experts weigh in on how to prepare for a successful #GivingTuesday campaign. Again, I don’t happen to be a proponent of Giving Tuesday for every nonprofit, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you if you know going in what you hope to get out of it and set realistic objectives that don’t confuse your donors or cannibalize other fundraising efforts. If you’re going to do it, read the expert advice and put in place a strategic plan.
And, whatever you do, make sure you incorporate follow up with participants into your plan. All fundraising and marketing initiatives should be seen as a part of an overall strategy of building relationships. It’s something you keep moving forward at all times.
For this reason, I like using the day for gratitude. Why does the giving have to be on the donor’s end? Why not consider it a day to give back to your donors? I can imagine a whole day dedicated to simply delighting your donors and letting your philanthropists know how awesome they are. #Giving Tuesday could be like Mother’s or Father’s Day, only for Donor’s. Give them their moment. Give them the high one gets from having made other lives glad.
Or you can do a combination of give and get. I’ll show you an example in my next post.
Meanwhile if you’re doing anything awesome for #GivingTuesday, please share. Maybe I’ll share your example too!
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When folks respond to your #GivingTuesday call to action, be sure you already have a plan in place to thank them. Get 48 Hours: Your Donor Acknowledgment Solution Kit. It’s your key to getting your next gift — and many more. Giving Tuesday initiatives are likely to bring in new supporters and small dollar amounts. If you don’t have a thoughtful, strategic donor acknowledgment plan in place you can expect to lose 7 out of 10 of these new donors before this time next year. All the energy you’ve put into this year’s campaign will be squandered. Don’t let that happen. Get the cure here! As with all Clairification products, this one comes with a no-question-asked money-back guarantee. So, what do you have to lose? To your success!
Totally agree, Claire! Just three years in and I already have GivingTuesday fatigue! The only way we’ve been able to make this work is to tuck our GivingTuesday work into our total plan for our fall campaign – so we create a GivingTuesday challenge, but focused very specifically on a targeted ask for a very specific project – and then we just use that day for one of the scheduled email blasts we would have done during our fall campaign anyway. We engage leadership donors in advance of GivingTuesday, inviting them to build the challenge amount to encourage the rest of our network to give that day. And Board members do like the very targeted day to reach out to their donors and new contacts. And then we make sure the follow-up and ongoing stewardship is crisp and targeted as well. Thank you for these insights – because the fact that GivingTuesday literally falls smack in the middle of our fall campaign means we have to deal with it – whether we like it or not!
Thanks for this perspective Julia. I think you’re doing the right thing. Just use it as one more piece of leverage, and another way to create urgency as to why donors must give NOW. If you’re able to secure a #GivingTuesday challenge (as you have done) that’s one of the best ways I know to integrate this “holiday” into your overall year-end campaign and offer an additional incentive for giving immediately.
Thanks so much Ann!