What did you do to assure your donors felt like the heroes they are for making your mission possible? What can you do?
What about thinking about what’s called #GivingTuesday a bit differently?
What if, instead of asking donors to give to you, you decided to use this occasion to give to them?
Embrace Gratitude on Tuesday December 1st!
What if you and your organization do the giving? Are you grateful to your donors for making your mission possible? Show them.
What about using #GivingTuesday as the pièce de résistance of your donor acknowledgment program? Not long ago, in #GivingTuesday – Your Win or Lose Day, I wrote about making this a day to give back to your donors. Rather than ask them to give to you, why don’t you give to them?
I noted that I also like the idea of shining a light on giving “help” and “service” rather than “stuff” or “money.”
I was happy to see three nonprofits who did this, and I want to share these examples with you.
A Different Take on #Giving Tuesday
Let’s begin with an example from JVS in the San Francisco Bay Area, an organization which provides vocational services to help people build skills and find jobs to achieve self-sufficiency. They went the engagement route, listing ways folks can become involved with them other than by giving money. It shows they care about their supporters for more than just their wallets. And it’s a creative way to build stronger relationships that will hopefully lead to increased investment the next time they make an ask.
Giving Thanks on #Giving Tuesday
Here’s an example from Imagine Bus Project in Northern California, which provides experiences in the visual arts for at-risk and adjudicated youth (they used to send an actual bus to low-income schools that was filled with arts supplies and teachers; now it’s more virtual – can’t you just imagine?). They went the pure thank you route, and I bet they blew folks out of the water. In addition, at the end of their email (which I failed to capture on this screen shot) was an invitation to a free event where they’ll have hors d’oeuvres, music and an opportunity to take home some of the children’s art. What a nice way to demonstrate gratitude, and also potentially draw in some folks who may wish to become more invested in the future. [Okay, they threw a little ask in at the end, but it was close to a pure thank you]
In A Time to Ask and a Time to Thank I note that we are approaching the season of Thanksgiving. December 1st comes at the perfect time of year to channel gratitude towards your supporters. It’s a time when many of us take stock of our blessings and tell others why we are thankful to have them in our lives.
Why not seize this opportunity to let your donors know how much they mean to you?
It’s also a great time to consider asking your supporters for things other than money. Show them you care about them for more than their wallets. Appreciate them for being volunteers, advocates and ambassadors. You can even ask for something concrete, like shoes, warm winter coats, new socks, toiletries, kid’s toys or food. People like making direct contributions, and it seems different than their annual monetary gift. So it doesn’t tend to cannibalize your other year-end giving.
An Appeal that’s Not about Money
Here’s one example from DOROT USA, a New York-based social services organization. Last year on #Giving Tuesday they asked for donations of cellphones for seniors. Okay, they did ask for money to buy the phones rather than the goods themselves, but it could have been done without money necessarily changing hands. Or they could have offered the option to either drop a phone off or send a check. It’s still good food for thought.
If you do plan to use this occasion for fundraising, make sure you have a robust gratitude program in place. Don’t make thank you an afterthought. Plan ahead to thank your supporters. Then thank them again. All through the year.
Whatever you do, don’t just stuff your “#GivingTuesday donors into your database, send out automated receipts, smack your lips and count up the results to report to your board. Really, truly make sure these folks feel thanked for having done something selfless and special.
Think about having a #GratitudeTuesday at your nonprofit this year. A day where you turn the tables and, rather than asking for gifts, you give them!
What do you think? If you have examples to share, I’d love to see them!
What are You Doing for Donor Gratitude Season?
Are you ready to respond promptly and personally to the onslaught of gifts you’ll receive this season? If not, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Because your thank you is what sets you up for your next gift. And it’s much cheaper to renew an ongoing donor than recruit a new on. So… get a leg up with my Donor Retention and Gratitude Playbook. It’s a 6-Volume set of Companion Guides to help you put in place a full-blown acknowledgement program and transition your culture to an organization-wide “Attitude of Gratitude.” Get ’em all at a nice discount – almost a third less than buying them separately — or just get the ones you need. You’ll find them all well worth your while. If not, I’ll make a donation to your nonprofit – with deep gratitude for all you do to make our world a better place.