#GivingTuesday... OH MY! 5 Ways to Make it Better Next Year



The number of emails I had with the #GivingTuesday this morning (Included in that was the e-blast I sent to one of the listservs I manage). While it was exciting to see all these emails from great organizations doing great charitable work, the excitement was fleeting. I wanted to give to all but had neither the time or budget to give to all 25 organizations, so I quickly scrolled through them and - did nothing.

Obviously, this is not the reaction you want when you send out your well-crafted emails to donors. So how do you differentiate your email? All the stories are great and unique and heartwarming. How will yours stand out next year? how will you break through the most popular hashtag - five million impressions by the time #GivingTuesday officially launches?

Here are 5 ideas to consider:

Make Everyday a Giving Day

Of the 25 organizations I received an email from, only 7 send me regular emails. The rest, I forgot about until I saw the emails, then I remembered at one point, I cared enough about their mission to donate some money. I plan to donate to at least 3 of these organizations. The ones I feel have courted me all year long. They have kept me updated about their work by celebrating the achievements of those they serve, not the achievements of their board members. Board members play a critical role in advancing the mission of an organization, but I would like to think that what or who an organization serves is at the heart of the organization and not who sits on their board. When donors give, they want to make life better for someone else. It follows, therefore, that they want to see the impact their dollars have had. A step further would be showing the positive chain reaction caused by changing the life of someone. If you're implementing your programs the right way, great stories are abundant.

Hold Off on Fundraising (during the months and weeks leading to #GivingTuesday)

It's 3 pm on #GivingTuesday and my own fundraiser is on life support. What went wrong? We have raised over $100 000 this year so what is going wrong? The community loves us, our mission is clear, and our story is awesome, so what's going wrong? Donor fatigue. Yes, our donors are fatigued. We have had so much support this year that in the months and weeks leading to #GivingTuesday, we had two or three other online fundraisers going on. We will never know if holding off on these would have definitively helped, but I know that when I give to an organization, I don't expect to give again for the financial year. I might if there's a dire need, but for the most part, I check that box and consider it done! If you are counting on #GivingTuesday to complete your fundraising drive, consider putting any other fundraisers on hold until after. Talk with donors about the opportunity #GivingTuesday provides (donations doubled) and ask that they make their donation then.

I Don't Need to Say This, BUT, Timing IS Everything

It's a cliché I know, but the timing really is everything. Don't suffer "too early, then too late". I started seeing #GivingTuesday back in August. When you start your campaign this early, it is almost impossible to maintain the momentum right through the holidays. Remember donor fatigue? What you can do instead, is start recruiting your team so they are ready to deploy a week before Thanksgiving. Make sure your team is well equipped with the right collateral and know how to set-up the fundraiser. Links should go directly to the giving page and the page should be easy to share across the board. Campaigns that start too early sometimes lean back on doing the intensive work needed leading into the day because they think they have already done the work. By the time they realize that their donors are fatigued, it's too late to come up with a new strategy.

Train Your Donors

This will need a little work up front but will be worth it in the end. Most organizations that rely on donations have a donor or customer relations management tool to help track donors. How about starting your #GivingTuesday planning in January? run reports that show when regular donors give. If you have a loyal donor that gives every June, engage that donor so they give on #GivingTuesday or split their giving to two. While this might be difficult if your organization tracks monthly giving, it will ultimately give you a great year-end result.

Build a Team of "Influencers"

I have spent the last three hours perusing #GivingTuesday campaigns by individuals and one thing stands out - successful campaigns are run by people with social capital. This is unscientific off course, but it makes a lot of sense - people give to people they know. There are those campaigns that manage to catch the national psyche and draw millions of people and donations in, but until yours catches that light, you will have to depend on your circle of influence. Once you reach out to your "influencers" and give them the tools they need to make #GivingTuesday a success, you can rest and relax knowing your year-end giving is on track!

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