5 Ways to Harness the Awesome Fundraising Potential of #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday is Dec. 2, 2014

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, the Internet exploded with giving.

Millions of Tweets, Facebook posts and photos on Instagram celebrated giving back. Donations spiked – technology provider Blackbaud processed a whopping $19.2 million in online donations, up 90 percent from the previous year.

What was this seismic philanthropic event? Giving Tuesday.

Founded in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back, a compassionate response to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year more than 10,000 organizations worldwide participated in Giving Tuesday.

With its short, intense timeframe, Giving Tuesday is well-suited for social media marketing. In truth, this is likely your best shot at raising funds through social networks this year.

You ready for this?

Giving Tuesday year-over-year donations were way up (2013)

1) Start. Right. Now.

Firing off one email and a tweet won’t get you far on Giving Tuesday. What will? Creating and following a plan.

Begin by registering your nonprofit or cause at the Giving Tuesday website. This site is a treasure trove of advice and resources, including planners, case studies, how-to videos and downloadable graphics. Nonprofits of all sizes and persuasions share their stories here…take advantage of the sharing, and perhaps even connect with a mentor or partner.

Giving is the new black. 2) Set a Goal. Make a Very Specific Ask.

Even if your goal is small, set it and make it public. If you reach the goal early in the day, bump it up. If you’re struggling, use that sense of urgency to your advantage. Urgency works on social, especially Twitter.

Then make the impact crystal clear. For example, this #GivingTuesday, WaterAid is challenging everyday heroes from across the country to help keep 100,000 kids under the age of five alive by giving them the gift of safe water. The UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign will be launching SchoolCycle to provide hundreds of bicycles to girls in Malawi.

3) Offer a Match

Matches work online, and they are particularly effective in limited duration.

Never offered a match? Approach a major donor or foundation that already gives a large gift. Share with them how their gift/funds can go even further, inspiring individual giving and capacity building by recruiting new donors. If you can, name the donor in your fundraising communications, but don’t hesitate to position the match as from an anonymous donor.

4) Plan Your Messages

Break out the calendar and plot your messaging and communications, from email and website to search, social, live events and telemarketing. You don’t want to be doing 100 percent of your messaging on the fly, or you’ll be playing catch up all day, though DO leave room for real-time engagement with supporters throughout the day.

And DON’T go all hard ask. Celebrate and thank donors. Share behind-the-scenes stories. Queue up a new voice, like a client or a customer. Share a thank-you graphic or video.

NOTE: Giving Tuesday messaging runs into Thanksgiving and year-end giving, which for most nonprofits begins in December. While Giving Tuesday can be considered part of your year-end strategy, Giving Tuesday messaging is unique and does not have to fall within the theme of your year-end campaign. When plotting your messages, be sure your year-end and Giving Tuesday messages don’t conflict or compete.

5) Recruit and Empower InfluencersSample instagram captions

This is how successful Giving Tuesday campaigners make a big difference. Waaaaay in advance, they recruit and nurture influencers and cheerleaders who will promote and amplify their Giving Tuesday campaign before, during and after Giving Tuesday.

By influencers I mean your biggest fans on Twitter and Facebook (the people who always like and comment on your posts); the celebrity who loves your cause; or the board member who can pull off the corporate tweet that will explode your reach.

By nurture I mean dedicated conversations and communications, pre-written emails and social messages and graphics, special recognition and access. The Giving Tuesday has samples, such as the Instagram captions for the #unselfie image campaign. Check out this Storify with #unselfie examples. 

So, this Giving Tuesday 2014, are you in? Share your questions, samples and ideas in the comments below.

[Not sure where to start with your Giving Tuesday campaign? I will be leading a special Giving Tuesday webinar for our All-Access Pass Holders on Thursday, October 23rd at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (10:00 a.m. Pacific), and then a Feedback and Fine-Tuning Session on Thursday, November 4th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern (10:00 a.m. Pacific) where I review your Giving Tuesday plans. You must be an All-Access Pass Holder to attend either of these events. Learn more about the All-Access Pass.]

Author: Kerri Karvetski, Online Campaigns and Social Media Adviser

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  • Janice

    Wonder why “Giving Tuesday”? Why make philanthropy a retail transaction. Maybe I don’t understand it enough, but it seems a bit “used car salesman” to me. Don’t our relationships with our donors warrant a bit more personal touch?

    • Lara

      I think #GivingTuesday is a great way to get new donors involved and to create buzz about your organization. The day itself creates excitement and warm fuzzy feelings instead of the stressed out feelings you can get on Black Friday or Cyber Monday trying to get the best deal possible when you are half asleep. The holiday season should be about the giving spirit instead of the best deals you can get at Walmart and #GivingTuesday calls that to the forefront.

      I don’t think it’s a way to engage your ongoing donors and is definitely not a way to engage major donors. But you never know, the $5 #GivingTuesday donor may turn out to one day be a major donor just because of the small action they took that day! It’s not about being a “sleezy car salesman”. It’s about putting the spirit of giving back into the holidays especially after everyone is emotionally drained from the horrible black hole that is Black Friday. :-) Hope that sheds better light on the day!

  • Kristian Hochreiter

    I don’t think it has to be a “used car salesman” approach. The majority of a nonprofit’s social media community may not currently be financial donors. Therefore, Giving Tuesday and other social media campaigns offer the potential to further an organization’s communications reach, and hopefully move these supporters up the engagement ladder (then you can mail them directly, meet them at events, invite them to house parties, give them hugs and thanks).

    In my opinion, it’s much more powerful and accurate to think of social media campaigns within the context and potential of a longer multi-channel relationship.

    –Kristian Hochreiter, MBA (Nonprofit Management)
    Communications & Development

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