‘Tis the season! Strands of colorful lights have started to go up at your local mall, you can hear the strains of Christmas songs in your dentist’s waiting room, and everything suddenly smells like gingerbread. All of your favorite sales accompany that holiday cheer – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday – but on November 28th, the world celebrates a new holiday of sorts: Giving Tuesday.
Okay, so it’s not exactly “new.” This is the 6th year for Giving Tuesday, a day acknowledged around the globe by philanthropic organizations. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving kicks off fundraising campaigns for nonprofits of all sizes. Originally created by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Giving Tuesday has become its own movement. With so many people roused to action and prepared to give back to their communities, how can your nonprofit get noticed and attract donors?
Here are a few tips for Giving Tuesday and the rest of your holiday campaigns:
Play up social media: Bring your A Game to all of your social media channels in the days leading up to Giving Tuesday and beyond. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday in tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts, and be sure your messages are succinct and direct. Talk (briefly!) about all the good your organization has done with its donations in the past year, mention your goals for 2018, and direct potential donors to easy methods of giving. This year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching all donations made on the Facebook platform up to $2 million, so be sure your nonprofit’s Facebook page is up and active!
Make it easy: Make sure there are no barriers to potential donors. Set up an easy to understand link for donations on your website, and enable the feature on your Facebook page. You can also use text-to-give companies, such as GiveLively, to enable donors to contribute via a simple text. If you’re holding in-person events, make sure you’re prepared for donations via credit card; card readers that can be plugged into smartphones, like the Square, are a convenient, inexpensive solution.
A picture’s worth a thousand words: … but a video might be worth even more. 57% of online donors make a gift after watching a video.* Photos, short videos, and detailed, specific stories give your cause a face and create a more personal feel, allowing potential donors to better empathize with the people you’re helping rather than focusing on a larger, more overwhelming cause. With the permission of those you help, share their stories. Videos don’t have to be fancy; you can take decent ones with most phones. Download free editing software if you want to unleash your inner director.
Be mindful of mailers: You can post on Twitter until your fingers bleed, and your impassioned words still might not reach the older demographic. Donors age 67 and up are more responsive to old-fashioned phone calls and mailers,* so don’t discount them altogether, but be sure to do your research. Target the right people with the right message; send mailers to older donors, and keep a database of who responds to which manner of solicitation. Revisit that list next year to make smart choices about snail mail. Between stamps, paper, and printing costs, physical mailers can get expensive. They’re not exactly environmentally friendly, either, so it’s best to minimize their use, if possible.
Make tangible goals: What’s an achievable goal for your end-of-year fundraising? Once you decide on a manageable number, let everyone know. Display a thermometer on your website, social media, and in your offices to let everyone know what you’re working toward, and set mini goals for dates throughout the fundraising period. Keep updating your thermometer to give donors, volunteers, and everyone else a solid idea of where you stand.
Throw a live event: If your budget allows it, put together a year-end event as a final push toward your fundraising goals. Look toward corporate sponsors who might donate their services or products to your event in exchange for promotion. Showcase what you’ve done over the past year, and create excitement around your plans for 2018. Use the event to thank your current donors and volunteers, as well.
30% of annual donations occur in December,* so take advantage of the most wonderful time of the year and start fundraising! And if you need a seasonal break to snack on a gingerbread man and listen to a little Bing Crosby, we won’t tell.
Season’s greetings from all of us at Mockingbird Analytics!