By: Keisha Hartman
For the past six years, the Tuesday following U.S. Thanksgiving is #GivingTuesday.
Last year alone, Giving Tuesday raised a record $247 million with over 150 countries represented. The success and evolution of Giving Tuesday has changed the way organizations integrate giving days into their overall fundraising campaigns.
Before you start to send email appeals and solicit supporters through social media, you have to lay the groundwork. The sooner you iron out the details of your giving day campaign, the easier it will be to plan your promotions and communications.
Make sure to also download our PDF Giving Day Checklist HERE!
WHAT IS A GIVING DAY?
Giving days allow people from all over the world to rally together for 24 hours to raise awareness and crucial funds for causes they are passionate about. It is a chance for organizations to tell their story while creating a sense of urgency for volunteers, supporters, and donors to get involved.
While #GivingTuesday is the most popular giving day, there are many local, state, and national initiatives to build campaigns upon. You can also choose to run a stand-alone giving day specific to your organization.
WHY PARTICIPATE IN A GIVING DAY?
Giving days are an “all hands on deck” day, leveraging your team’s efforts by capitalizing on the energy, publicity, and branding of a bigger campaign. Besides raising money, here are four main reasons your efforts are worth it:
- It incorporates your organization into a greater community
- It’s a great jump-start for your next fundraising campaign
- You can easily discover, and connect with, like-minded organizations
- It’s an opportunity to acquire new donors and reach a new audience
HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN:
Whether you’re participating in a major giving day like #GivingTuesday or creating your own, it is important to plan out the campaign in order to make the biggest impact. Here are some best practices to run a successful giving day:
- Set Goals
Set clear, realistic goals that align with your overall strategy and can be measured for success. The money raised from a giving day is important, but it should not be the only goal you set for yourself. Here are other goals to consider:
- Acquire new donors
- Increase monthly recurring revenue
- Create peer-to-peer fundraising pages
- Increase social media impressions
Whichever you choose, be sure everything else following is part of your strategy to achieve those goals.
- Determine Your Campaign Type
Choose a campaign type from recurring giving, peer-to-peer, or donation solicitations etc. that makes sense with your defined goals. Consider the amount of time and resources you can invest, and which fundraising strategies have worked for your organization.
- Brand Your Campaign
Once your campaign type is chosen, create a brand in order to make it easier to spread the word, this not only includes a name for the day but a hashtag to include on social media.
Your brand and message should be cohesive and carry over from your website to your email and social media content.
- Create Donation + Fundraising Pages
Whether you’re creating a microsite or peer-to-peer campaign, it is important to create separate donation and fundraising pages branded specific to your giving day – that way donors know they are donating to the right campaign. This also makes it much easier to track donations and metrics from the giving day.
Depending on the type of campaign certain elements should be included in the pages. Elements to consider:
- Countdown to event/end of event
- Fundraising progress
- Top fundraisers
- Social media updates
- Place for supporters to include their twitter handle
- Secure Sponsorships
Create fundraising momentum by recruiting sponsors for either the full day or a certain time frame to match donations. A donation-matching period is a great way to create a sense of urgency and excite supporters to get involved. They’re a great way to motivate donors and demonstrate how much impact they can make on your cause.
- Recruit Social Ambassadors
Part of the popularity of giving days is the reach on social media. Seek key supporters who are active on social media and recruit them to help spread the word. You can also share their stories on other marketing material and content.
Don’t be hesitant to ask volunteers, members of the board, and employees to be part of the giving day.
- Prepare Your Content
Every campaign needs compelling content that generates social shares, drives engagement, and reels in donations. Prepare a marketing calendar ahead of time with the content ready to be scheduled and deployed. Your content should be a mix of:
- Campaign video
- Photos and impact stories of your organization’s work
- eCard images for dedicated gifts
- Testimonials from constituents, volunteers, staff, or board members
- Infographics with compelling data about your cause
Don’t forget about equipping your supporters with resources to help spread the word. This includes:
- Sample emails for supporters to send their networks
- Sample social media posts and tweets with branded hashtag
- Designed cover photos and profile images to share on social media
- Make It Fun
Part of the reason giving days stand out from other events is the element of fun for a day. Capitalize on the day by creating challenges and gamification based on time. This can be matching gifts, most likes on a picture posted to social media, or most donations, etc. Have fun and give a special shout out to the winners.
- Launch Your Giving Day
The day of campaign should consist of a combination of emails and social media outreach. We suggest at least three emails. One to announce the start of the giving day, one for an update/matching sponsor information, and one final push/end of day. All emails should include the following:
- A link to your unique giving day campaign page
- A distinct, bold Call to Action to donate now
- Unique giving day visual
- Social share buttons
Although a presence on all social media is important, Twitter will be the most effective for hourly updates. You can use the same idea of the three emails for updating Instagram and Facebook and if you have time engage with likes and comments.
Since focusing on live tweeting will require most of your attention, create a system to be notified for people who have included their twitter handle with their donation and be sure to tweet them.
- Campaign Follow-up
Thank your giving day supporters via email and social media. Be sure to include how much was raised and the impact their support means to your organization. But don’t stop there, analyze your data to determine new donors and supporters to reach out to and include in your welcome series. Compare your results to your goals and figure out what worked and what can be improved.
Taking the time to plan your giving day campaign can go a long way in the overall success. Use Doing Good Digital’s Giving Day Checklist to help you capitalize on your next giving day.