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Real Talk: The Bare Necessities of #GivingTuesday

By September 6, 2017

Giving Tuesday 2017

By: Rachel Muir, CFRE, Fundraising consultant, speaker and trainer

Ready or not, #GivingTuesday is officially “a thing” and its right around the corner. For most of us, it’s the kick off to our end of year fundraising campaign. If you’re short on time and budget (and who isn’t?) what can you do to maximize your effectiveness? Here are five must do’s for your #GivingTuesday strategy.

Plan, plan, plan.

My friend Jen Love said it best, “The season to give is not a reason to give.” Sending an email out one week before #GivingTuesday that trumpets “Save the date! We’re going to ask you for money!” is not going to win you any friends or donations. Frankly it’s an uninspiring and could come off as an unwelcome cash grab. You need a specific call to action that is tangible and compelling. This is not the time to be vague. Frankly, there’s really never a time to be vague in fundraising unless you’re trying to create some intrigue to get people to open your mail. Once you know your storyline it’s time to plot all the details: setting campaign goals, securing a match, building your email calendar and appeals, social media plan, recruiting your champions and ambassadors to promote it, crafting your design assets, plotting your contests and shout outs, preparing your receipting and stewardship plans. Next in line? The backup plan. What if the match falls through? What if you hit your goal right out of the gate? What if you overshot the goal, what will you do then? These are all worthwhile things to think about and frankly, you can’t over plan (says the planner).

Test, test, test. Is this thing on?

Are all your forms and links working? Are all your images rendering? I know it sounds laughable and you are thinking “oh for heaven’s sake, I’ve got that covered!” but test it to be safe! Last night I went to four nonprofit websites and all of them had broken links on their donation pages.

Craft a well-timed, aggressive email strategy with a great story and easy social sharing.

Don’t forget to make it ridiculously easy for your generous donors to tell all their friends they just gave to your cause. This is a huge part of what makes #GivingTuesday fun. Listen, you don’t buy a car because the dealership needs the money. Yes, it gets you from point A to point B, but it also says something about you. Let your donors be the heroes here and make it ridiculously easy for them to share their generous deed with others. Make sure your thank you landing page boasts social sharing tools.

Have a REASONABLE goal with tangible outcomes and ask amounts.

Realize that you may be popping up for new prospects unfamiliar with your work. You’ve got precious little time to make your case (and a great first impression). Let your ask string help you by telling the donor exactly how their gift will help, i.e. $100 buys vaccines for a family, $50 provides a weeks’ worth of diapers, etc. On your giving form itself, think about how can you energize your typical donate button, which instead of saying “submit” or “proceed” could say “join the fight” etc.

Be ready to thank donors and let them know their gift made an impact.

Hey, you worked hard to acquire these donors! How are you going to make them stay? The minute these generous folks make their gift, send them to a landing page that makes them feel like the heroes that they are. Put compelling video from the field on the landing page, like this example of Mobile Loaves and Fishes clients thanking donors directly. And yes, you can make an email autoresponder that makes them blush, tear up, feel like taking a bow, or making another gift. It’s all in what you say!

Next step? Give these donors some love! Put them in a thoughtful communication stream that makes them feel great about their gift, updates them on your work and gets to know what they care about.

For more on #GivingTuesday from Rachel Muir the author of this piece, and other industry leaders, watch the webinar recording with great tips and tricks for #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday Guide