Giving Tuesday Part Three: How to make your day a success story

Note: This is Part Three of a three-part series about Giving Tuesday. Be sure to visit Part One: A History of Giving Tuesday and Part Two: Should your nonprofit participate in Giving Tuesday?

So you’ve learned the history of Giving Tuesday in Part One. You’ve weighed your options in Part Two. And now you’ve decided to move forward with your Giving Tuesday effort. Here are the six actions we recommend so that you can have your best year yet.

1. Start early: It’s never too early to brainstorm.

Consider themes, fundraising techniques (e.g., peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, special events), and major donor gift matches. Talk about this year-round, even after December 3 has passed. Although we recommend that this should be a part of an annual plan and discussed quite far in advance, we see many clients gearing up in the early fall. That said, building strategy and pulling together a team or task force could happen nearly a full year in advance. Consider concluding your effort this year with a task force focused on 2020.

2. Identify your champions.

Ask your supporters and allies to become ambassadors in your effort – this is also a great cultivation step. Equip them with the tools they need to feel confident and prepared to articulate your needs and call-to-action. Ask them to make their gifts early in the day, share their enthusiasm and passion, and then encourage others to do the same. You might consider taking this one step further by asking a lead donor or set of donors to set up a matching gift or challenge.

3. Build an integrated campaign.

Create timely messaging across all marketing platforms, including print media, newsletters, social media, direct mail, your website, and email, but do keep in mind that this is truly an online initiative and “lives” on your website and social media platforms. Make your campaign easy to share. Tailor messaging to the platforms that you use, and make the link to your giving page easy to see. Shareability will help your movement grow rapidly. Though some of the more sophisticated operations have custom websites that are fully branded and feature dynamic charts, we recognize this requires significant bandwidth. Two prebuilt yet customized platforms to consider are Classy (used for general nonprofits) and GiveCampus (used primarily for schools and higher education).

4. Set goals. And then set some more.

Be clear and consistent about your goals. More dollars? More new donors? A specific segment of donors participating? Number of total participants? When a goal is met, be prepared to set a new one! Because this is a 24-hour giving day, it’s possible that your goal can be met earlier. Be prepared with additional goals and ready to launch quickly after the earlier one is met.

5. Shout your stories!

You know the importance of stories in your work and that a primary motivator of giving is hearing stories from those who benefit directly from a donor’s gift. Use the benefit of

time to collect stories from the beneficiaries of donor support. Testimonials on Facebook Live or Instagram are quick ways to get a story out in real time and are highly motivating.

6. Develop a thank-you plan.

Always thank your donors immediately following a contribution. Because this is a concerted, fast-paced effort, donations will come in rapidly. Be ready to thank donors in the moment or close to it. Do not forget about individual outreach in addition to automated responses. One way to engage volunteers is by asking them to prerecord general thank-you videos to text or email a donor. Remember, if your donor had a great experience, they are likely to share the positivity with others and continue to make gifts.

Other parts of the series:

Part One: A history of Giving Tuesday

Part Two: Should your nonprofit participate in Giving Tuesday?

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