Making your big day of giving a success

By July 31, 2020August 27th, 2020Fundraising Best Practices

Nonprofit giving days have been a staple of online fundraising long before COVID-19. Now with social distancing protocols and increased time spent online, digital fundraising will become even more important. Here are our tips for a successful giving day.

Maybe you’re determining how to resource your GivingTuesday efforts. Or perhaps you want to create or build upon your organization’s own “big giving day.” Once you’ve determined whether you’re ready to support this effort, here are six tips to best map and maximize your success.

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

Consider themes, fundraising techniques (e.g., peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, virtual events), and major donor gift matches. Talk about this year-round. Building a strategy and creating a committee could happen a full year in advance. Conclude your effort this year with a task force focused on the following year.

2. Identify your target audiences and turn them into champions.

Ask your supporters and allies to become ambassadors in your effort. This is also a great cultivation step! To start, think of the various personas within your organization. Who do you engage with most? Are they:

— Alumni of your school or services?
— Parents or grandparents?
— Recipients of your services, such as grateful patients?
— People who benefit from or promote your advocacy?

Take this one step further by asking a lead donor or set of donors to set up a matching gift or challenge. Equip them with the tools they need to feel confident and prepared to articulate your needs. Share with them this simple, three-part framework:

1. Make your gift early the day
2. Share your enthusiasm and passion across your preferred social media platforms
3. Encourage others to do the same

3. Build an integrated campaign.

Create timely messaging across all marketing platforms. These include newsletters, social media, direct mail, your website, and email. 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. Make the link to your giving page easy to see. Shareability will help your movement grow rapidly.

Though some operations have custom websites that are fully branded and feature dynamic charts, we recognize this requires significant bandwidth. Two prebuilt yet customized platforms are Classy and GiveCampus.

4. Set goals. And then set some more.

Be clear and consistent about your goals. 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. Examples of goals are:

— More dollars
— More donors
— A specific segment of donors participating
— Number of total participants

5. Shout your stories!

You know the importance of storytelling in your work. A primary motivator of giving is hearing stories from those who benefit directly. Take time to collect stories from those beneficiaries of donor support and share them as follows:

— Testimonials on Facebook Live or Instagram are quick ways to get a story out in real time and are highly motivating.
— Remember to include a call to action with each story. Calls to action could include a request to broadcast updates to their peers, promote newsletter sign-ups, or make a gift.
— Be prepared to share these stories with your volunteers well in advance so that they are sure to “signal boost” them throughout the day.

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. Examples include:

— Asking your volunteers to prerecord general thank-you videos to text or email to donors.
— Organizing a virtual “thank-you note happy hour” to bring volunteers together to write 10-20 thank-you notes over a snack or drink. You can mail them a “thank-you kit” with stationery, snacks, and other fun items in the days preceding.
— Prerecording messages from key leaders, including your board chair, head, and notable or beloved staff members, to thank those who have made gifts and share the results of their support in action.

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