Need doesn’t come along on just one day a year.
That couldn’t be clearer than it is right now. COVID-19, for all the fear and tragedy it is causing, has also shined a light on the need for all of us to support each other in times like these.
#GivingTuesdayNow, which takes place on May 5, recognizes a desire to band together and offer support to one another in the face of this unprecedented challenge. In order to ensure that your organization’s day of giving is a success, there are a few things to remember.
Your mission still matters.
Though we are experiencing a common challenge, funding for COVID-19 relief – though undoubtedly meaningful and much needed – is not the only funding priority that matters today. Your mission is as important as it has always been, and the current environment doesn’t eclipse that mission but rather emphasizes its importance.
If you are an educational institution, think of your graduates as the healthcare providers, researchers, and policymakers who will be on the frontlines when we face the next global health challenge. If you are an arts organization, recognize the positive impact of artistic expression on the human psyche in the face of overwhelming challenge. And across all philanthropic sectors, remember that what we do to support each other, whether or not it is directly related to this pandemic, increases our ability to stand strong now and in the future.
Transparency creates urgency.
Nonprofits today face financial hardship on an unprecedented scale. Though major gift fundraising can and should proceed in a virtual environment, event-driven fundraising has suffered a significant blow.
In at least a few cases, timelines for individual gifts have shifted and leave budgetary holes that nonprofits need to fill. Sharing the need with your audience, right down to the amount you need to raise to stay whole, is not just acceptable but may be imperative. It shows your donors that you are dedicated stewards of their gifts, that you can clearly articulate the need, and that you’re working tirelessly to protect the integrity of your organization.
Proper planning makes or breaks a giving day.
Successful giving days require regular and consistent communications across multiple platforms directed at multiple audiences with varied and personally relevant messaging. The only way to execute a well-thought-out and comprehensive effort is to create a matrix that matches communications vehicles, including social media, email, and even voice and text, with constituency segments and the messaging relevant to each.
Plan for touches in advance of, throughout, and at the conclusion of the day. Provide updates along the way to show momentum, motivate others to join the effort, and celebrate milestones and overall success.
Your volunteers are your army.
Now more than ever, your volunteers are your force multipliers, and they will be an integral part of your plan. Not only does their support serve as a testimony of the importance of your mission to other potential donors, but your volunteers also have the ability to reach personal networks you may not otherwise be able to access – and the effect can be exponential.
Recruit your volunteers early. Seek their advice and request their participation. They are a crucial part of your plan, so provide them a timeline, concise messaging points, and clear directions on what to do and when — from posting or re-posting on social media to sending emails or texts, to even placing calls. Your volunteers want to help. It’s up to you to make it easy for them to do so.
At Graham-Pelton, we believe in silver linings, as evidenced by our current webcast series. We believe your donors do, too. By developing a detailed plan, articulating your mission in a compelling and relevant way, and seeking support from your most loyal corps of volunteers, your donors will ensure that silver linings shine on #GivingTuesdayNow.
Gina Vaughn is Senior Consultant at Graham-Pelton and can be reached at 1-800-608-7955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.