Leveraging #GivingTuesday to Kickstart your Year-End Giving!

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By Ritu Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder, Social Media for Nonprofits



November is upon us, which means nonprofits everywhere are well into the throes of #GivingTuesday planning.

If you’re unfamiliar, #GivingTuesday started in 2012 to balance the rampant commercialism of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. It’s an opportunity for consumers and businesses alike to remember the less fortunate in our world, who also need “gifts” during the holiday season.

The official #GivingTuesday planning kickoff happened in July, but if you’re just getting started there’s still time to launch a successful campaign (most in our sector work with a 60- to 90-day countdown), especially if you take advantage of the advice of those who’ve gone before you.

To that end, we’re kicking off a series on how to win at #GivingTuesday, which is December 2 – with some basics on getting started.

Already in the thick of it? Use these posts as a checklist until we meet you at whatever stage of planning you’re in.

First Things First

There’s a lot to do before #GivingTuesday arrives – yes, even before you send your first promotional tweet. Winning at #GivingTuesday is all about planning out the details.

In many ways it’s just like running a live event – except it’s happening online. So the focus is more on social media than perhaps is usual for some organizations, but that’s not a bad thing. If you’ve ever questioned the ROI on using social media, you won’t after a successful #GivingTuesday.

Start by visiting the #GivingTuesday website, and “joining” to become a partner. There are wonderful tools and resources available there, but before you use them, you need to answer a few questions:

What do you want out of #GivingTuesday? – It’s always important to define your goals, and this is no different. Do you want to increase your donations? Or your constituency? Do you want to engage more Millennials, or Baby Boomers? You need to know what you want from your campaign for it to be effective.

Who is your target audience? – Men, women, Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, and Seniors all respond to different messaging. Who are you trying to reach? How will you specifically target them? If you need guidance, NonProfitHub has lots of marketing advice about things like marketing to Millennials, and more.

How will you communicate your message? – The answer is, every way you can. Because #GivingTuesday happens online, you’ll want to focus on social media even more than usual.

Here are some organizational strategies:

  • You’ll need an editorial calendar to outline content. Google Calendar is a great option, and is easily shareable, but there are tons of others to choose from. What goes on it? Everything – tweets, Facebook page posts, blog posts, pins, emails, videos – anything you plan to share to promote your #GivingTuesday efforts.
  • Facebook and Twitter are the top priority social networks. Use along with a scheduling program like Hootsuite or SproutSocial, which will allow you to schedule posts.
  • Create a special #GivingTuesday Web page, with a donate button included, and include the link in all of your communications.
  • Make a list of influencers, board members, super donors, and media contacts who can help amplify your social media efforts. (We’ll talk more about this in our next post.)
  • Gather your visual assets early, and incorporate them into your editorial calendar. Remember that people give to people (not causes), so look for funny or touching images that personalize your cause.
  • Gather videos of those you’ve helped, and those who’ve given in the past, to use throughout your campaign. Check out our tips for creating great, cost effective videos here. If you don’t have the resources to make your own videos,borrow from the #Giving Tuesday YouTube channel, and personalize with your hashtag and message.

It might seem impossible to stand out in a sea of nonprofits all clamoring for the same attention, but the hoopla is actually an advantage. Everyone is already planning to give – so you just have to make sure it’s to your cause.

Which donor platform will you use? – Because all the hype in the world is useless if your donation platform crashes, or isn’t user-friendly.

What you’re looking for is something that offers easy sharing after donating, mobile payment options, enough power not to crash with a lot of people visiting at once, and a way to track metrics as you go, to name a few. A few we like include Salsa, Network for Good, Click&Pledge, Kimbia, and Razoo. I highly recommend finding platforms that match your donations, that is a huge bonus that will take a $10,000 donation to $20,000 without much effort from you!

Do You Need Extra Staff? – As much as possible you want to create advocates from your followers, board members, key donors, and local influencers. However, if you need a few extra hands on deck along the way, put out the call for volunteers early. Have clear guidelines and tasks ready for volunteers to manage your social media outreach in different platforms, create visual assets and more.

What Will Your Campaign Cost? – While much less expensive than a live event, you may need to spend on your donor platform, Web page, and extra staff hours. Plan and budget accordingly.

Overall, you’re creating a strategy to channel all of your followers, donors and stakeholders to give to you on this one day, but then to carry that momentum forward into the rest of the season.

We’ll be talking about advanced tactics, including gift matching and more, in upcoming posts. In the meantime, get your ducks lined up, and let us know if you have a tip to share not mentioned above.

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