Year-End Fundraisers – Make the Most of #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday 2014

In my previous post on year-end fundraising, I examined how spectacular December can be — with 30% of annual donations falling within the month, along with a staggering 10% within the last three days of the year.

The launch of that end-of-year donation festival has now become #GivingTuesday. Established in 2012 by 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, this fundraising event has grown by leaps and bounds in just those two years.

The Network for Good infographic that we shared in our last post shows that from its first year in 2012 to 2013, #GivingTuesday donations grew by 73% and the number of charities receiving donations grew by 28%. It should be spectacular for #GivingTuesday this year on December 2.

Let's look more closely, and then help you to make something happen for your organization.

Event-based Giving

The premise for #GivingTuesday is that we have a day dedicated to giving thanks, followed by days for getting shopping deals. It should naturally follow that there is a dedicated day to giving back.

This is a perfect application of online event fundraising that I covered in this blog earlier this year. It capitalizes on the current sequence of events around a popular national holiday, Thanksgiving, and it serves to launch the year-end charitable donation activity. If you think about it, the end of the year and its deadline for tax deductible donations is just one more big event that serves to drive donations.

Social Media Supercharged (Social Media Makes It Easy ?)

Another aspect of #GivingTuesday is that it has, from the beginning, used social media to get the word out. Its marketing catch phrase is "Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday." Note the hashtag right in the catch phrase.

You can download its social media toolkit, which is complete with suggested tweets, lots of graphics,and campaign suggestions. I particularly like the #UNselfie campaign that asks you to add a selfie to your message about how you and your friends are giving this year.

You can join as a partner with your nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, or become a social media ambassador as an individual. Do take a glimpse at case studies of how organizations have made this feature work for their donations.

As one great example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York secured a matching grant of $500,000 to highlight #GivingTuesday as its launch for year-end fundraising. The #GivingTuesday social media surge kicked things off in great style and the MET continued that promotion throughout December.

In another example, Camp Kesem, which supports children of parents suffering from cancer, paired its own hashtag campaign with #GivingTuesday. The camp added the hashtag #BigKidsGive to encourage students on college campuses nationwide to take photos in booths other students, all volunteers to the cause, had set up, and then post the photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As a result, the campaign generated over 1,300 photos and $10,000 in donations.

Make It Happen for Your Organization

It's getting pretty close to #GivingTuesday. But you still have time to make something happen for your organization.

#GivingTuesday is social media — all you need to do is get started. To help with that, Salsa Labs has posted a 7-step plan to build your campaign. It also posted a great resource page that includes links to several donation pages that you can use as examples for building your own.

One key Salsa cites is to build a dedicated #GivingTuesday donation landing page. This in itself is a superb recommendation. The Network for Good's infographic notes that donations to generic landing pages were down 8% in 2013 over 2012, but up by 3% on branded giving pages.

It's smart to spend some time customizing your donation landing page not only for your organization's brand but, as in this case, for the particular event you're promoting. If you need a refresher on this topic, I recommend my earlier post Five Steps to Skyrocket Online Donations.

Of course, Salsa's next steps are to promote your landing page and then to plan out the full day of social media. The hashtag #GivingTuesday will be trending at the top of Twitter come Dec. 2, and you'll want to join that conversation to promote your organization and to thank your donors as well. It's important to pre-plan your posts, including graphics. Using a tool like Hootsuite, you can schedule your tweets and posts. A further resource for your efforts is the post 5 Key Factors Needed to Place Social Media at the Heart of Your Nonprofit Communications Plan.

Note that while #GivingTuesday primarily gives the appearance of just a #hashtag campaign, it really requires an integrated program through all your communication channels. This includes integrating your messages into your email, your website, and all your social media channels.

Jump In the Giving is Great!

Even if you don't have anything planned at the moment, I suggest you roll up your sleeves and get engaged at least in the social media conversation. This is a good time to gain experience with #GivingTuesday so you can be better informed and ready to build your plan for next year. Plus, you're more than likely to generate donations for your organization.

Need some help navigating your fundraising options or building a campaign? Campaign Now has a great deal of experience and expertise working with nonprofits, associations and political campaigns on all aspects of fundraising. Contact a specialist today here or call (855)329-4327. Or you can sign up for our special offers and latest news.

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Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson is the founder of PathForeWord, a freelance writing and communication consulting service. He has over two decades experience working for the largest youth membership organization in the USA as director of communication services. He’s written on nonprofits, associations, journalism, technology, and the job search process.


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