If you are a nonprofit and have not started your Giving Tuesday and End of Year campaigns, you need to read this blog. These campaigns are two very important opportunities for you to connect with current, past and future donors and to bring in some much needed fundraising dollars before the end of the year; and also an opportunity to connect with your community and to share common ground around your mission and purpose all in the spirit of giving. Ready? Let’s go!
Giving Tuesday is a 24-hour global fundraising movement that allows charities from around the world to ask for support and spread awareness around their mission. Named “Giving Tuesday” since it follows “Black Friday” and “Cyber-Monday”, the date is meant to bring awareness and funds to the nonprofit sector. Many nonprofits will set a Giving Tuesday fundraising goal and find corporations or donors to match their final number. Another good strategy is to raise funds for something specific instead of general operating support. Bridges to Independence has used Giving Tuesday to raise money for new blinds in the homeless shelter one year, and another year they raised money for a new van to transport youth to programs. Giving Tuesday can be a lot of fun but it is a crowded space as far as messaging and fundraising so you need to stand out and stand tall. Get creative and have some fun with it. You only have 24-hours, so come up with something that you haven’t done before. Consider off-line activities that day to connect your supporters and mission in real life to the online fundraising. (Think socially-distanced options like bake sales, outdoor happy hours, or a donor appreciation event.) You can also play off of your match or your ultimate goal. Need some inspiration? Give us a call. We love coming up with this kind of messaging.
End of Year
Most nonprofits raise the majority of their annual donations between Thanksgiving and December 31st. The end of year campaign can complement any other messaging you may have going out in the fourth quarter. End of year is a terrific opportunity to connect with past donors, current donors and potential donors. Depending on when your fiscal year ends, it may be an opportune time to send out your annual report or to let #GivingTuesday kick off your end of year efforts. Look at what your organization has done in the past and see if you can do just a bit better this year. Successful end of year campaigns include a theme, consistent messaging, a sense of urgency, and deliberate follow through. Tie your traditional mailing solicitations to online activity for a coordinated approach.
Here are five tips on how to get started with your Giving Tuesday and End of Year Campaigns. The same strategy and structure applies for both. One is just a shorter campaign. They can complement each other or be completely different. Whatever your messaging is for these campaigns the goals are clear: Raise awareness, raise funds, and retain and gain donorship.
Find a Match
A match is not always necessary but it does help with marketing and showing that another organization or individual is just as invested in your organization as you are. Matches also motivate people to give because they know that their contributions will be doubled and that is exciting and hopeful. A match might be a company or partnership that you have previously worked with or it could be an individual who has a deep commitment to your mission. Find your match or matches and make sure others know about them.
Pick a Theme
A theme is always good as it ties your campaign together and gives people something to talk about. It also separates your messaging from the day to day language and gives it more punch and direction. A theme could be tied with a hashtag, your tagline or mission statement, or completely separate from anything you have done before. A theme also allows your donors and followers to understand more deeply about your organization and puts more context around what you do and why your work is so important.
Create a Communications Plan
A communications plan is going to be your most important step. It will give you all the necessary tools and resources to execute your campaign well and on brand. Your communications plans need to have a strategy for email communications, social media, website communications, and direct mail. All of these pieces need to coordinate and be executed in a timely and strategic manner. We also highly recommend segmenting your lists and thus tweaking your message just a bit for each list. Past donors will receive a slightly different message than current donors and the same goes for potential donors and volunteers. The communications plan will have everything in one place for you: the theme, the timeline, the strategy, and most importantly, your goals. What do you want to accomplish with each campaign as far as open rates, engagement, and most importantly dollar amount.
You have a match. You have a theme. And now you have a robust communications plan. It is time to put it into action. Give assignments to key members of each team. This is truly an all-hands-on-deck initiative. Everyone needs to know the goals, the theme, the method of execution and what you all hope to accomplish when this is over. We recommend having an all-staff meeting to go over all of the communication pieces and make sure that everyone is on the same page. From the front desk person to the social media manager to the events coordinator, everyone needs to know the messaging and strategy for these two very important campaigns.
After both Giving Tuesday and your End of Year Campaign, evaluation will be key. You have undoubtedly spent a lot of time, resources, and money into making these campaigns successful. A wrap report with all of the campaign details and metrics will be a critical part of your planning for next year. Look at what emails performed the best. Which social media posts had the greatest impact. Did you raise more money than last year? Which method seemed to do best? Direct mail or digital? How much time did you spend planning, marketing, and managing? In the end, how much money did you raise? Hopefully you met or exceeded your goal. If not, look at what perhaps didn’t resonate with your audience or what pieces were missing? Evaluate both campaigns as soon as they end so that your thoughts and ideas are fresh.
If all of this is completely overwhelming to you, send us a message at . We would love to talk about a Giving Tuesday or End of Year campaign strategy with you. We can set something up quickly and get a dynamic messaging campaign launched and ready by December 1.