For many professionals, autumn days hold the promise of sweater weather, Butterball turkey, and holiday prep. For those of us in the nonprofit sector, our stress levels mark a more hectic time; the giving season.
Between sending your fall newsletter, planning your annual appeal, and continuing to provide services to your populations, it’s enough to make your head spin, Exorcist-style.
Insert #GivingTuesday. It’s hard to resist an opportunity to insert your nonprofit’s pitch during this feel-good season of giving. The question at hand is whether participating in #GivingTuesday come at the expense of your end of year appeal.
Although not a question we can definitively answer (we’ll keep collecting data and get back to you on this one), we’ve been scoping the interwebs and compiling best practices to maximize end of year giving without cannibalizing your annual appeal.
Here’s the list of tips and tricks we’ve pulled together:
Two approaches to ensure you don’t detract from your annual appeal
Use #GivingTuesday to launch only the online component on your end of year appeal. This strategy gets online donors to donate directly to your end of year appeal. The benefit is you’re investing more time in your end of year fundraiser as opposed to spending time and brainpower crafting an additional campaign. The downside is that donors who were going to give to the appeal anyways will probably only give this one time, not again in December.
Make #GivingTuesday a separate campaign with a finite goal that appeals only to online audience. This strategy (suggested by our friends at Bloomerang) focuses on a single, tangible and urgent goal unrelated to your end of year appeal. The benefit is that you can tell a compelling story, and perhaps capture the same online donors twice within a month span (once for #GivingTuesday and again for your annual appeal, which will be a completely separate campaign). The downside is you end up with restricted funds and this campaign could still have a potential negative impacts on end of year donations.
Things to focus on while crafting a #GivingTuesday game plan
Aim for social media interaction and engagement
#GivingTuesday is an online event whose focus can be larger than donations. Use this high-traffic time to draw in your new social media audience and online subscribers to your email list. Make sure your social media platforms and website are optimized to draw in new users. This is a better strategy to find long-term donors; by getting them invested in the organization in order to share your stories and then make your ask.
Reach out to a new audience
Try a peer-to-peer strategy to get engagement! Even if you aren’t soliciting donations, ask your followers to share your organization with their friends or run a social media contest to gain a larger online presence.
Try something different
This suggestion from Causevox to use #GivingTuesday as “ a chance to break out of the same ol’ thing,” makes a lot of sense. Why not use a one day #GivingTuesday to spice up your social media tactics? Test out new messaging or try a new social media feature you’ve been hesitant to test.