In 2019, we brought you some ways that nonprofits can make the most of Giving Tuesday. Today, almost 12 months later, we’re approaching yet another day of global giving – but things look a little different this time around.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought concerns over global health to the doorsteps of every home around the world. With a shortage of supplies, a lack of enough health care providers and the pressing need to quickly find an effective vaccine, philanthropy has shifted to focus on immediate global health needs. This has impeded the progress of and, in some cases, heightened the need for programs and support in many other pressing global challenges like clean water, women and girls, and economic development. The need for donor support is bigger than ever.

Falling on Dec. 1 this year, Giving Tuesday is coming fast – and offers a huge opportunity to make an impact. Last year, nearly $2 billion was raised via online and offline giving over the 24-hour period. Giving Tuesday Now, held on May 5 in response to the pandemic, was a resounding success as well, with millions of people from more than 145 countries joining in the day of unity.

But how do you tactfully approach a global day of giving when a pandemic has affected so many lives in so many different ways? How do you approach people who may be struggling with financial and personal impacts from COVID-19, and ask them to give?

The times have changed, which means we need to change with them and think outside of the box. Today, we’ve brought to you seven tips – some new and some tried-and-true – to help your strategy around Giving Tuesday and beyond this year.

Building a strong but empathetic campaign for Giving Tuesday – and more!
COVID-19 has tied the hands of people around the world. Stuck inside for months at a time while infection rates continue to climb, people feel helpless – however, many want to do something to help make a positive impact, whether it be helping their neighbors get groceries, donating money or volunteering safely.

Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to communicate to these people how they can get involved. But as you plan out your campaign, keep this in mind: In a year that has been so hard for so many, aim to make people feel good. Remember that no matter how they contribute, whether it be through social sharing, volunteering or monetary gifts, they are still helping – and be sure to communicate that to them, as well.

The below tips are pretty evergreen, so keep them in mind for future campaigns as we look toward end-of-year giving and 2021. When considering how you may add them into your campaign strategies, we also recommend adding a COVID-19 lens to all of your messaging. Be open about how COVID-19 has impacted your organization and the people you serve – and what you’re doing about it. Then link this language to the actions you’re encouraging people to take.

1) Ask for acts. When it comes to campaigns, we tend to think of monetary support. However, that’s often not the only way people can get involved – if you are a nonprofit that has volunteer opportunities, absolutely encourage your audience to do so!

There are many ways you can do this safely during COVID-19 – either through virtual events or socially distanced outdoor activities. Whether it be meal packing or delivering school supplies, this is a great way for people to get involved and opens up opportunities to give back for people who may not be in the financial position to donate. Many charities have been able to start up volunteering with new social distancing guidelines, and there’s also the opportunity for skills-based volunteering – where people offer their skills pro bono to help someone in need (i.e. offering financial planning to an independent business).

Asking for acts also has an added bonus to consider: Volunteering brings people closer to a cause. Investing time and effort through a first-hand experience leads people to become more active and better advocates. In other words, you’re cultivating more than just a one-time donation – you’re inspiring people for the longer-term and adding more voices to your own.

2) Grow your network and encourage sharing. With 200 community campaigns across the U.S. and national movements in more than 60 countries, Giving Tuesday has an immense global reach. Last year, the campaign raked in more than 20 billion social media impressions, landing a spot in the top trending topics on Twitter for that day.

This mean that Giving Tuesday doesn’t just offer the opportunity to bring in funding – it’s also a great way to grow your online presence. The more people following you, the more people you’ll reach with your messaging and the more future donors you may cultivate! Here are some ways to approach social media:

  • Get people involved. There are other ways to help than by donating and volunteering. Encourage those who don’t have other means to help to share and engage with your posts on social media so your messaging reaches an even bigger audience.
  • Don’t stop posting – post more! Show real-time progress for your campaign, and share the impact that donors have had.
  • Your donors are using Facebook, and so should you. In 2019, $120 million was raised through Facebook on Giving Tuesday alone. For this reason, you should absolutely consider running a Facebook fundraiser for your campaign. This has the added bonus of allowing your followers to share your fundraiser with friends and family, widening your potential donor pool.To start a Facebook fundraiser, click the “Fundraisers” button on your Facebook page and select the green “Raise Money” button. From there you can fill in the information for your fundraiser (i.e., nonprofit’s name, fundraising goal, end date) to get started.
  • Look into live streaming on YouTube and Facebook. Livestreams tend to attract more crowds and more engagement, both of which you want in order to boost your social media presence and potential donor pool. If you go this route, use it to share the milestones you reach. Make sure to register for YouTube Nonprofits and Facebook Nonprofits to access more features.
  • Do you have influencers in your network? Consider how you may encourage them to share your work!

3) Put your best foot forward. Looks aren’t everything, but they’re important when it comes to your campaign. Ask yourself “what will my campaign look like?” Develop a brand, including graphics and language, to be used across platforms. And don’t neglect your donation form – instead of letting it stand on its own, use this form to explain your campaign, why it’s special, any upcoming milestones and giveaways, and other pertinent information. Doing this shows organization and transparency, both of which are important to gaining the trust of potential donors when asking them to give.

4) Get personal. Reach out to your current audience via social media, newsletters and email campaigns. Don’t be afraid to resurrect older strategies, either – call your donors! Send direct mail!

When do you do this? Before, during AND after your campaign. Make sure you let your audience know that you have a campaign coming up and communicate any important information in the days prior, then send a reminder the day-of, and, lastly, thank them for their time and support after it ends.

5) Creative fundraising. There’s no reason you can’t get creative with your fundraising efforts. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Think small. Instead of aiming for large donations, focus on reaching a large number of people and encouraging smaller donations. People are more likely to be willing to give in small amounts, and those numbers add up quickly!
  • Matching gifts. Help encourage donors to give what they can with a matching gift option! By growing the impact of even a single donation, matching gifts help make giving seem more worthwhile to donors, even if what they’re giving may be a small amount.
  • Crowdfunding. See if people who already support you, like your Board, can set up a fund. Depending on your charity, you can also get schools or businesses involved through a “give back” day.

6) Feature your organization on employee giving platforms. Millions of employees have access to platforms like Benevity and YourCause through their companies, so don’t miss out! They might be looking to donate on Giving Tuesday, so make sure your organization is available.

If it’s not currently registered on an employee giving platform, we absolutely recommend signing up. Luckily, if you are one of Global Impact’s Charity Alliance members, we ensure that you are registered and provide tips to maximize the platforms for peak fundraising.

7) Follow-up and follow-through. You will likely gain new donors through your campaign – ensure that you retain them! Make the Wednesday following Giving Tuesday a “Welcome Wednesday,” where you welcome new donors.

Also, keep in mind that new donors that are thanked within 48 hours of their gift are four times more likely to give again. In other words, make sure thanking your donors is at the top of your priority list following Giving Tuesday and any other campaign.

You should also strive to keep the line of communication open – put together an email campaign that they’ll receive in the weeks following their donation. Your first email should be what we mentioned before: “Thank you for your gift and welcome to our family!”. Then continue sending emails every one to two weeks with resources and more, like upcoming events, an impact update or an invite to get involved on social media.

Looking forward
We’re closing out on a year like no other, one that has strained our patience and our resources. However, through Giving Tuesday we can go out with a bang, and move into a hopefully better year ahead.

According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, there’s no actual sign of donor fatigue. With this in mind, there’s no reason why this Giving Tuesday can’t be as or more impactful as the last, as long as we approach it in the right way, with flexible strategies and empathy toward current and potential donors.

So don’t give up on your campaigns – rethink them and carry on.

For more information on putting together a comprehensive strategy this Giving Tuesday or for any future giving campaigns, contact us today or check out our recent blog post, Pivoting to virtual CFC events – and 5 tips for you to do the same.