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Beyond #GivingTuesday: Why Wednesday Matters

Louis Oh

Missed our webinar on donation matching, #GivingTuesday, and follow-up year-end planning by our Director of Business Development Tim Sarrantonio and NeonOne partner consultant, Adam Weiger of Double the Donation? Not to worry. Check out the recording of the webinar below.

You can also download the slides from Neon and Double the Donation and find more resources at our support center, here.

If you’re otherwise pressed for time, the following is a summary of the key things presented in the webinar.

What is #GivingTuesday?

It is a global day of giving that follows the post-Thanksgiving series of BlackFriday and CyberMonday. The idea is to give back to people with a dedicated day around giving (after a couple days of spending). It has become a very successful campaign since its founding in October 2012. Last year, 1.6 million gifts were given to a total of $117 million raised across 98 countries. It began initially in New York City but has grown into a global movement. You can register your organization at the official #GivingTuesday website (for free) and just participate by using the hashtag across social media platforms and creating your organization’s fundraising campaign during that day. This year it will be on November 28, 2017

Why should you consider #GivingTuesday?

It’s a global movement with wide-range awareness opportunities for any organization. The branding for it is ready and free. The #GivingTuesday twitter account is fairly good with retweeting nonprofit campaigns and has a massive follower base. It can act as both a megaphone and a bridge to an active community of supporters. It’s really easy to join in as all it really involves is active use of the hashtag on various platforms and engaging with audiences. It also falls in a high-volume period of giving and is a kick-off point for the giving season in earnest.

Why might it not be right for you?

While it has become global, it isn’t necessarily universal. It may not be widespread enough for some to reach particular audiences. Nonetheless, the scale of the campaign is quite large and it can be very easy to get lost in the noise of all the other nonprofits across the world making their cases. So, it is not a guaranteed boost. Frankly, it is in many ways more work as it becomes another appeal to do and manage. Strategizing is necessary to make it work to your benefit. Your organization must commit to making the event fun and effective, as well as build context around your campaign and your organization’s efforts. There is also the possibility of donor fatigue or a drop in donor willingness from an overwhelming volume of appeals.

What you should know about Donation Matching

According to Double the Donation, 65% of Fortune 500 companies have donation matching programs where they match employee donations to a wide range of nonprofits. These corporate philanthropy programs are often year-round. They are designed to support nonprofits that employees are passionate about rather than board members or executives coming up with nonprofits to support.

The first gift-matching company was General Electric in 1954 and has since donated over $1.3 billion. $38 million dollars were matched just last year.

When it comes to matching gifts, there are some key guidelines you should be aware of:

  • Employee Eligibility
    • Full-time employees are almost always eligible. Sometimes part-time workers and retirees are included
  • Matching Gift Ratio
    • Most are at the 1:1 rate. About 10% are .5:1, 2:1, or 3:1 in matching
  • Nonprofit Eligibility
    • Most programs match for higher education institutions and a wide variety of nonprofit categories. In most cases political or religious organizations are ineligible
  • Minimums and Maximums
    • Usually, the minimum amounts matched are $25 or $50 and maximums are up to $1,000 to $20,000 per year, per employee
  • Process
    • Generally, programs are now conducted electronically
  • Deadlines
    • Generally, programs have generous grace periods, usually a couple months to submit the matches. Nonprofits should try to follow up with donors immediately upon receiving gifts so that the matches get submitted!

Why gift matching is important

Matching gifts are massively underutilized! Multiple billions of dollars go unclaimed. Either due to a lack of awareness or knowledge or even simple forgetfulness, up to 10 billion in potential nonprofit funds are left unmatched. Nonprofits should be proactive in getting match requests submitted.

Here are some examples of outstanding match programs:

  • General Electric is perhaps the most generous
  • Microsoft is among a few of its size that actively encourages its employees to gift-match
  • State Street was the first to expand its gift-matching policy to all global employees. It even matches fundraising efforts, meaning it will match not only what employees donate but what they raise such as through peer-t0-peer campaigns.

Keys to increasing matching-gift revenue:

Double the Donation GivingTuesday Tools

Planning Beyond #GivingTuesday

Stop doing appeals. Appeals are in a vacuum. When you do an appeal, the problem is that it’s not in a larger strategy of philanthropy and stewardship.

Start doing philanthropy. Practice a donor-centric model of engagement. Use things like donation-matching to connect donors to your nonprofit.

In the end-of-year period of high-density giving, conduct retention-focused fundraising. For Neon users, take advantage of the new dashboard where you can view key retention metrics through the fundraising KPIs and other data visualization widgets for assessing your retention success.

Consider the following steps to maximize fundraising at the end of the year.

6 Steps to Success

  1. Set the Foundation

    • Review previous campaigns and events. What is realistic for you? What worked, what didn’t?
    • Analyze your fiscal situation. Use reports to gauge what is feasible for your organization. For instance, #GivingTuesday may not be realistic or efficient for your organization.
    • Analyze strategic goals progress and operations.
    • Set goals for your retention campaign such as fundraising targets, branding or reach objectives.
    • Prioritize, be efficient, consider the ROI so that you make the right plan for your organization
    • Philanthropic fundraising is important to any organization, regardless of size or budget.
  2. Create an Action Plan

    • Consider this: nearly 1/3 of donations are made in December
    • Giving Tuesday is on the cusp of this high-giving period
    • 12% of donations happen in the last 3 days of the year
    • As you craft your plan, consider your budget, scope and team
    • Set a timeline or milestones while taking into account the time, money, and manpower you will need
    • (Use the calendar in Neon’s Year-End Guide!)
  3. Put it Into Focus

    • Create a theme to tie your messaging together
    • Make sure its accessible via various channels, whether print/mobile/online
    • Keep it donor-centric
    • Make it about your donors. You should be saying “you” way more than “we/us/I”
    • Make it human.
  4. Know Your Audience

    • Segment your audience. Identify specific targets and VIP prospects.
    • Think beyond donation levels
    • Look at at least 3 years of donation retention rates to set realistic goals
  5. Crafting the Ask

    • Great nonprofits mix various channels in asking
    • Direct mail is still widely used by nonprofits and is still a powerful method
    • Direct or online, make sure to personalize your messaging
  6. Following Through

    • 59% of nonprofits make up to 3 donor “touches” for year-end campaigns
    • 10% make more than five and 28% make none
    • Seriously evaluate how you will follow-up and recognize/thank your donors
    • Consider using non-ask donor events for outreach while celebrating donors and success in fundraising
    • 53% of donors cite poor communication with nonprofits as a part of the reason for stopping their patronage

Want to learn more? Check out Neon’s popular Year-End Fundraising Guide, which elaborates on the steps above and comes with a helpful printable calendar with key checkpoints to consider.End Of Year Guide E-book CTA

Key Takeaways

  • #Giving Tuesday can be great but it’s not necessarily for everyone. See if it is realistic for you!
  • Consider options and opportunities for maximizing your efforts, like matching gifts
  • Retention is incredibly important. Build a strategy to bolster it.
  • For any strategy, good communication and follow-up, essentially good stewardship, is key

Don’t stop at #GivingTuesday. The following days and weeks are very important to fundraising success.

For the rest of the webinar and its Q&A portion, check out the full webinar!

Want to learn more?
Check out these blogs on #GivingTuesday:


Keep on the lookout for more webinars at NeonCRM.

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