Believe it or not, the holidays and year-end are rapidly approaching. You’re probably working hard on your annual appeal, which will hopefully bring in lots of cash both by mail and online. (For tips and tricks, check out our end-of-year wrap-up tips.) But there’s a new opportunity for nonprofits to bring in that much-needed year-end money and promote the importance of the nonprofit sector: Giving Tuesday (often stylized as #GivingTuesday™).
The inaugural Giving Tuesday was held in 2012 as the charitable cousin of retail “holidays” Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving). With the leadership of New York City’s 92nd Street Y, approximately 2,500 nonprofits created Giving Tuesday campaigns last year. These campaigns ranged in size and in scope. The most successful campaign, by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, raised $1 million from both new and current donors. This year’s Giving Tuesday is on December 3, 2013.
So how can you get in on Giving Tuesday and jumpstart your year-end giving?
Register as an official Giving Tuesday partner.
Any registered 501(c)(3) can become an official Giving Tuesday partner by registering here. As a nonprofit partner, information about your organization and how to donate will be listed in Giving Tuesday’s online directory. You’ll also receive a “partner kit,” which includes templates for spreading the word about Giving Tuesday.
Make a plan.
To be successful, you’ll need to do more than write a Facebook post declaring your intent to be part of Giving Tuesday. Given the timing, Giving Tuesday could serve as a great way to kick off your year-end campaign – but is that right for your organization? Is there a specific population that you want target, or a certain segment of donors? Do you have a goal for how much you want to raise? Think of your Giving Tuesday plan as a miniature version of your overall fundraising plan.
Hype it up.
Perhaps Giving Tuesday’s greatest strength is its reputation on social media. The #GivingTuesday Twitter hashtag is popular year-round and huge on the day itself. If you’re not already using social media, this is a great time to start. If you are, make sure you use the #GivingTuesday hashtag and post about your plans for Giving Tuesday on Facebook, your website, and any other social streams. Depending on your constituent base, it may be useful to communicate both online and offline, perhaps with a postcard or even a phone call.
Don’t let your Giving Tuesday donors disappear.
You’re likely to get some new donors on Giving Tuesday. Remember that they’re donors just like any other donor, and they need to be appropriately acknowledged and stewarded. Make sure that they receive your fundraising materials, and consider sending a targeted e-blast to them later in December to update them on how much you raised on Giving Tuesday with their help.
Giving Tuesday is a fantastic opportunity to reengage your current and lapsed donors, bring on new donors through social media and other channels, and harness the collective power of the nonprofit sector. Good luck on December 3.
Is your organization participating in Giving Tuesday this year? What strategies and channels will your team be using? Leave a comment below and let us know. Questions, comments, or concerns? Connect with me on Twitter at @bethany_lang or email me at email@example.com.