How to Stand Out This GivingTuesday: The Answer Is In Your Messaging
This coming November 30th is GivingTuesday, the annual opportunity for nonprofits to highlight their specific work and impact while harnessing the power of a collective moment. Beginning in 2012, GivingTuesday has grown out of an initiative started at the 92Y, a cultural and community center in New York City, to a global call to action to donors everywhere (and at all levels), generating well more than $2 billion in 2020. Even in a competitive landscape of marketing and messaging, GivingTuesday stands out in the crowd.
For many nonprofits, though, GivingTuesday is not necessarily a revenue boon; rather, it is a necessary function of running a charitable shop – and one that can’t be missed for fear of falling behind others. We often hear from our partners that GivingTuesday has historically been less of a fundraising mechanism for them and more of a marketing one. This is indeed true for many organizations, especially smaller ones that don’t have the same reach as high-profile national and international nonprofits.
At Orr Group, we are in the business of philanthropy, which is a subtle, albeit important difference to working in philanthropy itself. In order to attract, maximize, and utilize financial support most effectively, an organization’s messaging is key. There are few opportunities better for this than GivingTuesday. And, in the end, strategically and consistently communicating the work, impact, and stories of the lives that are improved because of your organization’s mission will inevitably yield meaningful returns for new and longstanding donors alike.
This post is also an opportunity for us, and one through which we can guide our readers through helpful information to plan and realize a successful GivingTuesday campaign.
Leading up to GivingTuesday, here’s how to propel your campaign toward greater success this year and in the future.
Establishing Your Goal and Message Today
Now is the time to determine what you want to generate for and gain from GivingTuesday, financially and otherwise. Think about the following:
- If this if your first GivingTuesday, what is your organization doing now that you want people to know about most?
- Where can a donation (of any amount) help with your current initiatives, specifically in terms of the number of gifts secured and overall engagement?
- What have you raised in the past?
- Were previous fundraising efforts an anomaly or, if successful, something you can plan to recapture?
- What messaging is consistent in your other materials and what would you like re-think for this campaign, specifically? How much do you want to grow the campaign this year?
- Is there a donor who will provide a match? Never underestimate the power of peer engagement.
There are a number of factors to consider, not the least of which is how to manage your own expectations of what GivingTuesday will do for your organization. Remember, GivingTuesday might just be one day a year, but it’s a longer process to make the biggest impact with it year after year.
The fundraising adage of “your best prospects are your current donors” is one to be especially mindful of with any campaign. Think of volunteers and donors you can contact who will help spread your message leading up to and on GivingTuesday. Simply because the day itself gets the limelight doesn’t mean your messaging shouldn’t start sooner and with those you know who are committed to your organization. Testimonials from those you serve and can speak to the personal meaning of your impact and be sure to feature dollar-to-impact metrics however you can, too: “your gift provides, allows for, generates…” etc. This is as compelling a message as it is inspiring.
How Will You Reach Your Audience?
How people receive your message is essential to your campaign’s success, so think of how your donors and prospects best respond. Is this via a direct-mail campaign? Digital only? A hybrid? Are there in-person activities you can maximize leading up to and on GivingTuesday? It’s important for fundraisers to think like marketing experts and vice versa. This is a time to work collaboratively, so gather around the table (real or virtual!) and outline a communications plan. You’ll want to consider the following:
- How to build awareness to donors and prospects that GivingTuesday is on the horizon.
- The focus is two-fold: GivingTuesday is for everyone, but your organization’s message should also encourage and generate support for your specific mission and needs.
- The follow-up: what will your communications be – and on what timeline – immediately following GivingTuesday?
Include Your Donors in the Conversation – and Make Them a Part of It
Making your donors and volunteers part of the conversation gives them even more of an investment in your organization and your work. Highlight ways for your donors, prospects, and constituents to promote your messaging on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms, thereby making them part of and driving the messaging simultaneously. Include easy-to-follow instructions for how to post and share content, which can be found on the GivingTuesday website here (along with other helpful tips).
GivingTuesday is Over. What’s Next?
This is simple: say thank you, thank you, thank you! GivingTuesday is for asking and acknowledging – even for those who didn’t give on GivingTuesday. Overall, GivingTuesday is a chance to remind everyone of your important work, how you communicate what you do, and celebrate your success with you. It is also an opportunity to impart upon your supporters and prospects of all the work ahead and how they can get involved Perhaps Camus said it best: “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.” With that, if you give your all now, others will likely follow in kind.
About the author
Adam Glick brings extensive fundraising experience to his role as a Director at Orr Group. Adam has served in leadership roles at several nonprofit organizations, focusing on strategy, fundraising, programming, and capital campaign management. In addition to his nonprofit career, Adam has lectured on the impacts and challenges of realizing and funding public projects at the Stern School of Business and Steinhardt School of Education (NYU), the Hite Art Institute (University of Louisville), and elsewhere. He has also participated in numerous panel discussions and symposia, and his work has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Robb Report, and the New York Observer, among others.