Recently, the organization that runs "Giving Tuesday" - a nationwide event normally held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving - announced it would run a new day of giving on May 5 called Giving Tuesday Now. Giving Days come in many shapes and forms, often being sponsored by a local or regional foundation or group of non-profits.
While there can be a lot of awareness of a Giving Day - especially in social media - there's also a lot of "noise." Every nonprofit is pounding the message and a lot of people will tune it out in self-defense. Or, with such a large selection of charities asking for help, a donor could find it hard to make a decision on where to share their limited funds.
In other words, while there are opportunities in promoting a Day of Giving with your own donors, there are also challenges. By being strategic in your activities, you can get your message out to donors without spending too many time or money resources that you are unlikely to recoup.
How can you best take advantage of #GivingTuesdayNow?
FOcus on your people
Donor acquisition is very hard in a national event like this. Instead, focus on "your people": current and lapsed donors, alumni, members, camper families, congregants and vendors. Focus your communications on the people who already love you and see a benefit in the work you do.
COnnect with donors with DAFs
Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are an increasingly popular way for donors to distribute charitable donations. DAF grant making in the first quarter of 2020 was 20% higher ($1.7B) than the first quarter of 2019. In addition, financial institutions are encouraging their DAF account holders to make additional grants leading up to May 5.
What does that mean for you?
- Make sure your donate/giving page is updated with information on where to send a DAF grant. Often, it's not the donor but a bank employee that actually distributes the funds. Make sure you've put language to this effect on your site: Gifts from Donor Advised Funds can be sent to Your Organization Name, Attn: Your Key Contact, Your Address.
- Consider adding a widget/button on your donate page that makes it easy for donors to give via their DAF. An example of this kind of widget can be found here.
- You can go through your donor list to determine what donors have already started to use DAFs and connect with them ASAP. Look for gifts over the past couple of years that came from a financial institution like Fidelity, Vanguard, Charles Schwab, plus local community foundations. Those were gifts given through a DAF.
USe IMAges and messages that are uniquely you
If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is that we'll all receive a ton of emails leading up to May 5 that have the subject line: "Give to Organization XYZ this Giving Tuesday!" There will be so many that most will be deleted automatically. Instead, tailor your message to your people. If they are college or camp alumni, refer to them by their school/camp identity. Use images and colors that immediately identify that the message could only have come from your organization. In the endless scroll of social media, sometimes it's the video or image that triggers a memory that gets attention.
Make it timely
What does your organization need help with now? It's OK to focus on your emergency needs and your pivoted case. If you've been doing new or expanded work because of the crisis, lift it up and let your people see your mission in action. Whatever you do, don't just recycle last November's Giving Tuesday messages. They will feel tone-deaf this May.
ConSIDER a "STEWARDSHIP TUESDAY"
In 2019, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida shifted from Giving Tuesday to Stewardship Tuesday. Coming out of their signature event in mid-November, they decided to adopt a slightly different mindset and focus on using this day as an opportunity to show appreciation.
Perhaps in the midst of our new national situation, you might consider focusing on saying thanks - to your donors, to essential workers, to your staff, etc. Focus on the ways you can deliver a personal message even at a social distance:
- Could staff donors get a personal note from the CEO/Executive Director?
- Could program sponsors got a call from the Program Director acknowledging all the ways their support is making an impact?
- Could you dedicate a percentage of your social media posts to saying thanks to those have donated since the pandemic started?
- Can you send an email to all donors that is mostly about saying thanks for their support and sharing what your current impact is? It can have a Giving Tuesday Now message, but not as the lead in.
While the donation results of these efforts may vary, the chance to capture the attention of your people and let them know what your organization is up to is huge. Using the staff and resources available to you, craft and execute a plan that makes sense for your organization.
But don't ignore those DAFs...
Do you need to talk to someone about the challenges your organization is facing? Contact us and request a free consultation.
We are continuing to update our resource page on Fundraising in Uncertain Times. Please check back frequently for tips and samples to help your organization quickly respond to our changing circumstances.