Giving Tuesday is very well known around nonprofit circles. What started as a small campaign in 2012 to create a national day of giving before Black Friday has grown into a million-dollar event. In 2017, $274 million was generated in support of participating nonprofits. Other giving days have gained popularity in recent years, but Giving Tuesday continues to be the biggest 24-hour event of the holiday season. The benefit of participating in Giving Tuesday is that nonprofits can use the publicity surrounding the event to raise their profiles, reach new supporters, and generate funds. The main challenge is that as it grows, more and more organizations are participating, meaning there’s more competition. If your organization is planning to participate in Giving Tuesday this year, here are our suggestions for how to plan an event.
Think of Giving Tuesday like you’re throwing a party: You wouldn’t wait until five minutes before guests arrive to start getting ready, and you shouldn’t wait until the day before to get your giving day plans in order. Put the event on everyone’s calendars and create a plan for how you’re going to promote it via email, social media, and PR. Get down into the details: What landing pages need to be built? What materials need to be designed? Who is writing the press release? Do you need to pre-register, and if so, when? Whatever tools you use for project management, set them in motion for Giving Tuesday so you’re prepared well in advance.
Make Your Case
Giving Tuesday may be the start of your year-end fundraising campaign, but it’s not just a normal day. Your potential supporters are going to be getting emails and social media messages from many different organizations all asking for the same thing. Think about what sets you apart and tell some of the best stories from the previous year so individuals can really understand the impact of their donations. It’s also important to think about the different audiences you want to reach on Giving Tuesday and how you’ll craft messages for each of them. For example: Your major donors should receive a more personalized message compared to a general ask that goes to a larger, lesser known group.
Use Your Tools
We recommend creating a separate fundraising landing page that is special for Giving Tuesday. Publicize your specific giving day goal, make it clear where the funds are going and how they’ll be used, and provide updates throughout the day on your progress via social media. The Giving Tuesday website provides logos for use in campaign materials, use them in conjunction with your own branding so people can make the visual connection. The day is important to your organization and is your focus—making an extra effort to emphasize that on all channels will make that clear to your supporters.
Track and Evaluate
Giving Tuesday may be a different type of fundraiser, but you should still follow your fundraising best practices. Top of that list is evaluating your results after the day ends. Track your own results and compare them to the Giving Tuesday report when it is released. Follow other nonprofits in your area or service type on social media to see if they publicize their totals. Also evaluate your team—determine which parts of your plan worked and those that didn’t and create a better-next-time list for next year.
There are challenges to any fundraising campaign. So many factors go into why people do or don’t give money, or when they choose to do it. Giving Tuesday can be a useful tool for nonprofits, as long as you make the right preparations and have reasonable and achievable goals.
Patrick DiGiulian is a project manager at Firefly Partners. He joined Firefly in 2016 and has five years of experience working on digital teams at national nonprofits. He enjoys both the strategic and tactical aspects of working with Firefly’s clients. Patrick brings expertise in campaign management and has experience with a variety of online engagement tools. Prior to becoming a member of the Firefly team, Patrick worked at The Pew Charitable Trusts and American Rivers, where he helped move policy through online advocacy and assisted in the management of online marketing efforts.