#Giving Tuesday: Standing Out From the Crowd

2016-gt-logoBy Avrum D. Lapin

I recently bumped into an old friend of mine who was the Development Director at a Philadelphia area independent school. We got to talking about #GivingTuesday and he shared his belief that the benefits to the #GivingTuesday campaign extended beyond the sum figure of funds raised. As he put it, “#GivingTuesday enabled us to re-engage with major donors, with all donors. It was easy to get our board behind #GivingTuesday and allowed them an opportunity for further engagement.” #GivingTuesday has now become part of the philanthropic landscape in a way that resonates with nonprofits, boards, donors and the general public.

#GivingTuesday is a force – over 40,000 organizations in 71 countries have joined the #GivingTuesday movement. This rapidly expanding national fundraising phenomenon occurring on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year being Tuesday, November 29) as a response to the consumerism of Black Friday, is growing in both size and scope: Online donations of $45.6 million in 2014 grew to $116.4 million in 2015, according to the information compiled by Impact Lab … an increase of 145%! Nonprofits are eager to capitalize on this movement and donors’ willingness to participate in this day.

#GivingTuesday donors tend to be younger and more tech-savvy than other contributors, which for many nonprofits presents a great opportunity to expand the donor pool. Especially in organizations that have not been as successful in reaching Millennials or “Generation Z,” #GivingTuesday is a vehicle that speaks to this audience. As an internationally recognized program, #GivingTuesday has achieved name recognition and is now a trusted brand.

As organizations prepare for this day, it is important to keep in mind the target for #GivingTuesday donations. The average gift size was $154 last year, up from $142 in 2014. The outreach, marketing, and buzz about #Giving Tuesday is mostly played out online, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #GivingTuesday can be a tool for major donors or core supporters. This effort is a platform for increased gifts or additional giving opportunities. These gifts must be cultivated through relationships and careful planning. #GivingTuesday is a chance to reach new or lapsed donors, or younger supporters.

#GivingTuesday is an opportunity to jump start the end of year donation process since 30% of all donations are made in December. #GivingTuesday functions as a condensed mini-campaign, with all of the energy and focus going to one day. While it does not replace annual fund efforts, it is a proven gateway to the year-end fundraising efforts.

Keys to Making Your #GivingTuesday a Success:

  1. Register! List your organization on GivingTuesday.org/join. This is the first step in the process. Once registered, check out tips, advice and success stories will improve messaging and outreach.
  2. Find a Matching Donor: It is often said that Matching Gifts are to #GivingTuesday as deals are to #CyberMonday. Using a Matching gift can build a sense of community, increase impact and create urgency. Importantly, the matching donor is more closely drawn to the organization through increased and/or leveraged giving. In fact, there is a tool called “Double the Donation” on #GivingTuesday’s Matching Gifts pages that allows organizations set up matching gift platforms for free.
  3. Get Creative: Personal stories of those impacted by your organization are always a strong tool. Create a video, use photos, testimonials, peer fundraising. #GivingTuesday is a great time to try something new and different.
  4. Send Constant Updates: This is an exciting, dynamic day. Sending updates about progress will energize donors and engage potential donors. Especially if there is a matching gift, sending updates can help to build excitement about closing in on a goal. This can be done on the website, through social media and through emails.
  5. Use all channels: #GivingTuesday isn’t just about social media. This is an opportunity to use a wide variety of vehicles to get the messages across. Email, social media, newsletters and even phone calls can help boost awareness.
  6. Make donations concrete: Donors, especially younger donors, like to see results and impact. Showing uses of the money and transparency can convert online readers into donors.
  7. Think about extending the party: No one said the party has to end on November 29! #GivingTuesday can be extended through the week and beyond. Using the same materials and outreach, organizations can give donors more opportunities for this gift to count or be matched.

Follow up is critical to get the most from the #GivingTuesday campaign. Donors need to be thanked and recognized. One easy way is though social media. Thanking donors with a personalized tweet that might encourage the donors’ friends to contribute as well. New donors should be added to future outreach and included in updates about the organization, showing how their contribution has made an impact.

Remember, that this process can be fun! It is exciting for staff and stakeholders to “hear” the constant pings of online donations like a public television telethon. There is an instant gratification of a campaign that happens for the most part on one day, rather than over several weeks, or months. Staff and stakeholders can see the fruits of their labor and since #GivingTuesday donations mostly emanate online, the money raised can be counted in real time. November 29 can be a real shot in the arm before year –end fundraising begins in earnest in December.

My colleagues and I welcome your comments and emails. Let us know what you think. Please feel free to contact us at The Lapin Group at 215-885-1550 or alapin@thelapingroup.com to discuss this further.

Avrum Lapin is President at The Lapin Group, LLC, based in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, a full-service fundraising and management consulting firm for nonprofits. The Lapin Group inspires and leads US-based and international nonprofits seeking fund, organizational, leadership, and business development solutions, offering contemporary and leading-edge approaches and strategies. A Board member of the Giving Institute and a member of the Editorial Review Board of Giving USA, Avrum is a frequent contributor to eJewishPhilanthropy.com and speaker in the US and in Israel on opportunities and challenges in today’s nonprofit marketplace.

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