Top Tips for Engaging Donors During #GivingTuesday

Giving-Tuesday#GivingTuesday 2013 for Jewish Nonprofits:
Top Tips for Engaging Donors During Giving Tuesday
by Robert Evans and Avrum Lapin

In recent years, the success of emergent single-focus industry days following Black Friday, such as Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, has prompted a new and increasingly national movement to create a day dedicated to giving back. #GivingTuesday is an innovative initiative to encourage philanthropy at all levels across America, together with charitable activities and volunteer actions that support nonprofit organizations.

#GivingTuesday harnesses the momentum of the holiday season to encourage giving back to nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes in a concentrated effort during the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year’s #GivingTuesday will be on December 3rd, coincidentally the sixth day of Chanukah.

Started by New York’s 92nd Street Y and promoted by the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has now become a catalyst and incubator for a variety of philanthropic initiatives across the country. We have encouraged our clients to join the #GivingTuesday “bandwagon,” both locally and nationally.

A recent check of the organizations seeing the value of the national effort reflects only 10 religious nonprofits listed on the initiative’s website, and of those, only one appears to be Jewish (! Clearly, there is an opportunity for the Jewish community to take on a much larger role within the #GivingTuesday movement, especially since it is coinciding with Chanukah this year.

To help Jewish nonprofits make the most of this event, we offer the following tips:

TIP #1: Create a Defined #GivingTuesday Goal

#GivingTuesday offers a distinct touch point that Jewish nonprofits can use to rally their supporters around a centralized goal, similar to a matching gift campaign or an event-based fundraiser. The day can be used as a great “stopover” between High Holiday appeals and year-end reminders. Because #GivingTuesday activities can encompass in-kind donations, volunteer opportunities, or other non-monetary opportunities, it is a great way to work in those tertiary “asks” that may not fit into your traditional fundraising campaign.

To make the most of this opportunity, we recommend that Jewish nonprofits define a specific target goal for the day: to raise $10,000, collect 250 backpacks, mobilize 100 volunteers. With a defined goal, supporters will be able to see the immediate impact that their involvement will make. If employing this tactic, nonprofits should set aside staff time on that Tuesday to keep supporters updated in real-time via social media and on their website.

TIP #2: Communicate the Event with Stakeholders

Because #GivingTuesday is still a relatively new initiative, most nonprofits need to educate their stakeholders about the basics of the movement. Including links and blurbs within daily, weekly, or monthly newsletters, and creating a multi-channel push in October and November, will ensure that once December 3rd rolls around, constituents understand why they are being asked to give.

The date can be especially well-utilized within an e-blast push and a direct mail effort. Nonprofits in the Jewish community can solicit donors to give a gift by December 3rd within a hard-copy appeal that emphasizes the national and global reach of the initiative, and reinforce the date by sending a “final chance” reminder the morning of #GivingTuesday. Messaging and branding resources are available for free download on the #GivingTuesday website and can be used to create name-recognition among supporters.

TIP #3: Utilize Social Media

Mobilizing supporters online is a critical component of #GivingTuesday. The name itself is a play on a Twitter “hash tag,” a word or phrase on Twitter that is preceded by a pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a certain topic or theme. We note that online giving is becoming an increasingly big touch point for donors … especially next-generation donors. Milestone trending was seen on Twitter when more than 50 million people around the world championed #GivingTuesday in 2012.

Simply put, Jewish nonprofits cannot afford to miss out on this considerable momentum!

For those nonprofits with active Facebook and Twitter feeds, #GivingTuesday is regularly utilized throughout the year to promote charitable giving on a more consistent basis. Giving a shout out to other nonprofits, highlighting donors that give on Tuesday, or creating mini-goals and giving events throughout the year is a great way to increase awareness of the initiative on various media channels.

Share Your Thoughts!

At EHL Consulting, we’re excited to see the innovative and “out of the box” ways Jewish nonprofits will utilize #GivingTuesday to catalyze support. We encourage readers of eJewishPhilanthropy to share their ideas and initiatives in the comments section. Finally, don’t forget: nonprofits that have a plan to capitalize on #GivingTuesday can register their projects on the #GivingTuesday website, enabling them to access a host of resources and educational tools.

Robert I. Evans, Managing Director, and Avrum D. Lapin, Director, are principals of The EHL Consulting Group, a fundraising consulting firm located in suburban Philadelphia. They are frequent contributors to The EHL Consulting Group is one of only 38 member firms of The Giving Institute. EHL Consulting works with dozens of nonprofits on fundraising, strategic planning, and nonprofit business practices and strategies. Learn more at

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