By Claire Fisher
Southern Tier Communications Strategies, LLC
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or one of the most stressful if you’re not prepared. Giving Tuesday is right around the corner (Nov. 29 this year). Is your nonprofit ready with an inspiring, engaging Giving Tuesday campaign?
Nonprofits worldwide this year are expected to rake in a record $3.2 billion – 18% more than in 2021. That’s a lot of money to grow a lot of good. Let’s get your nonprofit’s share of the pie to support your important community mission.
(Related reading: 6 Nonprofits to Support on Cattaraugus Gives Day/Giving Tuesday.)
Is Your Giving Tuesday Campaign Ready to Launch?
A great donor strategy begins with a great message expressed in the right way, at the right time, to the right people. Sounds like Nonprofit Marketing 101, right? Well, it is. Giving Tuesday is a global movement. Millions of people support nonprofit causes that mean something to them. So let’s dive into some ways to spread the good message and become meaningful to your prospective donor crowd.
1. Reach Your Target Audience
I feel like most list blogs start like this. Know your audience. It’s that important!
Specific organizations must target specific donor demographics. For example, if your organization serves children’s needs, you may be soliciting donations from parents and grandparents and education workers (people with their hearts set on helping little ones). If it serves breast cancer survivors, try to get in front of the eyes of people who’ve been impacted.
Which social media platforms does your target audience use? Where are they actively mining for education, enlightenment and entertainment? If your main outreach program is through Twitter, but you see many young parents are on Facebook, don’t be afraid to branch out beyond platforms you already use. If you’re reaching out to young adults, college students and even adolescents, you may want to try Tik Tok.
To compel your audience, know who they are and meet them where they are. In addition to social media, some audiences are best engaged through regular email blasts, phone calls, SMS messaging, or various combinations of strategic communications.
Some areas enjoy community-wide giving events tied with Giving Tuesday, a concerted effort to inspire donors to support nonprofits in their own backyards. Here in our backyard, we have Cattaraugus Gives by the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation in Olean, NY. It organizes participating nonprofits in a database, fosters creative messaging and offers incentives for collecting certain types of donations that day.
2. Create a Specific & Measurable Goal
Donors feel more motivated to donate when they feel connected with communal goals. Instead of persuading consumers to donate to the ‘as much as we can’ model, set a specific fundraising goal. And let’s take that a step further and tie the donations for something specific for the people and systems served by your nonprofit. (Ex. “This year for Giving Tuesday, the Bonaventure Food Pantry aims to raise $40,000 to build a sustainable farming program.”)
Specificity, especially for local/regional nonprofits, allows donors to get behind a meaningful initiative with a defined impact. This also creates a sense of community spirit to help your organization reach your donation bar. (It’s helpful if they can see this bar in real time.) When donors see how close you are to the goal, they may be more inclined to add those extra few dollars to get there!
3. Craft A Strong Message
Now, build your messaging around that goal. Your nonprofit has a story to tell. But it’s not even your story. It’s the story of the people your organization serves. Sure, you may give them a voice and a platform. You may let them say it themselves. You may clarify what they mean to say. But it’s still their story.
Here’s where many small nonprofits get the messaging wrong. Your message must be outwardly – not inwardly – focused. It’s not how a donation will help your organization to accomplish a goal, but how it will help people in need. (Ex. Not “Your donation will help us combat food insecurity,” but rather “Your gift will provide a hot meal on a cold evening.”)
4. Show & Tell
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? So much more – even one with no words at all. When possible, you should not only tell your nonprofit donor base why their support is important, but more importantly, show them.
While stats and pie charts and a beautifully crafted narrative about donation goals are helpful, strong imagery hammers the message home. For example, if you’re an organization focused on youth mentorship, show an example of how you’ve affected kids positively (ex. photos and videos of happy children playing with a mentor, a short video testimonial of children and parents discussing the benefits they’ve experienced, etc.).
Show them how their generosity drives results!
5. Engage in a Community Dialogue
Your Giving Tuesday campaign isn’t a one-sided conversation. People want to be heard. A simple way to nurture your donor base is by asking what they want to see. You could send out polls or interactive content to gauge:
- Community priorities
- Donor inspirations
- Public perception
- Organizational strengths and weaknesses
- Qualitative and quantitative data
What part(s) of your organizational mission do they find most helpful? What’s their vision for the future? Engaging in this dialog makes them a part of that future. And they’ll be all the more grateful (and generous) for it. Your donors will be more willing to throw in that extra dollar to support their own ideas.
Be Smart with Your Giving Tuesday Campaign to Build Momentum for Year-Round Donations
Giving Tuesday is a great chance to gain funding, whether donations that day net a large or small percentage of your nonprofit organization’s annual operating budget. Your audience is ready with open hearts and open wallets.
But it’s bigger than just one day. It’s an outreach campaign of international scale. If you play it right, you can spread word of your nonprofit mission effectively and stand out in the crowd. Isn’t that the point, to build a mission message that sticks in minds throughout the year?
Your campaign approach can be broad and malleable enough to apply any time or season. Save yourself some work later by creating it comprehensively and easily applicable to other times.
Giving Tuesday tends to sneak up on small nonprofits with limited resources. That’s OK. You spend all year tackling your mission. But all of the sudden, it’s the year-end giving campaign and you’re forced to cobble together a strategy at the last minute. We can help!