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Giving Tuesday: Making it Work for You

Every year fundraisers are asked, “Should we participate in Giving Tuesday?” The answer is the ever frustrating….it depends.

What is Giving Tuesday? It is a global movement for giving and volunteering. The eighth annual Giving Tuesday is December 1st, 2020. This is a day that calls for charities, individuals and companies to rally for a cause which “unites communities by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another”.

Before you start planning activities, it makes sense to ask a key question: what outcome do you hope to achieve with this strategy? This will help guide both your strategy and the resources you will invest. Take into consideration a number of factors, including what else is happening in your organization right now? What else is happening in your community for Giving Tuesday? Do you have a presence on social media that will help drive donations to your cause? Is this part of your annual campaign? Is this a strategy you can leverage to attain your goals?  Those are a few starting points for your reflection or discussion about whether this day warrants your focus and energy.

Giving Tuesday can be a useful component of your Fund Development Plan.  Whether your team is large or small, the key to success lies in a plan that integrates multiple communication channels.

If you flip the Giving part of Giving Tuesday on its head, you might consider using the opportunity as a stewardship strategy, as cited by my colleagues Danielle, Richard, Jane and Chris.

“I have been recommending to clients they do not ask for anything on Giving Tuesday. Instead, they can set themselves apart from the thousands of other charities by organizing a thank-a-thon when they call donors just to say thank you. It becomes a great opportunity to ‘give’ to the organization just by making the calls.”
Danielle Boucher, Senior Consultant, Atlantic

“I agree with Danielle. There isn’t anything special about ‘meeting your target by year end’ or ‘it’s our anniversary; you should give us something’. To differentiate yourselves, give donors a call on Tuesday and let them know what impact their gifts have made. Let them hear a client’s success story. And get your Chair to call, just to say hi.”
Richard Walker, Senior Consultant, Pacific

“Boys and Girls Clubs have renamed it Gratitude Tuesday.”
Jane Dafoe, Senior Consultant, Prairies

I love the suggestion of using Giving Tuesday to thank donors! I would recommend Giving Tuesday should not be seen as a single email blast. You need to tell stories in the lead up to it, during and post event to maximize results.

I have also seen teams make significant jumps on Giving Tuesday through highly personalized segmentation as part of a bigger plan.

For example, use the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday to thank donors, share testimonials on how Giving Tuesday gifts were used in the past and ensure each donor understands why these gifts are important. Cultivate and steward and informally survey these donors by giving them options on the stories you share them i.e. if given two or three options, will donors self-identify based on their click behaviours? Track this data, label it and use it to re-target and segment Giving Tuesday donors.

Rather than a generic Giving Tuesday message, leverage the data collected through stewardship to hit those donors with a segmented message based on their specific interests and behaviour i.e. what priority of your mission best aligns with each segment?  Use this data to improve participation.

Donor micro-behaviours can be used to tell better stories.”
Chris Steeves, Senior Consultant, Atlantic

These are great ideas for moving your stewardship forward. Chris has re-introduced some of the questions we started with: What is the outcome you hope to achieve? How much time and resource can you put into this strategy?  Have you considered utilizing this as an opportunity to gather donor data in a digital world?

Giving Tuesday is best implemented as a part of an overall fund development plan: a component which supports your goals.  Simply signing up and hoping for donors to choose your charity will generally not result in significant donations. As my colleague Val shared, it must be part of a larger plan.

Giving Tuesday can be used as an excellent tool for acquisition, especially for charities just starting out on fundraising.  

A good example is a client who recently received their charitable registration status and is in the process of designing their strategic fund development plan. Giving Tuesday will provide them with one element of a much more integrated program, and if done correctly, will deliver an opportunity of outreach and allow them to segment, cultivate and target their current and future donors in a meaningful and strategic way.

This activity can seamlessly be integrated into a charity’s social media strategy to provide clear analytics on donor preference and other key information for segmented marketing as their donor base builds.”
Val Hoey, Senior Consultant, Prairies

As you can see, we all have ideas about how Giving Tuesday might fit for organizations we work with. There is no single right answer on this strategy.  We stand by our knowledge that asking donors to give and ensuring we say thank you are basic components of a successful fund development plan. How do you think you might best use Giving Tuesday?

If you haven’t signed up for a free half hour on Virtually GLOBAL™, maybe this is a topic area you want to explore with one of our Senior Consultants? Give us a call and let’s think, build and lead together to create more sustainable organizations.