Giving Tuesday: A Strategic Reimagining

Nonprofit professionals are eyeing November 27, 2018 with anticipation, and perhaps some anxiety. On this date, donors, volunteers, and social media bystanders will get a barrage of requests to support nonprofits near and far for Giving Tuesday.

As a young nonprofit professional, you might be on the marketing team tasked with creating that magical content calendar that breaks through the cacophony of requests. If you are on the development team, this is a critical fundraising day to closing the year out strong. It’s a tall order given that literally every nonprofit is doing the same thing. How in the world can you help your organization be successful? Below I propose a few ideas to approach Giving Tuesday more strategically.

Approach #1: Give First, Ask Second

Take this opportunity to show your appreciation to the volunteers, partners, and donors who work with you all year long. If possible, hold a small reception to thank them. No budget? Honestly, a simple phone call or email just saying thank you (not asking for money) will go a very long way. This should be disconnected from any donation request campaign, so not the Monday before Giving Tuesday. The subsequent request for support will be feel much more authentic and engaging.

Approach #2: Beta Test Opportunity

People are already in a giving frame of mind because of the publicity around this worldwide day of giving.That’s half the job. Use this opportunity to test new ideas to see what gets the best traction with your audience. Then, use the results to inform giving strategies all year long. For example, if your organization works on youth food access, does an email with a “Donate Now” button work better than a button that says “Donate to Fill Little Tummies”?

Approach #3: Cultivate Volunteers

In a recent Donor Loyalty Study, volunteering leads to donating. Nearly 75 percent of those who volunteered said they were more likely to donate to the organization. Think of Giving Tuesday as more than a fundraising campaign. It can also be a “future donors” campaign. Offer a volunteer opportunity as an alternative way to donate on Giving Tuesday. It will probably be a welcome message to cash-strapped Millennials especially. Create and promote a public calendar of fun and engaging community activities to attract new volunteers in 2019. Offer incentives to promote engagement. Hint: Do not push donations during volunteer cultivation.

For sure, you want to help your organization achieve its most fundraising immediate goals on Giving Tuesday. However, don’t ignore the possibilities for long-term benefits of thoughtful execution and planning of this year’s campaign. Good luck!

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