Giving Tuesday 2020 is shaping up to be one for the books!
This annual giving day is always a major opportunity for nonprofits to generate support while raising awareness for their missions, and this year is no exception (although the circumstances are a bit different). In this guide, we'll share some of our favorite Giving Tuesday ideas to help your organization generate more donations and plan a campaign with long-lasting benefits. Here's what we'll cover:
- Tech Tips for Giving Tuesday
- Tips for Planning your Giving Tuesday Campaign
- Giving Tuesday Ideas for Boosting Engagement
- Following Up After Giving Tuesday
But first, let's review why Giving Tuesday 2020 is so important for nonprofits of all sizes.
Giving Tuesday 2020: Why It Matters
Amid the challenges of 2020, the nonprofit sector has needed to quickly adapt to disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic has made most in-person events and engagement opportunities impossible, while the pandemic's broader economic impacts made the need for donated support more critical than ever. Virtual fundraising strategies and technology stepped up to the challenge, giving nonprofits new ways to safely engage donors, pursue their missions, and raise support from a distance.
Giving Tuesday Now was a special early version of the annual event launched in direct response to the pandemic's challenge. Quick preparation and smart digital strategies helped nonprofits of all sizes raise over $503 million online. This surge of support has been invaluable for helping participating nonprofits to continue their critical work and stabilize their operations.
However, even as we settle into something approaching a new normal, the increased need for charitable missions and the donations that drive them haven't gone away. In many cases, that need has accelerated.
Giving Tuesday is always an impactful day for nonprofit organizations, kicking off the year-end fundraising season with a bang. But amid recent events, Giving Tuesday 2020 (coming up on December 1st) has especially high stakes. This day represents a major opportunity for nonprofits to tap into online support and connect with donors after a long year of challenges and changes.
If your own organization was able to mobilize its strategies in time for Giving Tuesday Now, it's a good idea to build upon those tactics (and any other insights you've learned since then) to strengthen your approach to the year-end season. Plus, you can use the tips in this guide and other Giving Tuesday resources to build and refine a strategy that generates a new surge of long-term support for your nonprofit's mission. Let's dive in!
Giving Tuesday Ideas for 2020: Tips & Strategies
With Giving Tuesday being such a huge opportunity for generating support and reaching new donors, it definitely pays to be prepared. Developing a concrete strategy that encompasses tech, engagement, and follow-up will be the best way to maximize the impact of Giving Tuesday for your nonprofit.
Let's walk through our favorite tips and Giving Tuesday ideas broken down into several key categories, starting with something that's become increasingly critical for nonprofit success: technology.
Tech Tips for Giving Tuesday 2020
Amid the broader shift to virtual fundraising and engagement in 2020, technology will be more central than ever to nonprofits' Giving Tuesday campaigns. While much of the activity around this giving day typically occurs online anyway, expanding your strategies beyond social media will help you maximize support. Virtual events, multichannel digital marketing campaigns, and engaging online content will give your campaign a major boost. Here are a few tips for ensuring your technology is up to the challenge this year:
Review your data from Giving Tuesday Now (and after).
Start by reviewing your nonprofit's performance over the past several months. If you participated in Giving Tuesday Now, that engagement and donation data will be invaluable for your year-end efforts. What was your average donation size? How many new donors did you secure? You'll want to use those insights to guide your Giving Tuesday strategy, like by setting appropriate donation tiers and reaching back out to your new supporters. Using the right nonprofit CRM platform makes the data analysis process a breeze.
Audit your toolkit early in the planning process.
Your nonprofit's toolkit has to be up for the challenge of increased engagement around Giving Tuesday. Take some time early in your campaign planning process to audit your tech stack, checking things like your CRM, website, donation app, and marketing software. Are there any new upgrades or integrations that should be in place for December? Be sure to handle those sooner rather than later to avoid any tech chaos when the big day approaches. If you're looking to expand your toolkit, check out our favorite free nonprofit software for some recommendations.
Create a dedicated Giving Tuesday 2020 donation page.
In addition to your general donation page, it's a good idea to create a separate page specifically for Giving Tuesday. This has a few important benefits. A dedicated page allows you to adjust the wording and design to better fit that particular campaign and appeal to online donors. It also simplifies tracking the results of your Giving Tuesday campaign once it ends, since the majority of your donations on that day will flow through that page. This is a best practice for any major online campaign but especially for higher-volume giving days like Giving Tuesday.
Conduct A/B tests on your donation pages to fine-tune your appeal.
Prior to Giving Tuesday, create several different donation pages, each with unique wording, designs, and calls-to-action. Then, track how well each page is able to convert visitors into donors. This is a great way to fine-tune the details of your appeal once it's time to create your dedicated Giving Tuesday campaign page. If A/B testing is a new concept for your nonprofit's team, explore our guide to A/B testing for online fundraising for a quick rundown and examples of different tests you might conduct.
Ensure complete mobile-optimization on your site.
Giving Tuesday is all about online donations, and with the majority of web traffic now coming through mobile devices, your entire site needs to work well on screens of all sizes. A webpage or donation form that doesn't function well (or at all) on smartphones can potentially turn away a significant number of donors who get frustrated with the experience. Make sure your donation app allows you to create donation pages that are automatically mobile-optimized to reduce this risk, and take some time to check your site as a whole with tools like Google's Lighthouse.
Learn some SEO basics before the year-end season.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of strengthening your website's content to better perform on search engines. Optimized content will be much more likely to rank highly (and therefore get more clicks and visitors). A well-organized, functional website with content targeting specific keywords related to your mission will be essential. To get started, try writing blog posts about your mission, projects, and community and then build links to them on other online publications. This guide covers the basics of SEO for nonprofits.
Invest in any necessary software integrations.
Integrated toolkits of software that can freely share data make a huge difference for nonprofits over the long run. More thorough and comprehensive access to your data helps you continuously strengthen your strategies over time. For Giving Tuesday, you'll definitely want to ensure that any tools your donors interact with (like your donation page, marketing software, and website) integrate with your database or CRM. This will help you automatically record data about those interactions and save the contact information of new supporters for future outreach.
No matter the extent of your tech know-how, it's definitely a good idea to optimize your website before a major giving day. To review the essentials and first steps that any nonprofit can (and should) take, check out our list of website updates to boost your Giving Tuesday campaign.
Tips for Planning your Giving Tuesday Campaign
Once you've reviewed your technology and begun preparing for an influx of Giving Tuesday donations, it's time to dig into the specifics of your campaign. The campaign planning process is essential for laying the groundwork for your Giving Tuesday efforts. This can include how you'll promote your campaign and how you'll engage donors with other opportunities and events. Use these tips to begin planning your campaign:
Start planning as early as possible.
For a year-end fundraising campaign or giving day, you'll want to begin preparing your strategy months in advance. For Giving Tuesday, this means laying out your tech, marketing, and engagement plans in the summer or early fall. This will give your team plenty of time to review your data, develop strategies, make necessary tech upgrades, and draft your promotional materials. With online-only campaigns, it can be easy for tasks to fall through the cracks, so a headstart will be invaluable as Giving Tuesday approaches.
Register your nonprofit with GivingTuesday.org.
This one's a no-brainer! Register your nonprofit to participate at GivingTuesday.org. Signing up gives you access to a wealth of helpful resources and gets your nonprofit on the official list of participants. If you're actively planning your Giving Tuesday campaign and haven't yet registered, go ahead and do it now. You definitely don't want to wait to get involved.
Assign a Giving Tuesday campaign lead or committee.
As with any major project, there are a lot of moving pieces involved with an effective Giving Tuesday campaign. Form a committee to take ownership of your organization's Giving Tuesday campaign, and choose a team leader to direct the entire process. An organized approach will help reduce the chances of anything getting lost in the shuffle or neglected. Within the committee, consider appointing designated leads for technology, marketing, or any other element of your campaign that requires a more focused approach.
Set SMART goals for your Giving Tuesday campaign.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria will help you set campaign goals that your nonprofit can realistically achieve and build concrete strategies around. For Giving Tuesday, you'll likely want to set goals related to both revenue and donor engagement. For example, how much do you want to raise in total on Giving Tuesday? How many new donors do you want to acquire? How much social media engagement do you want to generate? Specific goals will be invaluable for keeping your strategies focused.
Incorporate visual-centric events and tactics.
As an online campaign (and especially amid the necessities of virtual engagement in 2020), your Giving Tuesday campaign will have to stand out from the crowd online. Well-designed visuals to promote your campaign on social media and engaging virtual events will be extremely helpful for catching donors' attention. Consider incorporating one or more virtual parties, discussions, livestreamed events, and fundraising appeals into your broader campaign. Social media platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram Live have made it easier than ever to stream live events to donors. If you haven't yet hosted a virtual event, study up with our complete guide.
Consider all the ways donors might contribute.
Although online donations are a huge focus of Giving Tuesday campaigns, remember that an even broader goal is to generate more awareness of and engagement with your mission. Think of other ways supporters can join your cause and incorporate them into your campaign messaging. Newsletter sign-ups, social media shares, and virtual volunteering are all valuable ways that supporters can contribute to your campaign without making donations.
Begin preparing your marketing content early.
Between social media posts, emails, newsletters, blog posts, recorded videos, and live-streamed events, Giving Tuesday campaigns can involve a wide range of marketing materials. That being said, don't wait to begin drafting and fine-tuning them! A dedicated marketing chair on your Giving Tuesday committee should focus solely on brainstorming and creating engaging, well-designed materials to promote the campaign. You'll want to begin spreading the word to supporters at least a month prior to Giving Tuesday, so having content ready to go will be invaluable.
Giving Tuesday Ideas for Boosting Engagement
With your Giving Tuesday strategy in place, it's time to launch your campaign and start generating buzz! Once your campaign is live, it's important to actively boost engagement up to the giving day itself. This will keep supporters engaged with your message and excited to donate. Plus, it can help increase your nonprofit's visibility online as supporters share your posts and spread the word. These engagement boosting strategies can take your Giving Tuesday campaign to the next level:
Embrace peer-to-peer fundraising strategies.
Peer-to-peer fundraising has been a major trend in the nonprofit world for years now, and for good reason. By empowering your supporters to fundraise on your behalf, you can generate more donations and reach more donors than you could've secured on your own. Peer-to-peer fundraising is an ideal engagement strategy for Giving Tuesday since these campaigns are already social media-centric. Use donation tools that make it easy for supporters to launch their own customized giving pages, and then let them loose to start spreading the word leading up to Giving Tuesday!
Recruit high-powered ambassadors to promote events.
If you're hosting virtual events, like online auctions or galas, as part of your broader Giving Tuesday campaign, consider taking a more strategic approach to peer-to-peer fundraising by recruiting ambassadors. These well-connected supporters are ideal partners for promoting larger-scale events and campaigns (even virtual ones). Equip them with resources and training, and set specific donation or registration goals for them to pursue. Then, make sure to recognize and reward them during your grand finale event!
Host a live-streamed telethon event.
Consider hosting a live-streamed event on Giving Tuesday to engage supporters. Encourage supporters to tune in as you showcase your mission, discuss projects and challenges, and make live donation appeals. For maximum engagement, have a team member manning your social media profiles during the live-stream so that you can respond to supporters' questions and submissions in real-time. Live video is a powerful engagement tool, so explore your options if you haven't yet hosted a virtual event like this.
Engage directly with supporters on social media.
During your entire Giving Tuesday campaign leading up to December, take an extremely active approach to your nonprofit's social media presence. Aside from direct engagement during live-streamed events, take every opportunity you can to respond to supporters online. Create new opportunities for engagement by launching social media contests and encouraging followers to post about your mission using a special hashtag. Connecting with donors has been especially critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and social media is an ideal way to engage directly with the people who drive your mission forward.
Track progress in real-time on your website.
Create a fundraising thermometer or another dynamic graphic to display updates on your Giving Tuesday campaign. Simple gamification tactics like this can go a long way to boost engagement and energy, particularly as the giving draws comes to a close. Running behind schedule with donations? Blast an update to your supporters with your fundraising thermometer, urging them to help you reach your goals. A visual display of your progress can be a powerful motivator when words alone can get lost in all the buzz of the year-end giving season.
Focus on storytelling in your marketing.
Across all of your Giving Tuesday marketing materials, prioritize storytelling. Focus on illustrating your nonprofit's impact and your mission's importance using stories of real people, projects, and challenges. This keeps the emphasis on your impact (and the impact that new donors can have) rather than on your organization alone. Look for opportunities to showcase stories about your nonprofit's impact in your blog, social media posts, videos, and live-streamed events.
Emphasize your suggested donation tiers.
Donation tiers can be a powerful way to boost campaign results. Look at your data from previous campaigns, ideally your fundraising results from Giving Tuesday Now or previous Giving Tuesdays if you participated, and determine the average donation amount. Then, develop tiers of suggestions based around that average, steering donors towards giving more if possible. For a complete rundown on this strategy and implementing it on your donation pages, check out our guide to designing ideal suggested donation tiers.
Following Up After Giving Tuesday
After a successful and hopefully very busy Giving Tuesday, there's still important work to be done. Giving Tuesday is a huge opportunity to reach new supporters and reconnect with loyal donors. Don't let that engagement go to waste over the months ahead! Build these follow-up strategies into your campaign plans from the beginning so that your team can prioritize them as soon as the giving day ends. Here are our Giving Tuesday follow-up recommendations:
Immediately thank every donor.
This tip should go without saying, but immediately thank every supporter who gives to your Giving Tuesday campaign. A message of gratitude in your donation follow-up goes a long way to show that you appreciate their support and look forward to sharing your mission with them going forward. Most modern donation tools and apps include automated thank-you email features, but double-check now that yours does, too. Additionally, a donation tool that integrates with your CRM will ensure you automatically save the contact info of new donors for future follow-up.
Focus on your donors' impact.
In your follow-up messages to donors in thank-you emails and in your post-Giving Tuesday announcements, emphasize the impact that your donors have had on your nonprofit. Instead of focusing solely on the total support you raised (although that should definitely be celebrated), frame your results in terms of impact. What will all of those Giving Tuesday donations allow you to do? How many people will it benefit, or how will it affect your community? Donors want to know their support has had a tangible impact whenever they give.
Closely review your data to find trends.
Just as you should start your Giving Tuesday with analyzing data, you should end it there too. Review your campaign results to find useful trends. For example, what was your average donation size? How many past donors gave to your Giving Tuesday campaign? Did anyone give to your campaign more than once? Did one particular marketing outlet or event generate a surge of donations? Questions like these can yield invaluable insights to guide your future campaigns and strategies.
Define donors' next steps for engagement.
What do you want donors to do after Giving Tuesday draws to a close? Without a concrete idea of what that next step for engagement is, you risk losing the interest of new donors that you worked hard to attract. In your follow-up emails and messaging, point supporters towards ways to keep growing their impact on your mission. Signing up for your newsletter, registering for an upcoming event, or setting up a recurring donation in your monthly giving program are all great ways to keep donors engaged with your nonprofit.
Create a monthly giving or membership program.
Speaking of monthly giving, create a membership program for your nonprofit if you don't yet have one! Even simple programs that offer basic perks to recurring donors can supercharge your donor relations and retention efforts. Make sure your donation app supports recurring donations, and outline the perks that members receive in exchange for monthly support. Then, encourage Giving Tuesday donors who went above and beyond to support your campaign the chance to engage more personally and grow their impact on your mission.
Identify your most passionate supporters.
When analyzing your Giving Tuesday results, be on the lookout for donors who had an outsized impact on your success. Large donations, tons of social shares, and time served as an event ambassador are all strong characteristics to look for. Then, personally reach out to these individuals to express your gratitude. This is a great starting point to launch next year's prospect research efforts, as your next major donor might have first encountered your nonprofit through your Giving Tuesday campaign.
Have a plan for the rest of the year.
Finally, remember that the year isn't over yet just because Giving Tuesday is finished. Take the rest of the year-end giving season as an opportunity to double down on connecting with supporters, growing your relationships, and soliciting more donations online. Remember, donors will be looking to make their last tax-exempt contributions all the way up to New Year's Eve, so make sure your mission is at the front of the minds.
Armed with these tips, your nonprofit will be ready to pull off your most successful Giving Tuesday campaign yet. And with the unprecedented circumstances around Giving Tuesday 2020, all of that support is probably more important than ever for furthering your mission. No matter the size of your organization, this year-end giving season is one opportunity you shouldn't pass up. Get started planning your next campaign now, and best of luck!
To learn more about online fundraising strategies, keep exploring with these Soapbox Engage resources:
- Top Online Donation Software Options for Nonprofits. Your donation software is one of the most critical parts of your toolkit any time of the year. If you're looking to make an upgrade, check out these recommendations.
- Venmo and PayPal Alternatives for Nonprofits. Growing organizations in a hurry to raise support often choose more general payment processing tools that don't offer the nonprofit-specific features they need. Explore these alternative providers to learn more.
- Virtual Fundraising Ideas During COVID-19. Looking for more ideas to engage your donors with virtual campaigns and events? These are 20 of our favorite virtual-friendly ideas for fundraising in the age of social distancing.