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Make #GivingTuesday a Success for Your Nonprofit

What began in 2012 as a counter-campaign to battle commercialism (dare we say “materialism”?) during the holiday season, #GivingTuesday has become a global movement to celebrate charity, and a statement of generosity and support within communities of all sizes. However, just because thousands of other nonprofits already participate in this annual event—the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—doesn’t mean that all available fundraising space is filled. This well-known event provides your organization with yet another opportunity to share your news.

There are several ways to use #GivingTuesday to kick-off and increase fundraising, and tell the world about your cause. All the hype can be used to not only educate the masses about your mission, increase your reach, and motivate existing supporters. It can also help to spread your message and gain new volunteers, and of course raise funds. Here are a few tips to help you devise a successful plan.

DON’T PANIC

Remember that part of the benefit of creating a fundraising campaign for this special day is that #GivingTuesday is doing some of the promotion for you! You are profiting from the popularity that has already been established. Even if you feel as though you are “late to the party” in your planning, you can still focus on the heart of what you want to do: raise funds.

Start small, especially if you only have a few months to create a #GivingTuesday campaign. You will be able to repeat a similar campaign next year, so any success, no matter how small, is still success. Fostering interest in your organization is a start, and even if you don’t reach your goals for this campaign, you may see increased support in your year-end or other campaigns planned closely on the calendar.

GATHER YOUR TEAM

Bring the idea to your core leaders. Together you can brainstorm what your goals will be, and suggest some steps and campaign ideas which fit the time of year and #GivingTuesday theme. Make sure to invite all stakeholders, and bring volunteers to the table who may have ideas to share. If you cannot set up an official meeting, use email/survey to come up with concepts which fit your goals. Provide data showing some of your previous fundraising campaigns to garner some ideas, and ask some of your employees and/or volunteers to tell stories where a specific campaign really made a difference.

Once you have a plan, even if you are starting small, sell it to your biggest promoters and donors. Their personal conviction will help you spread the word, and expand your reach through these brand advocates.

CLARIFY YOUR GIVINGTUESDAY GOALS

Like any other fundraising campaign you may have planned in the past, you should decide if it’s simply about funds raised, or if you are looking for gain other, more specific, benefits. Perhaps your nonprofit is expanding its reach and looking for more volunteers for this new venture, or you are wanting to expand your educational influence and looking for new sources of money, resources, and industry experts to do this. Whether your goal is monetary, simply increasing volunteers, or a combination of several ideas, keep them clear in all of your communication so that interested supporters know exactly what you are looking for.

USE ALL AVAILABLE OUTLETS

Since the creation of #GivingTuesday, online charitable donations have grown exponentially. People have begun to expect to make online donations during #GivingTuesday. Ask your brand advocates (employees, board members, and long term or large dollar supporters) to help you spread the news and share your fundraising campaign through social media outlets.

Don’t neglect email as another fundraising tool. You don’t have to wait until Tuesday to talk about Tuesday! Start emails early to build the excitement Black Friday sales start after the turkey dinner on Thursday afternoon, so open the doors for #GivingTuesday on Monday!

Direct mail is still useful; if it weren’t successful, it would not be widely used. Just make sure that your mailer is in the potential givers’ hands before the big day.

Online fundraising software is an efficient way to optimize your online presence and continue building your network of supporters. With The Lets Sponsor Fundraising Platform, you can create an online fundraising page, complete with an integrated payment gateway, which not only strengthens your branding, but allows your sponsors to help build your network with their own recognition. A mobile platform allows donors to make donations from any device, and customized templates allow for information specific to your organization.

READY, SET, GO!

Now that you have some ideas for making #GivingTuesday successful, you can move forward with your ideas. Just remember that you can take advantage of this special fundraising day, even if you didn’t develop a strategy in May. Remember that you have access to many creative ideas within your team and long-standing supporters, and knowing what your ultimate goal(s) for this specific campaign will allow you to focus your time and energy on what really matters. Finally, taking your idea to all potential outlets (social media, email, regular mail, and online platforms) ensures you have spread your mission far and wide!