Giving days are 24-hour campaigns that nonprofits can tap into to raise money for their programs. The most prominent is Giving Tuesday, but there are many other examples of city, state, or themed giving days. The benefit of a giving day is that nonprofits can use the publicity surrounding the event to raise their profiles, reach new supporters, and generate funds. The main challenge with giving days is that as they gain momentum, more and more organizations are participating, meaning there’s more competition for a limited amount of support. If your organization is planning to participate in a giving day here are our suggestions for how to make the most of the event.
With more giving days popping up all the time, your organization needs to think strategically about which ones to be a part of. The whole point is to give donors, new and old, a special reason to donate. That uniqueness will be lost if you sign up for a different giving day every month. Look at your entire outreach and fundraising calendar, identify all the giving days you might want to be part of, and then see which ones fit best. If you’re planning a mid-year fundraising campaign, it may not be in your best interest to join a giving day at the same time of year. If you’re in for Giving Tuesday, plan the rest of your year-end campaign around it.
Think of your giving day like you’re throwing a party: You wouldn’t wait until five minutes before guests arrive to start getting ready, and you shouldn’t wait until the day before to get your giving day plans in order. Put the event on everyone’s calendars and create a plan for how you’re going to promote it via email, social media, and PR. Get down into the details: What landing pages need to be built? What materials need to be designed? Who is writing the press release? Do you need to pre-register, and if so, when? Whatever tools you use for project management, set them in motion for your giving day so you’re prepared well in advance.
Make it Special
We recommend creating a separate fundraising landing page that is special to the giving day you’re participating in. Publicize your specific giving day goal, make it clear where the funds are going and how they’ll be used. Think about using special graphics in emails and on social media. The day is important to your organization and is your focus—making an extra effort to emphasize that on all channels will emphasize that to your supporters.
Track and Evaluate
Giving days are different, but you should still follow your fundraising best practices. Top of that list is evaluating the giving day after it ends. Track your own results and check to see if there are official giving day data as well (like this Giving Tuesday report). Follow other nonprofits in your area or service type on social media to see if they publicize their results. Also evaluate your team—determine which parts of your plan worked and those that didn’t and create a better-next-time list. You need to determine which giving days are working for your nonprofit, and how your team can better prepare next year.
There are challenges to any fundraising campaign. So many factors go into why people do or don’t give money, or when they choose to do it. Giving days can be a useful tool for nonprofits, as long as you make the right preparations and have reasonable and achievable goals. If you’re interested in more giving day advice, or how to set up your fundraising tools for these special events, reach out to Firefly Partners today.