By Amy Wong – President
Giving Tuesday has come and gone in 2018. The actual numbers aren’t in yet, but predictions are that the 2017 total of $274 million will increase significantly. More than $125 million alone was raised via Facebook, which likely will boost the 2018 total.
Giving Tuesday is playing a major role in nonprofit year-end giving strategies. And, for many of these nonprofits, Giving Tuesday is likely the only year-end solicitation or campaign they had planned for the year.
I have mixed feelings about Giving Tuesday. I like that the campaign has brought awareness to the idea of year-end giving – and giving in general, for that matter. However, I still find that many people outside of the nonprofit sector don’t know what Giving Tuesday is. And, for many of our clients and other nonprofits we talk to, they don’t really know if Giving Tuesday attracts new donors to their organization. (Knowing your data is another issue – to learn more about how I feel about data, look at our previous blog on the importance of data.)
Regardless of your opinion of or the success with Giving Tuesday, the 2018 event is over for the year. Whether you dipped your toes in the water with a small fundraising effort or went all-in to create a major awareness campaign, there are still things you need to do to follow up, so you get maximum benefit from the day.
- Thank your donors
If you used an automated platform, your donors likely received an automated receipt. This is great for tax purposes, but it’s a pretty informal and robotic way to thank someone.
Take time to send a more meaningful thank you if you can, or send a follow-up email with results from your entire Giving Tuesday campaign that show the impact of the day on your organization. If you don’t have an automated system, get those letters out ASAP. (In fact, they should have been out within 48-72 hours of receiving the gift.)
- Run LYBUNT and SYBUNT reports
There are still several weeks to go in the calendar year, which means people still have time to give before year-end. Run your LYBUNT (last year, but not this) and SYBUNT (some year, but not this) reports, so you know who you still need to solicit before the end of the year. You may have missed some donors on Giving Tuesday, and you still want to try to get those gifts before the end of the year.
- Do something with the information in the LYBUNT and SYBUNT reports
Once you know who gave to you in the past (and hasn’t made a repeat gift), you can still use tried and true methods to secure those last-minute gifts in the next few weeks. Make phone calls to key donors, send a quick letter to a small group letting you know you need their support and use your email list to drive donors to your website to make online donations.
- Capture the data
One of the challenges of using a platform like Facebook to solicit donations is that it is difficult to get the data. You may only get a donor’s name from a fundraising report. You may get an email if the donor chooses to share it. Remember, data is very important for nonprofits and knowing who your donors are and where to contact them is important when building long relationships.
- Make plans to show the impact of the gifts
People are fickle when it comes to giving to charity. In fact, less than 30 percent of donors who give to a charity make a second gift to that charity. Donors are also seeking more transparency from their donors and want to know where their gifts are going. For those first-time donors, make plans to send them something special to know how you plan to use their gift. Then make sure you regularly share information on how your organization is doing to keep them engaged. They don’t just want to hear from you when you want a donation.
- Do a retro
Take time to look at your Giving Tuesday efforts and see what went well and what you would change for next year. It is better to capture any information on a campaign while the memories are fresh. Reconfigure timelines if needed. Adjust deadlines and messages for the next year. Gather the data and know about your donor demographics from the campaign. And last, get key dates on your calendar. This will help set you up for the 2019 campaign.
Like any fundraising effort, Giving Tuesday needs to fit into your overall fundraising program. It can’t just be an isolated solicitation or the only piece of your development plan. It needs to complement the other things you are doing throughout the year and targeted to the right audience. It still needs to be thoughtful, well-planned and have follow up/stewardship components included in the strategy.
Whether you use Giving Tuesday as a platform to bring awareness to your organization or choose other methods, always remember that giving is about connecting donors to charities that are important to them.
Happy holidays from all of us at Dot Org Solutions.
Interested in learning more about how our Dot Org team can help you? Contact us at [email protected] or at 330-247-2180.