How institutions can take their Day of Giving to the next level
- A day of giving is an opportunity to experiment with tactics, new ideas, and new technology
- Email campaigns should start early and include daily messages with a compelling call-to-action in each message
- The engagement data you receive from a day of giving can help you power advancement strategies for the future
We are heading fast into the holiday season, and with the well-known shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, let’s not look past the post-Thanksgiving event that holds more meaning and purpose.
Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season with a global day of giving. On this day we are bringing people together, from all over the world, united through the values of service and giving back.
The thing is, people are eager to give back and motivated to be a part of change. So let’s make it happen and help your institution take Giving Tuesday—or your institution’s own annual day of giving—to the next level with tips from by the Purdue Research Foundation’s Kate Pottschmidt, director of digital fundraising and Amber Turner, senior director for annual giving and stewardship.
If done well, you’ll accomplish a great fundraising event, you’ll have experimented with a variety of new ways to drive donations and engagement, and you’ll have created fresh opportunities to stay connected (or to reconnect) with alumni.
You don’t need a huge staff and tons of resources to pull it off. The tips below can help any institution get started or get better:
Boost your social media
The power of social media is stronger than ever before! If you aren’t currently using this tool what better time to start. Share images, videos, or stories of why people support your cause. There is nothing more powerful than a real voice sharing a story of impact. Incorporate active hashtags for your brand and campaign along with #GivingTuesday for a bigger reach.
Take it a step further:
With Facebook’s newest algorithm change, many fans won’t see your organic social posts. So let’s up the game and do some paid media and boost some of your posts on Facebook. Since Giving Tuesday is only one day long it is imperative that your posts get in front of as many people as possible.
Along with putting some money behind your posts on Facebook, use the ‘targeting’ feature to narrow down your audience by age/gender/location, etc. so the right people see your content.
Targeting tips: Upload a list of email addresses to the backend to target and get the biggest bang for your buck. Create a lookalike audience. For example, if your institution has a particularly vibrant arts and culture scene, target people living in your area who like and attend performances.
Hold a competition or challenge! Have some fun with this. Commit to completing challenges as you reach goals throughout the day. You can even incorporate social media – hop on Facebook Live when it is challenge time or have people post on social media using the appropriate hashtags to win a challenge. Games and challenges can range from getting local businesses involved, posting a leaderboard, or offering prizes—here’s a good resource for simple ideas with examples.
Take it a step further:
Have a match to encourage new donors to jump on board, and create a social sharing challenge to get your message spread far and wide.
Find an ambassador or influencer that can participate in your Giving Tuesday campaign. Having someone with a significant amount of followers and a strong social media presence will bring a momentous amount of attention to your conversation. Social media is all about the web you can weave. You never know the influence a post may have. And it’s crucial to take note of the folks who agree to participate as ambassadors, as they’re likely rising, passionate donors with whom you’ll want to take care in cultivating lasting relationships.
Take it a step further:
Create an ambassador challenge with your board of directors where the individual who raises the most money gets a prize or bragging rights for the whole year.
Start early! With all the holiday shuffle this time of year your audience will need to be reminded of the upcoming event. Create engaging email copy to send prior to your event; we recommend sending the first announcement a few weeks ahead if possible. Make sure your message is clear and concise, including a single action for the recipient to take.
Take it a step further:
The week leading up to Giving Tuesday be sure that you are sending daily emails. Perfect your message and be sure to include a CTA (call to action) at the end of your email. Give them a reason to open the email and to forward to others! Most importantly, make giving easy!
Also consider that not all recipients on your email list may be ready or willing to give financially, but may instead be interested in donating gifts of time and talent (which some argue is just as valuable in terms of cultivating long-term donor relationships with all ages of alums, but especially with millennials). If you don’t have the resources to set up volunteer programming around Giving Tuesday, you may consider finding a way to suggest or coordinate opportunities—and of course to encourage volunteers to post on social media using your team’s Giving Tuesday hashtag.
Wrap up, then mine the data
Plan and prepare the best experience you can for your donors. Be sure to follow up with everyone who gave a gift to your organization on Giving Tuesday, to celebrate the achievements of the event and of the institution and its alumni. Share a genuine thank you letting them know they are valued for their donation goes a long way, and wherever possible, be transparent and specific about how donations will be used, and be personal in your thank-you notes. (A personal connection is what drives donors to give in the first place!)
Not only will these strategies take your Day of Giving campaign to the next level but they can also be implemented year round to boost your digital presence. Additionally, if you have systems for tracking, reporting, and analyzing donor activity a day of giving is a brilliant way to rack up fresh engagement data by connecting or reconnecting with alumni—and whether you use a CRM system or something else, tracking and analysis of this data is essential to strategies that cultivate the next generation of giving.
That data can come in many forms: donations, social media engagements, personal information updates, email and web traffic, or event/volunteer participation. The personal engagement data from this day should be instrumental in follow-up actions the institution takes over the next several months.
Lastly, and it’s worth re-emphasizing, Giving Tuesday isn’t just about one day of giving. It’s an opportunity to check in with alumni, to introduce new opportunities for giving back (and new ways of giving back), and to do good things for the people and communities served by your institution.
Kate Pottschmidt and Amber Turner share their time at the Purdue Research Foundation with State of Wow, a digital consulting firm founded by the architects behind Purdue University's record-breaking Day of Giving. State of Wow uses experience with successful content-driven fundraising efforts to drive results.