By Paul Heaton, eAdvancement Consulting
By focusing on gratitude and guiding people away from all of the post-Thanksgiving consumerism, Giving Tuesday has been a blessing for many non-profit organizations.
But it also is a day that has become saturated with messages. My inbox and social media feeds were flooded with messages this year…so much so that I didn’t click on any of them.
Because none of these organizations laid the groundwork for Giving Tuesday. It was just another solicitation. Another transaction. And EVERYONE, it seems, now has a Giving Tuesday campaign.
The day, it seems, has become the November version of the year-end solicitation that most organizations mail. It’s just the online version.
If this is working for your organization, that’s great…tell us how!
Otherwise, now might be a good time to ask a few questions, like:
How much time and effort is going into your Giving Tuesday efforts?
Given the big campaigns that many organizations plan, you may not be able to stand out among the dozens of other worthwhile organizations that also are contacting your supporters. Be realistic about what you can accomplish with your limited resources.
What’s your real goal for the day?
To devise the best messaging, you need to focus. Is it donor acquisition? Securing additional gifts from current donors? Capturing lapsed donors?
Set specific, measurable goals.
Are you simply capturing donations that would have come at another time?
Time for a dive into giving patterns and timing…and maybe ask your donor base about their Giving Tuesday habits. Be honest with them: You need to maximize private philanthropy, and understanding your supporters’ habits and preferences will make you more efficient. You don’t want to be a noodge, after all, but you want to earn their continued support. Ask their advice before planning next year’s activities.
This is the most important question to ask
Is there a better day on which to focus your supporters’ attention?
Most organizations would do well to put more resources toward a day that has unique and specific meaning to that organization. Perhaps it’s your founders day, or a significant anniversary or milestone.
Identify a date on the calendar, and create meaning and purpose behind it for your supporters. (See example below.)
Make it YOUR day and own it every year going forward.
Consider this for next year
My eAdvancement colleague Gary Olsen has a great suggestion: Instead of focusing on solicitation, invite your constituents to share a personal story of how they contribute to the spirit of Giving Tuesday in deeds and in actions, using social media as a means to share those stories with others.
How’s Giving Tuesday working for your organization?
Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments on LinkedIn:
A hypothetical example of owning your date
On Aug. 15, 1982, our food pantry opened its doors for the first time. That’s why every Aug. 15 we celebrate that anniversary and the fact that, 40 years later, we now operate three food pantries that annually serve more than 4,000 deserving people in our community. Aug. 15 will always be a day of honoring those who have made our work possible, as well as a reminder that our friends and neighbors continue to need our services and support.