Focus On These 7 Things for Giving Tuesday Success

Mark your calendars: Giving Tuesday is December 1.

You probably have a big red circle around the date already, as it’s the biggest giving day of the year for many organizations.

In fact, in 2019, Giving Tuesday raised $511 million online alone, and a total of $1.97 billion with offline donations—making it a monumental day for philanthropy, and for nonprofits. No matter what your position (or department), Giving Tuesday fundraising can be vital for programs and requires all hands on deck.

In order to adequately  prepare, we must first enter the headspace of our donors. No doubt, 2020 has been a big year of asks for donors. Heading into this year’s event, organizations are facing unique challenges, but also opportunities to make an ever greater impact. Your Giving Tuesday campaign is the perfect means to showcase all your hard work.

The big day isn’t far away, so let’s dive right in to these seven Giving Tuesday strategies that will help ensure campaign success.

7 Winning Giving Tuesday Strategies

1. Define what you want to accomplish and attach a number to it. Before you start thinking about any marketing tactics, set your goals (for example, acquire 50 new donors, raise a total of $75,000 or increase average donation by $20). Develop goals with your Giving Tuesday team, so everyone feels invested and inspired to get after it.

2. Identify an internal point person or co-leads, so people know who to go to if they have ideas, concerns or questions. Ideally, one lead would be a project management guru while the other would be a tech whiz who can develop day-of tech needs.

3. Stay positive. Stay Humble. This year, humble yet positive messaging resonates. Refrain from “now more than ever” or “in these trying times” language. Opt for a tone that strengthens a feeling of partnership and sincere gratitude.

Use Giving Tuesday as an affirmation that together, we can overcome life’s obstacles. Try something like, “Even in the face of a global pandemic, gifts like yours have allowed us to feed thousands of children,” or “During this especially challenging year, your gifts lift us up and allow us to provide comfort and relief to those we serve.”

4. Seeing is believing. If you’re worried about donor fatigue heading into this year’s event, remember: Donors typically don’t mind repeated asks. They do mind not being told what their gift will be used for or seeing the impact of their gift.

This “seeing” impact plays right into your Giving Tuesday campaign. Use video with a voice overlay, showing and describing how donors’ dollars made a difference. Avoid coming off too formal during your narration. This is a moment to be real.

DON’T FORGET: The key to an effective impact story is showing the chain of action (need→gift→impact) and that donors are the link that connects need with impact.

5. Make it easy for donors to give through online, mobile and text-giving platforms. While we’re on the subject of digital, it bears repeating to review your entire website to ensure it’s optimized for mobile devices, especially any specific donation forms or pages you’ve set up for Giving Tuesday.

6. Maximizing your partnerships can go a long way towards reaching your goal. Let’s say you’re partnering with a local business, like a grocery store, bank or sports team—perhaps a corporate match program or co-branded marketing effort could aid in expanding your donor base.

TIP: Again, try utilizing video, like this one from our client LA Regional Food Bank, to amplify partnerships and launch your own creative spin on Giving Tuesday messaging.

7. Consider ending the day with a nod to year-end giving. While Giving Tuesday’s messaging focuses on one day of focused philanthropy, this idea provides value to donors (i.e., tax savings and additional opportunities to make an impact) and subtly promotes planned gifts. Consider these apt approaches to giving:

  • Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from IRAs

Marketing Themes: simple but significant; making a gift from your most highly taxed assets; may help lower Medicare premiums or decrease Social Security subject to tax

High Points:

    • Donors pay no income taxes on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so donors benefit even if they don’t itemize deductions.
    • Since the gift doesn’t count as income, it can reduce donors’ annual income level. Could help lower Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.
    • A gift this year will lower future required minimum distributions, thereby lowering adjusted gross income.
  • CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act

Marketing Themes: a new charitable deduction; an opportunity for those who itemize

High Points:

    • Taxpayers who take the standard deduction can make up to $300 of charitable contributions to qualified charities and enjoy a special tax deduction. (The $300 deduction is per tax-filing unit, so the deduction is limited to $300 even for married taxpayers filing jointly.)
    • Taxpayers who itemize can make cash contributions and deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income for the 2020 calendar year. (The previous limit was 60%.)
  • Donor Advised Funds (DAFs)

Marketing Themes: “a simple, flexible and tax-efficient way to give to your favorite charities”; a smart way to give now or later

High Points:

    • A donor advised fund is like a charitable savings account set up by the donor but managed by a nonprofit, community foundation or the charitable arm of a financial institution.
    • Donors contribute to the account, which grows tax-free, and can recommend the size and frequency of grants from that fund to a particular organization or other nonprofits.
    • TIP: Many DAF owners are using their funds to respond to COVID-19. National Philanthropic Trust recently reported that the number of grants made in March rose 39%, and the value increased 120% from the same time in 2019. If you haven’t started asking for gifts from donor advised funds, you need to implement a marketing strategy ASAP.

Lend Your Thoughts

Tell us in the comments below what you’re doing differently this year in light of all that is happening. How are you improving outreach? What are the new things you’re trying out?

For more inspiration, resources and a complete toolkit, visit the Giving Tuesday website. And for tips on standing out and connecting with supporters on social media—likely the biggest and busiest platform for your Giving Tuesday outreach—check out “7 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions on Social Media for Nonprofits.”

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