Planning Ahead for a Successful Fundraising Event Like #GivingTuesday

Planning Ahead for a Successful Fundraising Event Like #GivingTuesday

Giving isn’t accidental. For most people, the decision to donate money rests on who they know, who they trust, and what causes they care about. That’s what makes #GivingTuesday and #GiveLocal so special. When #GivingTuesday rolls around on Dec. 1, 2015, and when #GiveLocal takes place on May 3, 2016, both large and small non-profit organizations can benefit from extensive campaigns that raise awareness about who to donate to and why. But the keys are to be organized and prepared.

Promote events on social media early and empower brand ambassadors

social-media-increase-fundraisingNon-profits should be promoting their events three to six months in advance of the actual event. Pre-written Tweets and Facebook posts can help their brand ambassadors — like donors, volunteers and board members — promote the organization or event in an organized, timely manner. In working with nonprofit clients, I frequently write Tweets and Facebook posts for, or alerts brand ambassadors to what the organization’s page has posted, in order to encourage easy sharing from their personal accounts.

From posts reminding people about the date of your campaign to pictures on Instagram and Snapchat (a new social media network geared toward younger donors), you can make sure that your non-profit organization benefits from a large media event that’s fully designed to maximize giving. After all, pictures and videos generate 53 percent more engagement than other types of content on social media.

Social media is powerful, but on-the-ground efforts are essential as well. A media relations plan that reaches out to local and area journalists, and opinion pieces like letters to the editor, in advance of #GivingTuesday and #GiveLocal can make a big difference, as Jake Patoski of Salsa Labs says here. Additionally, volunteers have their own networks – be sure to encourage them to share their story as to why they are passionate about your organization. And don’t forget about local influencers (celebrities or philanthropists) who might be willing to lend their voice and online presence to a campaign.

The more a philanthropic campaign does to build community, the more attention it draws. Consider these 2013 statistics about #GivingTuesday from Nonprofit Quarterly:

#GivingTuesday “raised substantially more money in this, its second year. According to Blackbaud, they processed donations worth $19.2 million, an increase of 90 percent over last year. (On Giving Tuesday 2012, the online donation company processed $10.1 million in donations.)

This year there was a dramatic increase both in promotion of the event and in the numbers of nonprofits taking part. Not only were there more social media and email campaigns, there was also much more coverage in print and television.”

The increase in 2013 was largely a result of long-term promotion of #GivingTuesday. In 2012, the 92nd Street Y, which developed the concept, didn’t start promoting the event until September, leaving limited time for marketing. In 2013, it started much earlier. And it had an impact.

In 2013, for instance, The United Methodist Church used #GivingTuesday to create a one-day campaign to benefit the church’s Advance projects around the world. By the end of the day, the church had raised $6.5 million. It was the most successful fundraising day in the history of the church. Twitter feeds, a video, and pre-written statements that people could post to websites like Facebook helped raise awareness. The day of the event, however, generated the most interest for participating non-profits in general. The Los Angeles Times reported that social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon said it had tracked more than 320,000 tweets related to #GivingTuesday on or before Dec. 3, 2013.

Success builds success, especially when it comes to the snowball effect of Internet marketing and going viral. In 2014’s #GivingTuesday campaign, online giving was up 63 percent compared to in 2013. This year, maximize that momentum. Plan your campaign to coordinate with #GivingTuesday and #GiveLocal. But above all, have a plan.

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