The “season of giving” is just around the corner, so it’s an appropriate time to discuss a question we often get from clients: Should we participate in Giving Tuesday?
With good reason, fundraising leaders are evaluating the role that giving days—and specifically Giving Tuesday—play in their annual plans. When resources are finite and there is more competition than ever for your donors’ limited attention, critical questions such as this must be addressed.
So is the Giving Tuesday turkey overcooked, so to speak, or is there still value in the national event?
To answer that question, we must begin with another: What are we trying to accomplish?
For base-level giving programs, the ultimate objective usually lands somewhere on the spectrum of generating revenue and building a pipeline of future supporters. Regardless of where you land, the built-in energy and excitement of Giving Tuesday may have something to offer. Generally speaking, what you’re trying to accomplish is activating a community of supporters to advance your cause.
When it comes to making the decision to participate, there tends to be two schools of thought. On the one hand, there are those who feel there is too much noise in the already-busy holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday appear to have merged into one very long weekend of consumer spending, not to mention the increased competition from every other nonprofit on Giving Tuesday. It certainly can be a challenge to differentiate oneself and furthermore, you’re adding more deliverables to your workload during your busiest time of the year.
On the other hand, there are those who see Giving Tuesday as the day during which philanthropy is elevated in the cultural consciousness. It infuses a sense of community among constituents and allows our donors to see—in real time—how they are part of a much bigger picture. And perhaps it’s not a bad way to kick off your calendar year-end campaign.
How can Giving Tuesday help to advance our mission?
From our perspective, Giving Tuesday offers a remarkable opportunity to gain exposure and enhance your connection to your audience. For some organizations, increased exposure means an opportunity to grow the community of donors by attracting new supporters. For others, it is simply an opportunity to highlight programs that don’t get a lot of attention during the rest of the fundraising year.
The turkey is far from overcooked. Just as you might experiment with a new side dish to accompany your tried-and-true classics, we encourage organizations to use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to try new ideas for expanding your audience. But more importantly, we suggest using Giving Tuesday as one event in a sustainable, year-round fundraising strategy.
To participate in a way that advances your mission, we offer three simple ideas:
- Tell compelling stories. Humans crave connection, and they seek to find personal connections with the stories they read. Show them how they can be a part of your success and mission. This advice holds true year-round.
- Keep it simple. Make it is easy for your donors to get involved and give. There are lots of gimmicks and lots of things you could do, but instead prioritize a top-notch donor experience that shows your supporters how valued they are.
- Don’t go it alone. Giving Tuesday is a team sport. Use the opportunity to engage your volunteers and staff who aren’t always directly involved in fundraising. Giving Tuesday is a day when the world is thinking about philanthropy, so ensure your closest friends are keeping you top of mind.
We will be digging deeper into this topic in an upcoming webinar, so make plans to join us on September 22 at 12pm CT.
Whether you’re looking to launch a new campaign or reinvent your Giving Tuesday program, BWF is here to help guide you through the process as an extension of your team. We take a holistic approach that is customized to fit your unique organization’s needs and objectives. To get in touch with your giving day version of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, contact James Barnard or Geoff Hallett.