As we look back on the past 18 months, a ton of crazy things have happened. The COVID-19 pandemic radically changes the lives of every single person on the planet. No one was left untouched by the devastation.
People lost their jobs, were separated from their families and loved ones and faced the fear of the looming coronavirus.
At the start of the pandemic, what we saw were people hoarding everything they could to survive the unknown amount of time of quarantine. This time brought out a lot of ugliness so often found in the human heart; our tendency to selfishly protect our resources and fend for ourselves. In parallel, what we began to see as time passed was the overwhelming beauty of the human spirit.
Amid all of the chaos, division, and bleakness of 2020 came a dim, yet bright, light. As messed up as humans are, we still have this astounding tendency to band together in times of crisis.
Although shouts of division were deafening last year, there were so many moments of unity, kindness, and generosity.
This generosity grew and grew throughout the year. We saw so many churches and other nonprofits supply food, toiletries, and other necessities for their communities. We are sure you’ve heard of people in your community creating and donating face masks, shopping for their elderly neighbors, and helping those who lost their jobs with financial responsibilities.
This spirit of generosity did not get thwarted by the ups and downs of the pandemic, and giving grew as the year went on. Once the end of the year rolled around, something astounding happened.
A whopping 10.8 million Americans were unemployed by the end of 2020 as a result of the global pandemic. You would think that this would make the country’s charitable giving plummet to the ground, but in reality, giving only increased.
On Giving Tuesday 2020, $2.47 billion was donated to U.S. nonprofits by a reported 34.8 million people. Just for perspective, this is a 29% increase in comparison to 2019 Giving Tuesday donations.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving in the United States wherein generous donations are geared toward non-profit organizations.
This day was intended to encourage charity amid the consumer-based Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday always occurs at the end of November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
This day is also strategically set at the end of the year because the last quarter yields the highest giving. This is partly because of the infectious holiday spirit… but also the tax benefits of charitable giving that need to be squeezed in before the end of each year.
Giving Tuesday is a very important day for non-profits because of its notoriety on social media, the ease of one-time giving, and the ability to run special campaigns on this high giving day.
You may wonder why we are mentioning last year’s statistics on Giving Tuesday. We saw record-breaking numbers last year, and 2021 is predicted to be no different. The spirit of generosity is up and it is expected that 2021 will be the biggest Giving Tuesday to date.
While last year much of the charitable giving was geared toward larger, pandemic-related causes, this year will shift back toward charitable giving on smaller scales. And as our economy has recovered and more are back at work, there are more resources to be given to nonprofit organizations.
Planning for Giving Tuesday does not have to be overwhelming or complicated, but following a strategy for success is key. So here are a few tips for planning for Giving Tuesday in 202!
1. Review your data and wins/losses of 2020
A key element of growth is knowing your history. If you do not dive deep into your past successes and failures, you will never develop, or you may end up repeating the same mistakes. Part of any financially healthy organization is doing a financial report or review of your company.
For our purposes, doing a detailed analysis of your 2020 Giving Tuesday results will be key to setting up success for this year. The truth is, 2020 was a unique year, and not all the same rules will apply; much of what worked last year may not work for you this year. But taking a look at what killed or excelled your giving numbers will help prepare you for this year’s campaign.
2. Figure out the goal of your Giving Tuesday campaign
Every nonprofit organization knows the necessity of running particular campaigns, especially on Giving Tuesday, but not every organization sets out a clear purpose. Anyone can run a campaign, but if there is no specific goal painted clearly for your donors, it may not amount to much.
The perk of Giving Tuesday is that it truly puts giving on the mind of many, especially those on social media. The #Giving Tuesday can be seen everywhere, but the organizations that bring in the funds that day are the ones who stand out through their campaigns.
What is your overall goal? Is there a specific project or building you are raising money for? Is there a specific dollar amount you are setting to reach? Setting out the goal is key to moving forward with your campaign, and this goal should be a representation of your organization and its existing values and goals. Sharing these goals is where the value of storytelling comes into play.
3. Tell your story
As stated above, giving is on the minds of many at the end of the year. However, Giving Tuesday is not just a day to get a bunch of money and run. It is a unique opportunity to build relationships through storytelling.
You can compare this day to Easter and Christmas in the church: many people who do not regularly attend church attend these two holidays. This lends churches the opportunity to share the Gospel to those who are normally not a captive audience.
To neglect to tell this story would be to neglect to reach many, many people.
Giving Tuesday allows the room for you to reach a brand new, highly captive audience. This day practically begs you to tell your story because many are more inclined to hear it.
Telling your story can involve many different elements. You can utilize video interviews, nonprofit volunteer introductions, your origin story, and so much more. When it comes down to it, your story is just that – your story! No one has a story like your nonprofit, and Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to share it!
4. Blast social media & inboxes
Giving Tuesday has had the amount of success it has almost solely due to social media. The hashtag itself generates an entire collection of organizations, volunteers, and ambassadors’ social posts and overall support. As a result, social media will be a huge part of planning for Giving Tuesday.
This content can be as short and sweet or as lengthy as you’d like. But overall, there are a few key things you want to include throughout the campaign
In correlation with social media, you should also be sending out specific Giving Tuesday campaign emails. The content can be similar to your social media content, but obviously can be much more fleshed out than a single social post. This is also where our next element of planning will come into play.
5. Utilize a landing page
A landing page is a standalone web page that is created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. This page exists apart from your existing website and is used to get viewers to focus on a specific action.
Using this type of page can help to streamline your campaign and provide greater detail than just your social media campaign or email presence alone.
You can have a lot of fun with this page as you include interaction elements (such as a progress marker or timeline) and more in-depth information about your organization.
This page is where your donors will go to give to the campaign as well. While it could also work to add a “Giving Tuesday fund” to your existing giving, creating this landing page can streamline your campaign and make your goals clearer to donors.
6. Express gratitude
Nonprofits are truly nothing without the faithful support of donors, volunteers, and ambassadors. Through their generous financial and time contributions, these people are weaved in the very fabric of charitable organizations. For this, they truly deserve gratitude and thanks!
Expressing this gratitude to your supporters is the icing on top of the Giving Tuesday cake! This is a great opportunity for you to truly get to know the person you are thanking every further. This takes time and effort on behalf of the nonprofit organization and its volunteers.
If you are able, sending personal letters (or emails) of thanks to your supporters is a great idea. This also helps to extend the invitation to further that relationship. You can turn one-time givers into recurring givers through the simplicity of your gratitude and appreciation!
As we approach the end of 2021 (can you believe it!?) we are entering into the holiday season where spirits are high, and generosity is seen all around us. This time is not just about racking up the dollars for your nonprofit – it is about developing relationships with those who genuinely care about your cause and bettering the world.
This Giving Tuesday is bound to be the biggest one yet. Are you ready for it?
If you’re not sure where to begin in developing your Giving Tuesday campaign materials, we can help. Our team of designers, writers, web developers, and social media gurus are ready to get you started on the greatest giving campaign yet. So contact us today to get started!
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