GivingTuesday is coming up, and like every other nonprofit, you’re trying to take advantage of the holiday to raise as much money as possible. So you’ve got your emails prepped, your social media post scheduled, your website banners ready to go, and maybe even some ads you’ve invested in. But is it all really going to work?
If you’re a small nonprofit, I’m going to guess that you haven’t had much success from previous GivingTuesdays. But every other charity is doing it, so you might as well give it a shot again this year, right?
You should do marketing on GivingTuesday, but not the way you’ve been doing it in the past, and not the way every other nonprofit is doing it. I’ll show you a slight shift in your communication and strategy that will give your small nonprofit some big results.
What is Giving Tuesday and How Did It Start?
GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as response to consumer-driven holidays. After Thanksgiving, there was Black Friday. Then over the years, other spending days popped up – Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Following a weekend of consumerism (ironically after a day of gratitude), GivingTuesday flips the narrative as a day to be generous.
Today, GivingTuesday is both a global movement and an independent nonprofit that helps promote it. The day is designated to encouraging people to donate to charities, and nonprofits all over the world use it to promote their work and fundraise.
Is GivingTuesday Still Effective Today?
GivingTuesday is more popular than ever and and has solidified its place in the post-Thanksgiving week. More people than eve are aware of it, more people than ever are donating, and more nonprofits than ever are participating. But that’s part of the problem.
It’s become over saturated with nonprofits asking for money. It’s nearly impossible to stand out and people experiencing fundraising fatigue from all the messaging.
So who wins on GivingTuesday? Large nonprofits dominate the day. They have big ad budgets, influencer and celebrity advocates, and a large donor base to be their voice. They can cut through all the noise. All the while, small nonprofits get drowned out. Even if small charities try to run ads, they get little return for efforts.
So is GivingTuesday even worth it for small organizations?
What Should Small Nonprofits Do on Giving Tuesday?
Do some counterintuitive – don’t ask for donations. I know that sounds crazy because the whole days is about people donating to nonprofits. But that’s the problem. Every single nonprofit is asking for money, and unless you’re a big, recognized charity, people most likely won’t give to you – if they even see you in their social media posts.
As noted before, big organizations dominate GivingTuesday. If you’re a small nonprofit, you can compete with them using the same strategy. You need to do something different.
You need to ask your existing donors to share about you. This is where you can use the noise to your advantage. People want to give, but they don’t know who to give to when every nonprofit is asking for money. But they will trust a recommendation from their friends.
Your GivingTuesday marketing campaign should be to message all your existing donors and ask them to share online why they gave to your organization and why your work matters to them. Your strategy isn’t to get as many donations as possible, but rather to get new donors organically and authentically through the network of your existing donors. That will help expand your donor base and nurture them in the future.
GivingTuesday Strategy for Small Charities
If you’re a small nonprofit, here is a simple strategy you can follow to leverage GivingTuesday.
First, send a message to existing donors. You’ll most likely do this by email, and possibly direct mail. For major donors, it might involve a phone or video call.
In this message, Thank your donors, regardless if they gave recently or years ago. You may want to segment them into different groups.
Acknowledge their intent and goodwill. Donors want to be seen. In your message, tell them that they know how important the issue is, they “get it.”
Start talking about their friends. Tell your donors that their friends want to give, are but overwhelmed by all the nonprofits out there.
Ask your donors to share, not give. Instead of donating on GivingTuesday, they should share about the nonprofit online. Encourage your donors to get personal on why they care about the cause and why they choose your nonprofit.
Help your donors by proving templates for email and social media. Draft up content for them with fill-in-the-blank areas. Provide a link to a custom donation form so you can track the effectiveness of this campaign.
While GivingTuesday may be overcrowded and dominated by larger organizations, small nonprofits can still find success. The key is to not compete with big charities for donations. It’s to take advantage of the literal social network – leveraging your existing donors who already believe in your cause to influence their networks. With proper communication and preparation for your support base, you can acquire new donors on GivingTuesday who also trust your nonprofit because they were referred to you by their trusted friends.
I wish you all the best this GivingTuesday, because our world needs more generosity and more nonprofits like you. If you’d like help with a marketing strategy for your small to mid-sized nonprofit, connect with me for coaching and consulting.