In light of GivingTuesday’s recent announcement of #GivingTuesdayNow—an event they are describing as a “day of giving, generosity, and unity” slated for May 5—we offer immediate steps to raise awareness and funds for your cause.

The purpose of participating in a giving day is to offer new and established donors a special reason to engage with your cause. Getting involved in giving days is essential, as they are increasing in popularity year after year. For example, #GivingTuesday, the best-known giving day that takes place annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is growing exponentially. According to the NonProfit Times, #GivingTuesday raised a total of $511 million online in the United States. This was an increase of over $100 million from 2018, an increase of nearly 28 percent.

When mapping out your plan for May 5, it is important to consider that the organizations that succeed on giving days have robust strategies that align closely with their wider institutional goals. We typically advise our clients to plan for Giving Days six months in advance, but with May 5 right around the corner, here are three quick tips for success to implement immediately:

1) Create a theme (and stick to it!)

Many organizations stumble on giving days by jumping into the conversation without proper branding which includes themes, colors, and cohesive case for support. Conveying mixed messages or an unclear case for support will confuse your audience. Your main goal should be to inspire them to get behind your cause. To maximize your outreach, you should approach your plan by thinking of #GivingTuesdayNow as a mini campaign. Come up with a title or tagline that works for your organization as well as a list of talking points that should be threaded through all of your communications until May 5.

2) Stand out above the crowd

Given the needs of so many nonprofits during this crisis, the chances are good that your audience will be inundated by pitches from many organizations. Therefore, the way you present your mission can make all the difference. In addition to creating and sticking to a theme, messaging with confidence helps you stand above the pack. It has been shown during previous times of uncertainty that the organizations who communicate a clear and confident plan for the future are the most successful. The simple reason is that donors want to back institutions that will follow through with their goals. Avoid messaging that shows desperation or insecurity about the months to come.

It is also important to remember that you will be attempting to attract new people who may not be familiar with your cause. For this reason, your messaging should aim to clearly underline who you are and why this day is special.

3) Execute an actionable outreach plan

Because time is of the essence, come up with a communications plan to use across channels. Assign roles to your development staff to spread the workload around. Once the plan is created, connect with leadership to align strategies for:

  • Existing Content: What digital content do you already have created? For example: videos from people who benefit from your cause or blogs already published that show the real impact of your mission.
  • Email marketing: With only a few weeks until May 5, consider sending 2-3 emails to your database that outlines your #GivingTuesdayNow theme and details how their participation is essential to your organization at this moment.
  • Social media posts across channels: Double down on your social media efforts by sharing content with your theme in mind. Always hashtag #GivingTuesdayNow to continue to remind your audience of the event. Helpful Tip: Consider tapping your development staff, volunteers, and board members to share content on social media from their personal accounts as well. It’s a great way to expand your network and reach the widest audience possible.
  • Website messaging: Put your #GivingTuesdayNow message at the top of your homepage for the next few weeks to grab attention. You may already have new messaging that addresses the COVID-19 crisis on your website, so you may just need to add an extra sentence about the event to the existing content.

For more tips on mastering your digital strategy during a crisis, click here.

If you’re just getting started, here are two reminders: 

  • Start small: Consider a reasonable goal for #GivingTuesdayNow to create an early win. It’s much better to overperform than underperform to build momentum for your next giving day.
  • Learn from other orgs: Take a look at the organizations who are already ahead of the curve and brainstorm what it will take for your organization to exceed their success.

Following your #GivingTuesdayNow campaign

The first thing to do after #GivingTuesdayNow is to track and publicize your results to celebrate your success. It is also useful to do an immediate internal evaluation to determine which parts of your plan worked and which parts didn’t. This audit will allow you to identify the outreach channels that were the most effective which will help greatly for future giving days. It is valuable to thank all donors who participated in elevating your cause through all channels.

CCS Fundraising is a strategic fundraising consulting firm that partners with nonprofits for transformational change. Members of the CCS team are highly experienced and knowledgeable across sectors, disciplines, and regions. With offices throughout the United States and the world, our unique, customized approach provides each client with an embedded team member for the duration of the engagement. To access our full suite of perspectives, publications, and reports, visit our insights page. To learn more about CCS Fundraising’s suite of services, click here.

CCS Fundraising is a consulting firm that works with nonprofits. We provide campaign counsel, strategic planning, and other services to strengthen development efforts for charities.

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About the Author

Dan Altano is a professional communications and marketing specialist who leads the corporate marketing department at CCS Fundraising. He has spent his career creating, executing, and overseeing marketing strategies for companies that aim to leave a positive impact on the world. He has advised nonprofits from all over the country on digital strategy and best practices as they pertain to fundraising.