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#GivingTuesdayNOW: 4 Ways Your Nonprofit Can Prepare

May 5, 2020 - Giving Tuesday Now - Is Your Nonprofit Ready?

With COVID-19 striking a major blow to consumers and businesses alike, nonprofits are also struggling. Service needs are up, donations are down. The good news is that there is some relief for nonprofits through the $2 trillion stimulus package, which will provide nonprofit loans and release checks to your donors that may be in a position to give. 

Another piece of good news is that GivingTuesday.org recently announced Giving Tuesday Now happening May 5. This is in response to the societal needs that have surfaced as a result of COVID-19.  This doesn’t give nonprofits much lead time to put together a plan for Giving Tuesday Now, but it’s still completely possible. You have more questions than answers, which may look like these:

-       This isn’t much time to prepare, should we participate?

Answer: Absolutely, there are still donors that are in a position to give and want to give.

-       Will we be ready?

Answer: You still have time to ready your campaigns. If you need some help, I created a 7-page #GivingTuesdayNow template that can give you a jump start here.

-       Is it even worth the time and effort?

Answer: This is the first time it’s been done. The question is not whether it’s worth the time and effort. The question is how much money will you raise if you DON’T participate? This is a giving opportunity for your donors and worth investing the time and resources.

-       Should I even be asking donors for money at this time?

Answer: This is a fair question. Some of your donors are absolutely struggling right now. Others are not. The key will be communicating empathy in your emails. Make sure you address those donors that are struggling and to let them know that you are there to support them. For those that are able to give, then you would ask that they support you during this time. It’s all a balance.

The real question is not should we do it, but how can we prepare for it to be successful? Keep in mind, many nonprofits that may have historically participated in Giving Tuesday won’t be participating in Giving Tuesday Now simply from the lack of awareness, time, or resources to plan for it. Let’s look at 4 ways your organization can prepare for Giving Tuesday Now to be set up for success: 

1.     Set a Goal for this Year

Many nonprofits will be cavalier about this giving day and just go in with a half-baked plan. By setting a goal (or goals) for Giving Tuesday Now, you’ll find that your planning will be more intentional, and you automatically increase your chance of success. 

Look to the past: Since this is the first year of Giving Tuesday Now, there's no historical data for you to review. At a minimum, take a look at how many gifts, new donors, and amount of revenue your nonprofit acquired the first year it participated in Giving Tuesday (if you have that data). Set a goal to increase those donations by 20%, new donors by 10%, and overall revenue by 25%. How will you do this? If your average during your first year of Giving Tuesday year was $40, create a specific offer for Giving Tuesday Now that is $50. So instead of asking people to simply “make a gift,” tell donors that a $50 gift will help fund X. On your donation page, start your giving levels at $50, but keep the “Other” giving option available if people want to specify their own gift. 

2.     Identify Your Marketing Channels

Several marketing channels exist in which your Giving Tuesday Now campaign can be used to reach donors, which include your nonprofit’s website, email, direct mail, social media sites, SMS messages, search engine marketing, and more. By identifying all the marketing channels available, you’ll get an overalls sense of what assets need to be created and the best way to execute your Giving Tuesday Now strategy within each of these channels. 

If you’re a brand new nonprofit with no email list, then you’d likely focus on social media ads as a primary (but not only) way to market your organization on Giving Tuesday Now. For more mature organizations that have built up its email list, then now’s the time to not just deploy emails, but target your email lists with Facebook and display ads. 

 

3.     Plan Communication and Messaging

Once you’ve identified the marketing channels that you will use for Giving Tuesday Now, you’ll need to figure out what the heck to say. Remember, you’ll be competing with Giving Tuesday Now messages from many other nonprofits. The key will be to distinguish your messaging from blending into the noise of other organizations. To do this, start by answering these following questions:

o   Why are we participating in Giving Tuesday Now?

o   What will donations help accomplish or fund?

o   Why is our organization unique?

o   What quantifiable gift and impact can we communicate (i.e. $XX will help do X)?

o   What does our creative need to communicate (images, copy, call-to-action)?

4.     Create Assets

After you’ve nailed down what you’re going to communicate, it’s time to get specific on what assets need to be created. This is beyond just saying, “we need to create email, social media posts, and web banners.” I mean really lay out a plan on a whiteboard or blank sheet of paper and identify how many emails, social media posts, text messages, graphic images, search marketing ads, etc you will need. 

This needs to be specific as possible. For example, if you’re sending an email a week before Giving Tuesday Now, one the day before, two on Giving Tuesday Now (May 5), and one follow-up afterward, then this would be 5 emails. What copy, subject lines, and images will accompany those emails? Also, how many social media posts will you create to promote Giving Tuesday Now and what will they say? Write all of this down. 

As you can see, these 4 tips don’t cover everything needed to prepare for Giving Tuesday Now; however, they include instrumental pieces for you to build out your campaign framework. Ideally, you’ll be able to schedule your emails and social media posts in advance through your email service provider and social media aggregates like Buffer or Hootsuite. Giving Tuesday Now will be a busy day, so as much as you can automate beforehand, the better. 

If all this looks like a lot, it is! No worries, I have a 7-Page Giving Tuesday Now Planning Workbook that you can download for free that will help out. It includes checklists, schedules, and much more. You can get it right here.
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