Five last minute tips to make your Giving Tuesday campaign successful

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At the end of August, I wrote a blog post about how end of year fundraising starts in September. If you didn’t read it or didn’t get your start two months ago, this season is going to be a little more difficult. But, it’s not too late to see great results for your 2018 goals. Nonprofits have a great opportunity in just a few short days to take advantage of some momentum created by what has become known as #GivingTuesday (the Tuesday that follows Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday).

There are many, many creative ways to fundraise on this day and tons of articles on what to do on the day itself. (just check out So instead of focusing on that aspect, I want to offer a few insights into what you can do *this week* to prepare and make your Giving Tuesday campaign successful.

1. Send that

If your donors haven’t heard from you since the last time you asked them for something, get an email out this week. Thanksgiving provides a great reason to send a message of gratitude. With so many getting bombarded by “deal of the day” type emails right now, it’s a great time to send a message and not ask for anything. You can even consider using a clever subject line like “This email does not contain a coupon.” Don’t get bogged down in *how* the email looks. Just get the message out to as many as you can.

2. Prepare your Giving Tuesday plan

Which platforms will you use? Are you posting on social media? Your website? Making calls? Write out your plan and message for each platform and be sure to coordinate so that your message is consistent (but not identical) among all the platforms. If you’re planning to use social media exclusively, be sure to schedule posts throughout the day to reach users in the morning, afternoon and evening. Above all, test those online donations! Ask a staff member, friend, or family member to make a gift online and ensure their process is easy from start to finish. This is not the day you want to have technical issues.

And while you’re making your plans, be sure to plan time to thank each donor, either via email, text, a phone call or note. The golden rule? Thank it before you bank it!

Need help keeping everything straight? Download my Giving Tuesday planning sheet to help you plan your Giving Tuesday!

3. Get your data ready

While emotional giving is high this season, it’s not the time to throw caution to the wind and rely on anecdotes alone. Take some time to crunch the numbers and figure out your impact in quantifiable terms. Has your nonprofit saved your community money by offering programs that make individuals more self sufficient? Show it with numbers along with photos. For the best results, combine your data with a personal story. This is the time to dig into your donor database and use those reports. Having hard numbers to back up the emotional stories will only help your case.

4. Determine what only you can do & make that your central message

Whether we like it or not, nonprofits are competing for dollars. Especially in small communities, there can be overlap of services. But, there is something that you do better than anyone else and some service that only you can offer with your perspective and experience. Focus on that as you craft your message. It will set you apart and donors will see their gift as an investment in the work you do, realizing how critical your services really are.

And 4a…go ahead and get writing. Write the social media and email text you’ll use in a Google Doc so it’s ready to just copy and paste. If you really want to get ahead of the game, go ahead and schedule your Facebook posts so they are ready to go! You can also use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your Instagram and/or LinkedIn posts, too!

5. Practice self-care

This time of year can be overwhelming for nonprofit leaders. The fundraising is nonstop and directors tend to start feeling downright exhausted as they juggle the work, along with their own personal holiday stress. By doing some planning now, you can alleviate some of the work and therefore, go into the final month of the year feeling confident. Now is not the time to work through holidays and sacrifice your own sanity for the sake of the cause. Take time off where you can and take care of yourself. By planning for Giving Tuesday now, you can take Thanksgiving weekend off and be ready to hit the ground running on the following Monday and Tuesday!

My final thought: We can’t make people write the checks or swipe their cards. All we can do is share our story well and let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day, leaders should feel just as good about how they prepared for the giving season as they do about how much money they raised.

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