What to Consider when Planning your Nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday Campaign

Holiday décor is already on the shelves, which marks the time for nonprofit communications professionals to begin planning their charity’s #GivingTuesday campaign. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the most notable shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year it will be on November 29, 2016. Many people focus on their charitable and year-end giving, a time when they are most generous. With support from individuals who share their favorite charity and donate on this day, #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media and collaboration.

Nonprofit Communications and Media Network and Center for Nonprofit Management hosted a panel of media and nonprofit experts who discussed how to plan and execute a compelling and newsworthy #GivingTuesday campaign. Moderated by NCM Network Board Member Debbie Laskey, a brand marketing, PR and social media consultant, the panel comprised of Albert Lawrence, digital content producer and correspondent for ABC7 LA, Kristin Marguerite Doidge, Los Angeles Business Journal, Dan Hanley, development and communications director, CASA of Los Angeles, Diego Ortiz, marketing and communications manager, PAWS-LA, and Alison Zito, vice president of communications for Step Up.

While our media representatives admitted not much has been featured on #GivingTuesday, they recommend nonprofits begin pitching now and submitting their stories well in advance. The election results and implications will still have prominent placement in the news yet good-feel stories with celebrity tie-ins or trending topics could make it on the news. However, Lawrence warned, “If you are selecting a celebrity that you want to attach to your cause, it can limit or enhance your chances.”

Zito said that when planning your campaign the fewer links you have, the more people will do. Be more direct and specific in your ask. Other nonprofit panelists agree with her tip. Oritz added that we must be mission-focused. Hanley said to be excited about #GivingTuesday and if you’re the flag bearer on this campaign, rock it.

“This isn’t about funding or getting money, it’s about building lifelong relationships with people who don’t know about your cause and can have a huge impact on what you do everyday,” said Hanley, who focuses on how man donors will participate rather than how much they want to raise.

When planning your campaign, setting measurements is a key component. You’ll want to look at the social media channel’s analytics for posts, determine donor engagement metrics; assess what worked and what didn’t, determine who gave from your donor mailing list versus who was not in your database and made a gift, and identify giving amounts.

Encourage 100% board participation, which not all has to be based on donations. Board members who promote what the charity is doing are engaged. Remember to thank your donors, whether it’s an immediate email reply, text, or phone call. You’ll be surprised how a “Thank you” goes a long way. Hanley’s charity, CASA, hosts a volunteer event on that night.

Ortiz suggests having A/B testing when sending eblasts to “see what hits and sticks.” Once you see the metrics then you can learn from what failed.

Another tip the nonprofit panelists gave was to use each platform for different content and copy, including video. Based on an article by Social Media Today, Facebook now serves a staggering 8 billion video views per day – that’s double the amount the video content users were consuming in early 2015. In addition, according to a study by Social Bakers, the average video post generates 135% greater organic reach, when compared to photo posts.

Panelists offered these final tips when planning your #GivingTuesday campaign:

  1. Be excited about the campaign
  2. Amplify social media efforts now
  3. Create emotionally compelling content
  4. Know where your followers are and use that social media platform
  5. Be clear on what your ask is and tell your volunteers who will help promote the campaign

To learn more about #GivingTuesday, visit www.givingtuesday.org.