Nonprofits looking to tap into the generosity of the wider public have to get creative.
While most people are kind-hearted and love the idea of supporting philanthropic causes, interrupting their busy days and convincing them to pull out their wallets is another matter entirely.
Events and holidays, however, present unique opportunities for nonprofits to capitalize on the giving spirit and capture the attention of supporters who are already in a compassionate mood.
Along these lines, Giving Tuesday has become a global movement for nonprofits to harness the power of charitable giving centered around an annual campaign.
#GivingTuesday has generated remarkable support since its inception, propelling over $3.1B of donations in the US alone in 2022.
But while it’s worked for nonprofits as a whole, individual organizations need to ask the question: Can Giving Tuesday work for us specifically?
It’s tempting for nonprofits to see a giant pie and assume they can easily get a slice, but competition and crowded messaging often make this difficult.
Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket next Giving Tuesday, consider the alternatives we lay out in the following article and learn about some common pitfalls.
- What Is Giving Tuesday?
- Why Do Nonprofits Focus on Giving Tuesday?
- The Downsides to Giving Tuesday
- A Better Alternative: Local Giving Day Campaigns
- [Case Study]: Give Miami Day Drives Local Support for Code/Art
- 5 Expert Tips for Crafting Winning Giving Day Campaigns
What Is Giving Tuesday?
Before talking about other options, first, it’s fair to cover what Giving Tuesday represents.
Giving Tuesday is sometimes referred to as the “opening day of the giving season,” and takes place annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It is a day dedicated to encouraging charitable giving and supporting worthy causes and represents a counterpoint to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Instead of shopping for ourselves, Giving Tuesday urges us to shift our attention toward making a difference in the lives of others.
Since its inception in 2012, the movement has spread to over 85 countries, upheld by hundreds of community movements and local offshoots.
Why Do Nonprofits Focus on Giving Tuesday?
Many nonprofits run Giving Tuesday campaigns to garner donations, spread their message, and generate non-financial support like volunteers.
The benefit of Giving Tuesday stems from the national (and increasingly international) recognition of the movement – nonprofits can draft off the overall awareness of the holiday to encourage support for their specific cause.
The collective effort of the movement also leads to some unique benefits:
- Giving Tuesday presents natural opportunities to collaborate with other charities, build corporate partnerships, or work with related community organizations to achieve common goals.
- Giving Tuesday amplifies the message to donate through social media. Hashtags and shared stories enable people to connect and inspire others, mobilizing a broader audience.
- Giving Tuesday can rally supporters to show up for in-person events like galas, fundraisers, charity walks, concerts, or benefit dinners.
For Giving Tuesday fundraising, the hope is twofold: that your organization spurs existing donors to reengage their support, and your nonprofit grabs the attention of new donors during a time they are primed to give.
The Downsides to Giving Tuesday
So how could there be downsides to a day that celebrates and encourages charitable giving? A day that many donors know and care about and are eager to support?
The flip side to this success is competition – every nonprofit knows about Giving Tuesday, every nonprofit runs social media and advertising campaigns targeting the event, and therefore every nonprofit is bidding for the same attention.
As a digital marketing agency for nonprofits, we’ve seen the uphill battle small nonprofits face to swim against the stream of marketing dollars spent by larger organizations.
Organizing broad campaigns to target the event may work exceptionally well for national organizations but can fail to produce the intended results for local causes.
The unfortunate fact is, expanding your reach to new donors can become prohibitively expensive when so many other nonprofits are vying for similar search terms, keywords, or creative ideas.
A Better Alternative: Local Giving Day Campaigns
To get the best of both worlds – awareness and reach – nonprofits can instead turn their attention away from the overarching Giving Tuesday movement and niche down their focus to these two options:
- Geographically-focused giving days – campaigns tied to more narrow locations such as your nearest city or state.
- Cause-based giving days – campaigns emphasizing a singular objective or interest that relates closely to your organization’s mission.
To illustrate the point, here are a handful of alternative giving day options that fall under each category.
Often, these campaigns may be tied to Giving Tuesday and celebrated on the same day, or they may be independently organized and fall on a different day during the year.
Regardless, when nonprofits leverage local giving day campaigns they are able to harness the collective desire to support a cause or location while avoiding the steep competition of Giving Tuesday.
For the organizations that make this extra effort, it can translate into more efficient marketing spend and a message that reaches far more donors.
[Case Study]: Give Miami Day Drives Local Support for Code/Art
To illustrate the power of local giving day campaigns, let’s highlight the success one of our clients had during Give Miami Day.
Code/Art is a nonprofit based in Florida dedicated to increasing the number of girls studying computer science by delighting and inspiring them with the creative possibilities of computer programming. They envision a world where all girls have a positive early introduction to coding leading to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive tech workforce.
In order to achieve this mission, we helped Code/Art participate in a local giving day event to take their fundraising efforts to the next level.
Instead of targeting Giving Tuesday broadly, we created a narrow and effective advertising campaign that fully leveraged the awareness of Give Miami Day in three key steps:
- We created a specialized landing page for the event so visitors knew they were supporting a participating organization, thus reducing donor friction.
- We targeted relevant search terms to draft off interest in Give Miami Day, showing up for results tied to the event, the organization’s cause, and the nonprofit’s name.
- We embedded conversion tracking in the donation form to optimize advertising to target supporters who were most likely to give.
In under a week, our management of their Google and Bing advertising brought in dozens of new donors and helped raise close to $50,000 in donations.
How’s that for the impact of local giving day campaigns!?
Note: Beeline would love to help your nonprofit achieve similar marketing results. Set up a free consultation to learn more about how we turn passive visitors into your most passionate supporters.
5 Expert Tips for Crafting Winning Giving Day Campaigns
Targeting alternative giving day events to Giving Tuesday is a great start to building an effective fundraising campaign, but there’s certainly more to it than that.
Here are 5 expert tips to keep in mind to craft a winning message.
1. Focus on the Day and Day After
Preparing and planning your giving day campaign requires forethought well ahead of time, but when it comes time to capture donations your efforts should be spent all at once.
Most giving days are just that – one day. The vast majority of support is given on the event day itself with some support likely to trickle in the day after.
Mobilize your organization and any marketing partners to act swiftly to feedback or data that comes in throughout the day. That way you can make the most of visitors that are engaged with the particular holiday.
2. Send Visitors Straight to a Matching Donation Page
When visitors click on an advertisement or social media post and contemplate supporting your nonprofit any amount of friction can get in the way of a completed donation.
That’s why it’s very important to send potential donors directly to a donation page that relates to the giving day you’re targeting.
During giving days, it’s likely that many visitors will be new to your organization and instead be more aware of the overall event.
You can help convert more donors by building donation pages dedicated to the giving day and organizing group. Tailored design and copy choices provide context that the visitor is in the right place and make your landing page feel familiar.
Additionally, if it’s possible, host the donation page directly on your website in order to minimize multiple clicks and retain ownership of tracking data.
3. Nail Your Value Proposition
Once visitors make it to your donation page, you have a brief window to convince them to support your organization.
Conveying your value proposition properly is the difference between an immediate page bounce and a new lifelong supporter.
To nail your value proposition, make sure your materials answer questions visitors might be asking themselves such as:
- Why should I support this mission?
- Why is your organization the right choice for my support?
- How will my donation be used to make an impact?
Your value proposition shouldn’t be a rehash of your mission statement or some incentive to donate, it should be a compelling explanation of how you help solve an important problem.
4. Tap Into Your Existing Donor Network
Giving days are great opportunities to engage with different audiences and potentially attract new donors into the fold.
However, just because that’s true, it doesn’t mean you should forget about your existing network completely.
If someone knows you already (your subscribers, donors, volunteers, etc.), you have permission to ask them for further support.
Don’t worry about burning out your audience on giving days, instead use the event as an organic reminder of the great work you do.
5. Nurture Long-Term Relationships
If you do happen to find new donors on account of a giving day campaign it’s important to seize the opportunity as the start of a relationship not the end of one.
Capture the email addresses of new supporters and place them into a nurture sequence so they continue to hear from your organization over time.
Research shows email continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels for nonprofits, and on average organizations send upwards of 66 emails to each subscriber each year as part of their fundraising efforts.
Multiple touchpoints are a good thing assuming you are providing personalized value to your subscribers.
We suggest sending at least 4 or 5 nurture emails for every fundraising email. In between requests for support, you can stay top of mind with stories, relevant resources, impact reports, and updates about developments related to your mission.
Maximize Giving Day Donations With the Right Partner
The momentum of Giving Tuesday means it will continue to be a major charitable event for the nonprofit sector each year.
And while it may be an occasion your organization wants to take advantage of, this article presents some local giving day options that can be more effective fundraising opportunities.
Regardless of what event you choose, a compelling marketing message plays a key role in building connections with new and existing donors alike.
If you want to implement the expert tips mentioned above, reach out to discuss how to make the most of your next giving day campaign.
Or, continue to get to know us and figure out if we’re the best digital marketing agency for your nonprofit!