So, GivingTuesday has come and gone again. And many of us will have experienced the email onslaught. And maybe feel a little grouchy about it all.
I’ve heard about organizations sending hourly emails out on the big day. I wonder if that’s working for them? And I wonder what it’s costing them… in time, in support, in possibilities.
The fact is that GivingTuesday does not have some special magic. And it really shouldn’t be your “strategy” for year-end giving. Here are some reasons why.
GivingTuesday is one day
Yes, a day gets a fair amount of social media attention. But how much of that attention is coming from – and noticed by – those of us in the nonprofit world? To put it another way, do you think your donors are eagerly awaiting GivingTuesday to give? Do you think it’s an important day to the people you’re approaching for a gift?
My guess is it’s not. So if you’re focusing on it to the exclusion of a well-thought out year-end plan, you’re not necessarily reaching your donors and prospective donors when they’re thinking of giving.
Even if you send 8 emails in one day.
It’s about celebrating philanthropy; not as much about getting dollars in your door
GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.From GivingTuesday.org
It’s a wonderful thing to have a day that’s focused on the big idea of philanthropy. (Love of humankind, after all.) But if our attention is on what we get instead of what we give, maybe we’re doing it all wrong.
I love the idea that many organizations have taken up – using the day to celebrate their donors and others who make their mission possible. Gratitude is always good.
But if you’re only focused on money, consider that you may be missing the point.
You need a real reason to give. Tuesday isn’t a reason
Go ahead and create some fun communications for GivingTuesday. Go ahead and ask for donations – but make it worthwhile.
“Because it’s GivingTuesday” is not a reason for someone to give. You have better reasons, I know it. Don’t miss sharing the stories of your mission. Don’t allow your focus on this one day to bypass the emotion involved. Don’t let the day persuade you to be lazy.
You need a strategy – a real plan
So build out a year-long plan of communications. Make sure you’re thanking people, letting them know what their gifts are doing, and asking well. That is, by showing as well as telling what great things they can do if they give. Add in asking for feedback throughout the year as well and you have a good overall strategy.
It takes work, of course. And time. But fundraising – especially from individuals – is not once and you’re done. Or it shouldn’t be if you want to keep donors around.
You really need to invest if you want people to invest in your organization. Strategy, planning, creativity, humanity… those are the gifts you need to give.
And if you’re cleaning up on GivingTuesday?
Great! But I’m betting you’re not putting all your hopes in one day. The organizations that can really succeed are the ones that have thought it all through. The organizations that are interested in building ongoing donor relationships, not one-off gifts.
And truly, ongoing donor relationships are the smarter way to go. They’ll sustain your organization if you put in the work. One donor lost won’t knock out your whole fundraising budget. You’ll have flexibility and sustainability. A solid foundation to work from.
One day, even GivingTuesday, isn’t going to do it.