Today is #GivingTuesday.
My inbox, and yours, will overflow with messages from every nonprofit we’ve had contact with in the past.
Too many of the messages will be the same:
Send us money, because… #GivingTuesday!
Let’s remember what this day was meant to be:
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.
There’s a line between celebrating generosity and expecting money. We too often miss it.
But since today is the day, your plans are already in place. So let’s see if we can’t put the generosity back in the day.
Thank your donors well
An auto-response is not a real thank you.
Seriously. I know it’s easy. But it’s rarely emotionally satisfying. If you’re using the canned copy from your payment processor, please stop reading right now and change it.
You do need financial information about the gift, of course. But your donors are most likely not looking only for that. (Even if they say that’s all they want.) Donors need and deserve emotional satisfaction, too. The assurance that they’ve done a really good thing.
And they deserve to know exactly what they’ve accomplished with a gift. Don’t cheat them with generalities because it’s easier.
Thank them again
Yes! You can, and should, do this. Especially if the automatic response is less than effusive. If you have a mail address, mail them a proper, warm, emotional thank you. If you don’t email them a real letter – not a generic thanks.
Be the generosity you want to see in the world
What is your organization doing for #GivingTuesday? Other than asking, I mean. Think about it for next year – how can you show your mission in action? How can you find a way to get out of the office and give?
Treat #GivingTuesday donors like real donors
That is, after thanking them well, remember to let them know that their decision to give made a difference. Use more than words – show as much as tell.
This is where you can differentiate yourself from the mass of organizations hoping for donations at this time of year. Satisfy your donors’ need to see the results of their gift. You might not have time in December to pull together a whole newsletter. But you can certainly make a phone call or create a simple impact update.
Then continue to communicate with these folks. It takes a lot of work to change a first gift giver into a real donor. That second and third gift are critical when it comes to retention. So don’t check these folks off a list and wait until next year to communicate.
Consider your plans for #GivingTuesday 2019
What could you do for your donors (other than asking for support)?
Read this post from Agitator and the example of Concordia College. It’s a delight, and an idea that every organization could pull off – if you’re willing. Thank your donors, thank your staff, and focus on generosity.
I hope today is all you want it to be. And I hope it’s all your donors hope it will be, too.