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How Did Giving Tuesday Impact Your Non-Profit?

Another Giving Tuesday has come and gone, and even though the data is still being analyzed and the last donations are still being counted, it’s never too early to start strategizing for next year (deep breaths) and of course, implementing what you’ve learned into your ongoing digital fundraising strategy.

This week, our account teams across the agency worked tirelessly on Giving Tuesday strategies for various organizations in different sectors and saw several trends that we think are important to highlight. Here are the biggest takeaways we think will help to inspire and challenge your organization to set the bar even higher next year:

Be An Early Bird:

Giving Tuesday isn’t just one day. In fact, the actual (tues)day is often so crowded in the digital world, that preparing your donor and follower base ahead of time to make a donation on your behalf is a must. For a few of our clients, we found that priming donors to give early and take advantage of the opportunity ahead of time was extremely effective. With early communicating integrated into their strategy, one of our clients received the same amount of donations on Monday as they did on Tuesday!

But don’t forget, if a lot of donors come early, there will also be some latecomers! Consider extending your donation timeline or match for the full week after Giving Tuesday. You’d be surprised how many people just need that little extra time or another reminder to make their commitment.

Don’t Sleep on Email:

For a majority of the campaigns we ran, email was a HUGE driver in donations. More importantly, it was the most effective channel for clients who have nurtured ongoing relationships with their most active supporters and even new supporters.

Emails that featured a matching gift opportunity performed best so try and get a jump on a securing that match funding for next year. No amount is too small to motivate a large group of people so work with your Board and your Major Donor teams to create a case for a supporting matching gift in advance of your GivingTuesday appeal…or any major appeal, really.

Fun fact about subject lines: People ❤️ emojis. Various subject line tests ran during GivingTuesday saw statistically significant results in favor of using emojis strategically in their subject lines. Plus they are just fun 🙂.

Facebook’s Fundraising Tricks:

Everywhere we looked on Tuesday, there was a Facebook fundraiser shared by our peers or a Facebook donate button on an organic post that was generating hundreds of dollars. Facebook’s easy-to-use fundraising tools are very effective and we have seen the results. In fact, Facebook fundraisers raised over $125 million this Giving Tuesday, more than double last year’s numbers.

In partnership with our client, Stand Up to Cancer, we designed a strategy that centered around a Facebook fundraiser created by their founder, Katie Couric, encouraging donations from current supporters that she would match and drove users from email. The Facebook group has raised close to $60,000!

You also don’t have to have a celebrity or big name for your fundraiser to be noticed, in fact, individuals creating fundraisers on behalf of a cause or an organization is just as powerful. These individuals then encourage their family and friends to take part, which extends your net deeper into your supporter’s connections.

Another upside of these features is that you don’t have to spend a dime of your advertising dollars to benefit, you just have to think strategically and creatively when using them. Here is our guide on how to leverage Facebook fundraising to your advantage.

Start Small, Build Big:

For some of our clients, this was their first time dipping their toes in the Giving Tuesday waters, which was exciting for them and for us, as it means testing and data gathering.

If it’s your first go-around, we have found that it’s best to start small with your fundraising goals, increasing the amounts each time and setting new milestones as you go. It’s also important to diversify the channels you are using. Don’t just rely on Twitter or email. Be strategic on as many channels as possible to generate enough data to see what works and what doesn’t. You will also have more success reaching folks by using a multi-touchpoint strategy.

Always Keep an Eye on the Competition:

On and around Giving Tuesday, you should always expect strong competition (i.e. higher bids, i.e. higher CPAs). So we suggest you launch early to get out in front and wait it out a bit before making significant changes to your digital campaigns. For example, for one of our clients, our CPA came down considerably as the momentum of Giving Tuesday ramped up, because we had started early. [Pro-Tip from our Account Strategist, Caroline Henderson: in Facebook Ads Manager’s Delivery Insights tool, you can see the daily change in auction competition for your ad set, which shows how much bids are increasing due to competition.

There will also always be a lot of noise on digital and thousands of amazing causes that are all worthy of a donation. So think about how you will stand out. What imagery, tactics, channels will make your message stand out from the rest?

Lastly, our partners at Classy created a stellar Giving Tuesday Hub where they tracked campaigns using the Classy platform in real-time and provided metrics on things like: Top Causes by Amount Raised and Most Recurring Gifts, as well as, spotlighting campaigns that they loved. These types of tools are so helpful to allow you see how you are stacking up against others, but also to gain insight into what others are doing and optimize your own campaign. 

The team at Classy also raised over $15m on the platform in support of good causes this year, a 50% increase over 2017.

Keep Moving Forward:

Did you reach your Giving Tuesday goal? Did you fall short? Either way, don’t be afraid to shout about it! Communicate to your supporters the impact that you created together. Use Giving Tuesday as a jumping off point for successful year-end fundraising, keeping the momentum going after the biggest giving day of the year.

We have a bunch of tips for how to master that transition between Giving Tuesday and year-end, including a 1-hour webinar that dives into proven strategies and tactics.


Interesting in talking Giving Tuesday strategy with us for next year? Drop us a line, we’re ready to go.

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