“We participate in Giving Tuesday and just recently Giving Tuesday Now but we aren’t getting a great return on the amount of time we are putting into the campaign. What more can we do?”


This is a common question among new and small nonprofits.


I’ve been the campaign mastermind and executioner of a $100,000 online GA Gives campaign. It was my last year at the organization and I had been doing GA Gives campaigns since its inception so I had figured a few things out. For those of you who aren’t familiar with GA Gives,  it was a state-wide giving event that merged with #GivingTuesday the year after I left the organization and was touted as a flash mob of giving in early November. #GivingTuesday was different in that it was on a national scale instead of a state scale. Because it’s a national day of giving, you also have more noise and have to find a way to stand out.


Since we just had # GivingTuesdayNow and you may be planning a # GivingTuesday campaign to kick off the giving season, it may be helpful to get some tips for your next campaign.


Tip #1-  You Need a Plan.


The year I executed a $100,000 GA Gives campaign, I started in May planning the campaign. My plan included email, postal mail, social media, and challenge grants. It took a week to plan and several months to execute that plan. I started in May because I knew my plan would take time to execute and I needed to recruit people to help. You don’t raise that kind of money by yourself. My plan also had deadlines so I had to make sure I was working on the plan every week.


Tip #2- Know Your Audience.

The organization I worked for was well established and knew their donors. I knew what the donors liked, what they didn’t like, and where they hung out. This helped me devise the plan to maximize participation.

Tip #3- Include Lots of Thank-Yous Leading up to the Day.

I use the Rule of 3 here. Every third communication was a thank you and impact. Communication increased about four weeks before the actual day so there were a lot of thank-yous going out. These thank-yous told success stories of the people we served and made the donor the hero. The thank-yous were for individuals too. We made sure we posted every check presentation and in-kind donation that came in.


Tip #4- Your Donor List Needs to be Larger.

The organization I worked for had a donor list of over 30,000. About a third had given in the last five years. This gives you an idea of the size of the list that you need to have in order to get the big numbers. Small nonprofits don’t fair well because they usually don’t have the list size. It takes 600- 1,000 loyal donors to receive tens of thousands of dollars.


Tip #5- You Need Social Media Engagement.

For Facebook, engagement is measured by liking, sharing, and commenting on posts. You have to have people who are doing those things to get the awareness you need for your event. It takes about twenty-five active people to get a decent reach. My suggestion is to get a committee together of about twenty-five people who will check your page every day and like and share your posts. Of course, you have to give them posts that are like and share-worthy. They will also need to comment at least four words for Facebook to pick up on the engagement and serve the post out to more people.

What will you add to your next campaign? Tell me on the post on Facebook.

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