How to Secure Long-Term Value from Giving Tuesday Donors
by Mike Montalto
September 19, 2019

It’s never too early to start planning for Giving Tuesday. Has your past strategy failed to get the results you were hoping for? Or, are you looking for a way to join in on the biggest day in philanthropy for the first time? More importantly, do you have a plan to get long-term value from Giving Tuesday?

Fundraisers raise more money on Giving Tuesday every year. Last year, nonprofits raised $380 million, a 38 percent increase over the prior year.

Yet, many remain skeptical. We understand the concerns around Giving Tuesday, especially for smaller nonprofits. Yes, there is going to be a lot of competition. No, you’re not likely to secure a large, organization-changing gift.

We find that nonprofits who struggle with their strategy dwell on these challenges, instead of finding a way to overcome them. Planning for Giving Tuesday requires you to think about how your organization can get long-term value out of an extremely brief interaction.

Here’s two ways you can do it:

1. Tie into Your Year-End Appeal

This year, Giving Tuesday falls on December 3. So, there’s less than a month separating the two biggest fundraising days of the year!

You probably have a pretty robust strategy for your end-of-year campaign. So why not tie Giving Tuesday in as part of your communications strategy?

A Different Kind of Ask

Some fundraisers might worry about sending two solicitations within the same month. But if you get creative, you can get your current donors excited, engaged, and ready to help further your mission.

#GivingTuesday is a social media phenomenon. Last year, donors gave $125 million through Facebook to the causes they care about.

So instead of asking donors for a monetary gift, ask them to share your online donation page with their social networks on Giving Tuesday. Let them know you need their help to reach more people who share your goals so you can all make a bigger impact together.

Make this as easy as possible for your donors. If you can, include a one-click social sharing button into your email.

And if you do include a monetary ask, let donors know this initiative is separate from your end-of-year appeal.

Planning for Giving Tuesday with peer-to-peer fundraising and social sharing as the focus of your appeal gets current donors excited about your activities. Your messaging should remind them why your work is so important and inspire them to do more to help by spreading the word.  

Use Versioned Appeals

Make sure your outreach feels relevant for each recipient when you’re planning for Giving Tuesday. A simple way to do this is segmenting your donors based on if they’ve contributed to your annual fund this year.

Thank your donors who have already given and share what you’ve been able to accomplish since then. Then, ask if they will supplement their usual gift with a Giving Tuesday donation.

Your other segment will consist of your “at risk” donors who usually contribute to your annual fund, but haven’t yet this year. Remind them that it’s not too late to give this year and that you’ve missed their usual donation. Let them know how they can make a difference this Giving Tuesday.

If you want to go further, you can come up with a version that uses Giving Tuesday as a way to encourage LYBUNTs to renew their gift.

Or reverse engineer this strategy and base versions of your end-of-year appeal on whether a donor gave on Giving Tuesday!

2. Promote Your Monthly Giving Program

Another great way to get long-term value from Giving Tuesday is to make monthly giving the focus of your outreach.

As we know, small donations make up the majority of gifts on Giving Tuesday. The average gift size last year was $105.55, but you may find the bulk of your donations in the $5 to $25 range.

Coincidently, that’s an ideal gift size for a new monthly donor! Here’s how you can turn $5 into $60, or $25 into $300.

Acquiring New Monthly Donors

First, let’s focus on how you can use Giving Tuesday to secure new monthly donors. For this strategy to be successful, you will need to direct donors to your own donation page.

If you plan to collect donations through Facebook or another fundraising platform, you won’t have as many options with this approach. But there are a few ways to acquire new monthly donors once you get a visitor to land on your online donation page.

Your first option is to prompt donors to sign up for your monthly giving program before they make their initial donation.

For example, you can include a checkbox on your giving page users can select if they want to commit to a monthly gift.

Another option is to include a drop-down menu that enables donors to select which initiative they would like to donate to. You can include your annual campaign and any other special initiatives as part of this menu. But, if your goal is to secure monthly donors, make sure you draw more attention to that selection!

Or, you can let donors make their initial gift before asking if they would be interested in committing to a monthly donation. This is a more passive approach that uses monthly giving to generate long-term value from Giving Tuesday.

Communicating with Existing Monthly Donors

 If you already have a monthly giving program, you should segment these donors into a separate audience. This will allow you to reach them with more relevant communications on Giving Tuesday.

Let your monthly donors how much you appreciate their continued commitment, then ask if they would be interested in supporting your Giving Tuesday initiative.

You can ask current monthly donors if they would be interested in adding a 13th gift on top of their usual monthly commitment. It’s important to stress how valuable their support is and that any gift they make today is supplementary to their usual commitment.

You can also avoid an ask altogether. Instead, focus on getting long-term value from Giving Tuesday by making the occasion all about them.  

Rather than asking for another small gift, take the opportunity to thank monthly donors and build your relationship with them. Emphasize how much you appreciate their monthly gifts and that it takes much more than one day of giving for your organization to reach its goals, without making an ask.

Another way to get long-term value from Giving Tuesday is to use the strategies we mentioned earlier to tap into the social nature of the day. Rather than asking your monthly donors for another donation, you can ask them to share your online giving page with their social networks to help get their friends involved.

The Long Haul

So, as you prepare for the upcoming day of philanthropy, make sure you develop a plan to get long-term value from Giving Tuesday this year.

Whether you’ve been participating in Giving Tuesday since the very beginning in 2012, or this is the first year you want to get involved, you need to think about more than the number of funds you can raise in one day.

As Giving Tuesday continues to grow, it gets harder and harder for nonprofits to stand out with their message. So, it’s important to make the most out of any donations you can secure by tying the celebration into other aspects of your fundraising strategy.

So, if you’re looking for a way to get long-term value from Giving Tuesday this year, we recommend tying your campaign into your end-of-year push, or as a way to promote your monthly giving program.

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