Maintaining the true meaning of Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a day for not-for-profits (NFPs) to share their story and encourage donors to give to their organization. For donors, it’s a day to give-back to a charity that has special meaning to them. The day continues to grow in success – Giving Tuesday 2017 saw more than $60.9 million go to 7,200 organizations. Additionally, online donations increased for the sixth year running to 28%. Clearly, not-for-profit organizations were pleased with the results but as the day grows in prominence, NFPs can’t lose sight of its true meaning.

Messaging is important

Giving Tuesday is not a day for a hard traditional ask. Rather it is meant to mobilize a global community to take action for change. Not-for-profits can be part of that global change by embracing the ‘we’ mentality. Social media has become a prominent channel for not-for-profits and donors alike to come together on Giving Tuesday. But messaging is important and channels like direct or email can potentially make an ill-impression. For example, a colleague of mine shared that her sons’ private school reached out to parents for donations on November 28th, which did not ‘sit well’ with many. Instead, the school should have shared with the parent community the good will of how they were going to use the donations with a NFP affiliation they have. Lesson learned - make sure your marketing program is on point with your target audience and has the right intentions and meaning to create the desired emotional connections with donors.

It’s the emotional connection created between the donor and NFP that keeps donors giving on this day and beyond. As Giving Tuesday grows in prominence, NFPs should keep in mind the factors that influence the emotional connection:

  • Data Insights: NFPs have access to behavioral data to ‘truly get to know’ their donors.
  • Sharing the results: Communicating the ‘end results’ of the donations and how the individual donor helped to make an impact enables this connection. Be transparent; this not only helps for donors to connect with your brand, it establishes a feeling of trust.
  • Multi-media promotion: Media impressions, especially video, is an influential channel to help create the emotional connection. It’s important to continue telling your story via these channels throughout the year- even if it’s not associated with an ask. Marketers need to create awareness and demonstrate when an impact is being made.

Beyond Giving Tuesday, NFPs need to keep the energy alive. In my local area there’s Colorado Gives Day – an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy through online donations. Crowdfunding plays an integral role in this type of event in addition to empowering an advocate to make a case and share a special story. Giving Tuesday is a great platform for donors and NFPs to come together and make an impact. But throughout the course of the year, it’s important for NFPs to continue telling their story on how they’re making a difference whether it’s through localized events, marketing communications, promotional opportunities and more. Finding the right insights, leveraging digital media and sharing the results will enable NFPs to create emotional connections with donors that last throughout the year.