One of the biggest complaints nonprofit leaders and consultants have about Giving Tuesday is that nonprofits put a ton of time, money, and effort into recruiting new donors… but they don’t do so in a way that’s sustainable. The media blitz around Giving Tuesday can (often) result in an influx of new supporters. But an influx of new donors isn’t very valuable if you don’t keep them.
The best way to recruit new donors and keep them coming back is to understand their journey from “random person on the internet” to “first-time donor” to (hopefully) “loyal donor.” If you take time to optimize and enhance that journey, your Giving Tuesday campaign can be much more sustainable in the long run.
Your donor’s journey begins long before they ever land on your donation page! Start planning your donor’s journey by considering how they discover your nonprofit and the impression you make on them before they ever decide to give.
Understanding the Giving Tuesday “discovery” phase
Believe it or not, donor acquisition and retention begin long before a donor actually lands on your donation form. By the time your Giving Tuesday donors make a gift, they’ve already formed impressions and opinions about your organization and your mission. Those impressions will play a large role in their relationship with your organization and the likelihood that they continue to support you in the future. If you want to use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to expand your donor base, you need to think of your posts as the first step toward an ongoing relationship with the people who will donate to you.
So how do you do that?
Here are some ideas!
Emphasize your mission, not just Giving Tuesday
In your email appeals, social posts, and other media, focus on showing donors how their gift will make a difference in their community. “Donate to us because it’s Giving Tuesday!” isn’t particularly inspiring, but it also provides donors no reason to give to you beyond the holiday. Look at the implications in these two different appeals:
“It’s Giving Tuesday! Please make a gift today!”
Asking donors to give because it’s a “giving day” may be effective in the short term. But the “why” behind giving—the giving day—isn’t a long-term “why.” That “why” only works for 24 hours, and it implies a short-term, one-time transaction.
“It’s Giving Tuesday! Celebrate by joining our community of (eco-warriors, animal advocates, etc)!”
This appeal is better. It still emphasizes Giving Tuesday, but that is secondary to the main “why.” The main call is to join a community that addresses a particular issue. That plants the idea that making a gift is a first step in a longer relationship instead of a 24-hour giving blitz.
Craft your appeals in a way that frames Giving Tuesday as a great opportunity to get involved in something special. It’s more than a 24-hour donation grab! By doing so, you’ll establish from the start that new donors are getting involved in something special, not just giving to an organization that’s making mass appeals.
Show everyone you love your donors
Publicly recognizing your donors—provided your donors are okay with it—achieves two ends. One, it makes your donors feel seen and appreciated, which is a valuable donor retention tool. We’ll go more into detail on this later! But it also plays a role in donor acquisition.
Donors want to know that they’re valued by the organizations they support. That’s why sincere thank-you messages, handwritten notes, and donor calls are such great donor retention methods! When a potential supporter lands on your website or social media channels and sees thank-you messaging for specific donors, they understand that you value the people who support you. Donating to a nonprofit that obviously values their supporters is more appealing than donating elsewhere!
Tell a consistent story
If your organization will be communicating over multiple channels on Giving Tuesday, it’s really important that you be consistent across each one. Tell the same stories, use the same branding, include the same pictures—you get the idea.
Imagine you’re a food bank. A potential donor gets an email from you about your Giving Tuesday campaign. In the email, you ask them to donate to you so you can buy hams and turkeys for people to eat for Christmas. They click over to your Facebook page; there, you’re asking people to give but talking about the new, expanded kitchen you want to build. On X, they see posts asking for donations to pay for gasoline you’ll use to deliver meals.
Your organization may run a lot of programs and offer many services, but focus all your Giving Tuesday appeals and stories on one element or goal. The more specific you can be, the better! Saying, “We want to raise $5,000 today to fund our operations” is boring. Saying “We want to raise $5,000 today to deliver Christmas dinners to local families” is better. The more easily people can visualize how their money will be spent, the more likely they’ll be to give!
The bottom line
Giving Tuesday can be a great opportunity to get yourself in front of new audiences. But, to be successful, you need to carefully plan a cohesive message for those new potential donors.
First, emphasize your mission as a whole instead of focusing on the Giving Tuesday aspect. If you want your donors to stay engaged with you after Giving Tuesday, you need to base the beginning of your relationship on something other than a one-day event. While you’re planning your posts, make sure to focus on how much you appreciate your donors. This will show potential donors that you value your supporters beyond their capabilities for financial support. Then, combine your mission and donor appreciation elements with a consistent appeal. By the time you’ve built all these elements into your Giving Tuesday plan, potential donors will see you making appeals for them to join you in your mission by making a gift to a great cause.
Are you ready for Giving Tuesday?
Looking for more Giving Tuesday goodness? We’ve got you covered with the #GivingTuesday Ultimate Guide.
If you’re looking for online fundraising tools that will help you run the best Giving Tuesday campaign, we’d love to help you out! Contact us to learn more about our unlimited donation forms, campaign thermometers, and other tools you can build into your Giving Tuesday campaign. Schedule a demo today!