I’m thinking of participating in a giving day. Should I?
In short, yes (and we’ll be detailing why in just a moment)! It’s really exciting to see all the local, state and national initiatives that encourage philanthropic action on a large scale. Yesterday (Nov 13), both Georgia and Minnesota hosted state giving days, raising over $2 million and $18 million, respectively. (And, most well-known, #GivingTuesday, the national giving day initiative that counters Black Friday and Cyber Monday, raised over $35 million).
All these initiatives got me thinking about why organizations participate in these giving days in the first place, how to maximize support day-of and what their popularity indicates about philanthropy as a whole (well, maybe that last one is better saved for a different discussion).
If you are considering registering a nonprofit for a giving day, give it a shot! While these gifts are distributed among many organizations and may not represent windfalls for each, there can be a lot of advantages to participating in a giving day even if you don’t make a million bucks. And besides, there’s something fun and special about shining a light on charity and the organizations that elevate the greater community.
As an organization, it is exciting to see how willing community members are to support awesome causes, and as a donor it is exciting to see how many amazing organizations support his or her community.
Here are 5 reasons participating in a giving day is a great idea:
1. A giving day incorporates your organization into a greater community
If you’re in a new city and looking for a place to eat, you’re likely to be wary of a restaurant with no patrons. That’s because you’d rather know with certainty if the food will be good. One way we confront this psychologically is by having others tell us it will be good through personal recommendation, online reviews or by simply observing others are enjoying that restaurant as we walk by.
How does this apply to an organization participating in a giving day? Being portrayed as part of a greater community of organizations can establish trust between you and new potential donors. If people are discovering your organization in isolation, it takes a lot more work on your end to build up a rapport with each individual. However, when you appear as a part of a community participating in an organized philanthropic initiative, you are able to quickly establish some social proof by being a part of that larger effort.
2. A giving day is a great jump-start for your next fundraising campaign
Momentum is critical for any successful campaign. People are more likely to give once they see you have some traction, so take advantage the excitement of a giving day to launch strong. Leverage a giving day to amass the social proof you need to motivate others to give during upcoming campaign.
TIP: Recruit a few dedicated supporters to start fundraising for you before you go public on giving day. Then, you’ll have not only created momentum for your giving day to be successful but you’ll also set yourself up for a strong fundraising campaign in the following weeks.Campaign Planning Deep Dive
3. You can more easily discover, and connect with, like-minded organizations
Something Liberty in North Korea Creative Director Tony Sasso once said really resonated with me,
Ultimately, you want to move the needle on your organization’s goal – towards solving a big problem within a particular cause sector. The problems for-impact organizations like your own tackle every day require innovative solutions. Tried and true, innovation takes teamwork.
Partnerships, especially between organizations, are an important part of producing ideas and solutions that address the challenges in your cause sector. Whether you partner with another organization in your cause sector to run a killer event or engage in broader cross-sector collective impact projects to achieve a goal for your community, giving days are an amazing way to discover other organizations in your area and find out what they’re working on. And, you can use your mutual participation in the giving day to break the ice!Nonprofit Partnerships Deep Dive
4. A giving day is an opportunity to acquire new donors or, at least, reach a new audience
Even if you don’t raise a ton of money on a giving day, you’ve won. By utilizing the day’s attention, chatter, and momentum you will have gotten in front of at least a few new faces. That alone is worth it. Anytime you have a chance to showcase your passion for your cause, you’re creating an opportunity to connect with potential donors and build trust with a community of supporters.
Some tips for engaging new donors:
• Make sure to send them am immediate thank you
• Be quick to respond to any type of engagement – be it phone, e-mail or social media
• Share how their support has directly impacted your missionDonor Acquisition Deep Dive
5. Oh wait, we forgot, you can actually raise money!
Giving days were created to divert consumer spending into philanthropic spending, so they are designed to spur donor activity, above all. Create stellar marketing material that will make your organization stand out and leverage the buzz around the giving day to get the word out about your cause.
Some tips for standing out include:
• Market your organization’s core values in order to stand out and connect with new donors
• Create and deliver a super sweet email to dedicated supporters asking them to share your organization with friends and family
• Tell great stories to demonstrate the impact your organization has on the community and on individual livesCrowdfunding Deep Dive
Overall, registering your nonprofit in a giving day can be an extremely worthwhile experience, even if you don’t raise a ton of money. At the very least you’ll reach a few new fans, garner some donations and jumpstart that upcoming campaign you’ve been wondering how to announce. As we’ve mentioned before, don’t forget that a little planning can go along way, so spending a little time thinking today can yield amazing results during a giving day down the road. Keep these ideas in mind and you’ll be on your way to the best giving day ever, whichever one you decide to participate in!
Now Get Out There & Rock #GivingTuesday
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