#GivingTuesday 2016 is just two weeks away. And if you happen to be a nonprofit marketer, it's probably safe to assume that by now you've already set your goals, developed your strategy, and are putting the finishing touches on your campaign.
Now in its fifth year, #GivingTuesday has grown to become a global philanthropic movement. For #GivingTuesday 2015, Blackbaud reported that it processed more than $39.6 million in U.S. online donations, which were up 52 percent compared to 2014.
If your nonprofit is pledging participation in #GivingTuesday 2016 to raise funds and cause awareness, here are 10 tips for your nonprofit #GivingTuesday campaign.
1. Start the conversation early.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start planting seeds in your online community to ‘Save the Date’ (November 29, 2016) so your members can prepare to help you reach your fundraising goals. Create a social media and editorial calendar dedicated to your #GivingTuesday campaign. Develop your campaign messaging and create content for your social media platforms, blog, newsletter, email marketing, and any other channels you’ve included in your campaign strategy.
2. Tell a compelling story.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. As you develop your campaign messaging and content, incorporate compelling stories—in an authentic voice and tone—to establish a deeper emotional connection with your online community. Talk about real experiences that inspire and drive action. Also take this opportunity to reinforce your nonprofit's mission and provide testimonies that demonstrate the impact donor contributions have had on the lives of those helped by your organization.
3. Use visual content.
As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Platitudes aside, visuals really do rival words in their ability to tell stories. Bring more passion and meaning to your campaign with strong images that illustrate your cause and mission. Use a combination of photography, video, infographics, and interactives to help deliver your campaign message. With a growing number of photo and video apps like iPhoto and iMovie, as well as free infographic drawing tools like Piktochart and Easel.ly, it’s simpler than ever to create visual content at a low cost.
4. Ask your community to contribute content.
User-generated content is a great way to engage your community and add an interactive element to your campaign. Consider hosting a contest that requires your community to upload comments, share stories, or post pictures related to your cause. If all goes well with your contest and participation is high, you could end up with a collection of quality user-generated content to add depth to your campaign with real faces, voices, and experiences.
5. Create a dedicated landing page.
Landing pages are a necessity when it comes to converting visitors into leads. This is a marketing best practice that you'll want to apply to your #GivingTuesday campaign. Include a simple yet impactful headline and message, a form to collect prospect data, and a clear call-to-action (e.g., a donation button) on your landing page. Then promote your landing page across multiple channels including social media, email, pay-per click (PPC) advertising, and other online channels to which you have access for your campaign.
6. Try a crowdsourcing platform.
We've all heard some amazing crowdsourcing success stories in recent years. Crowdsourcing platforms can be used to quickly and effectively spread the word about a particular individual need, generate awareness for a cause, engage new supporters, and raise (sometimes) thousands to millions of dollars. If you haven’t already considered crowdsourcing, it’s something that’s worth exploring to extend your campaign reach beyond your community. Some of the top platforms used for nonprofit fundraising are Fundraise.com, CauseVox, and Fundly.
7. Incorporate mobile messaging.
According to Blackbaud,17 percent of #GivingTuesday 2015 digital donations were made on mobile devices. With 68 percent of American adults owning smart phones and 45 percent owning a tablet computer (Pew Research Center), mobile has become a viable channel for nonprofit fundraising. Like other channels, mobile can help drive awareness, advocacy, and website traffic. If you currently have a mobile list, you might consider adding text messaging solutions like mGive or MobileCause to boost your #GivingTuesday campaign.
8. Integrate promoted social media content.
In addition to online tactics that leverage your free channels, you might also consider promoted content to reach a wider audience and to spark engagement from your existing community. For example, promoted tweets and posts can drive a specific message or call-to-action through Twitter and Facebook when prospects click on a link that brings them directly to your #GivingTuesday landing page. Both Twitter and Facebook allow you to select the audience you want to reach, as well as the budget you want to spend.
9. Do some research for inspiration.
If you're getting a late start and find yourself coming up short on ideas for campaign themes, messaging, and promotion, scour the Internet for successful #GivingTuesday campaigns that other nonprofits have launched since 2012. You might also consider joining GivingTuesday.org as a partner to receive valuable updates, communication tools and tips, campaign ideas, and other resources. And while you're on the website, check out the nonprofit #GivingTuesday case studies they've rounded up.
10. Leverage your influencers.
Word of mouth marketing and peer recommendations are among today's most effective forms of promotion. If you've already taken the time to identify and build relationships with thought leaders and advocates who have strong credibility with your community, leverage them to share your content. Whether you tag their usernames in your posts, mention them in a tweet, quote them in blog posts, or simply alert them to new content you think might interest them, get your influencers involved with sharing your #GivingTuesday content.
(Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been modified in November 2016 for timeliness and relevance.)Download a free copy of our workbook to start finding new social media prospects for your nonprofit.