This is the time of year when many people think about giving to organizations with whom they have a history, an interest in, or other strong connection. With Giving Tuesday arriving in two short weeks, I’m here to offer last minute tips on how to make your organization stand out on this important day.
Keep your campaign communications simple. Decide on a style and stick with it. This includes determining a consistent color scheme, voice, and message. You’ll also need a working script with room built in for variations; while your message should stay consistent, you should not drone on by repeating the same two sentences. Images are also a crucial factor in your campaign communications. They need to say a lot but not overpower your message. Consider using a few core images that convey the message and match the overall tone of the campaign.
Spread the word! Once you’ve finalized your communications pieces, it’s time to spread the message around. Keep your followers informed as your organization hits fundraising milestones, such as total dollars raised. In doing so, you are letting them know what they’ve accomplished. Then, take this a step further by reminding them what your organization will do with those funds.
Narratives go a long way. People enjoy stories, and that’s especially true this time of year. During the holiday season, many people experience heightened emotions. My mother, for example, reaches a point in the season when she is no longer allowed to watch commercials because if they are the slightest bit emotional she starts crying and wants to hug everyone all the time. Knowing that some donors may be more emotionally responsive to marketing messages around the holidays, use all the pathos you can summon when writing about your own organization.
Do not assume donors remember you. It sounds harsh, but it’s often true. Between holiday planning and family obligations, some things are bound to slip off your donors’ to-do lists. Don’t let your organization be one of those things. At this busy time of year, a gift to your organization may not be top-of-mind. Give donors a few gentle nudges to help them remember you and your mission.
Offer other ways to get involved. Remind potential and current donors that their time—not just their treasure—is a valuable asset to your organization. Volunteering allows potential future donors to get involved, and it gives you an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with these individuals. Little things like organizing stock rooms, interacting with the public on your behalf, administrative work, giving tours of the facilities (if appropriate), and gathering donations are all extraordinarily helpful—and much appreciated. It also frees up valuable staff time.
Go social. Send out posts and images of goals your organization has accomplished with last year’s donations and what you plan to do with this year’s donations. Get supporters and volunteers to repost content with corresponding hashtags. If there is a particularly close relationship with a certain donor or board member, ask him or her to share a compelling story. Image-heavy posts about how a donor’s gift will be used get tons of impressions and make a huge impact on your target audience.
Thank your donors. Most importantly, don’t forget to express to donors your genuine appreciation. A thank-you note is an easy and simple way to show them that you are grateful for their support, and it makes a lasting impression.
Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels everyone!