At the height of COVID-19, nonprofit organizations were on the front lines, helping communities that needed it most and continuing the mission-critical work we all depend on. During last year’s #GivingTuesday campaign, donors supported those efforts in droves, setting a record-breaking $2.47 billion mark in U.S. donations — a nearly 30% increase over 2019.
Now, more than 18 months into the pandemic, organizations are wondering if they’ll be able to match last year’s extraordinary Giving Tuesday success as they look to fuel their missions and the national response to the global health crisis. To prepare for this giving season, consider the following common elements that are often present in successful Giving Tuesday campaigns:
- Clearly defined objectives. What’s your fundraising goal? Are you trying to raise funds for new programs and activities or cover unexpected expenses you absorbed this year? No matter the goal, every campaign needs clearly defined objectives to set the organization up for success from the start. Create checkpoints along the way so your organization can track how efforts are performing, communicate efforts to donors and have time to pivot before the giving season ends.
- A strategic promotion plan. Giving Tuesday started with a hashtag. Social media and other digital communities have been a driving force in the movement’s growth year after year. But given the high volume of digital traffic these days, it’s imperative that nonprofits approach digital promotion with a targeted strategy to ensure their voice doesn’t fade among the crowd. Successful campaigns engage with relevant audiences, communicate a compelling story and curate impactful content year-round, not just one day of the year.
- A transformed donor experience. Once you’ve developed your promotion plan, consider the experience your audience will have when they go to donate — will they land on your organization’s website or that of a third party? How easy would it be for new and existing visitors to make a donation? The ease of navigation from your promotional assets to the end donation should be as seamless — and quick — as possible. But the experience doesn’t end there. Consider keeping donors up to date on how their donations are being used, showing a direct impact on your organization and its mission. Donors that are reassured that they have directly contributed to positive change are likely to donate again — and spread the word.
- A focus on donor loyalty. When considering how to drive new funding, it’s easy to focus on attracting as many new donors as possible. But nonprofits shouldn’t neglect their existing donor base, especially during the year-end giving season. Loyal donors are aware of your organization’s mission and its story and likely don’t require much convincing to donate again, saving your organization valuable time and resources. Successful campaigns also lean on donor loyalty to spread awareness and create new engagements within the donors’ network.
- Partnerships with other nonprofits. For nonprofits navigating the financial hardships of COVID-19, partnering with a similar organization can help with a number of issues. It is a clear solution to saving on costs and resources, multiplying reach and amplifying your respective missions this year-end giving season. After all, many nonprofits likely pivoted in similar ways to respond to the global crisis and have similar stories to tell. To realize the potential, be sure to align with key stakeholders and board members of partnering organizations and create a plan that clearly illustrates the mission’s story and uses donors’ gifts in the most impactful way.
Nonprofits depend on the generosity of donors, making Giving Tuesday and every year-end giving season critical to maintaining mission-driven growth. Set these best practices in motion now to maximize your organization’s impact. Have questions on your nonprofit’s unique needs? Visit BDO’s Year-End Giving Resource Hub for additional guidance.
By Andrea Espinola, Adam B. Cole
This article originally appeared in BDO USA, LLP’s “Nonprofit Standard” Blog (October 28, 2021). Copyright © 2021 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved. www.bdo.com.