In this third piece in my series of blogs focusing on preparing for #GivingTuesday, I identify additional steps that organizations can do to benefit from #GivingTuesday, the global social media and philanthropic phenomenon. This installment focuses on implementing a communications plan, preparing for the day itself, and conducting an effective follow-up and evaluation.

Previously, I outlined steps nonprofits can take to maximize their participation in the phenomenon that encourages giving in all forms and at all levels. If you’ve followed my outline – including putting a committee of volunteers in place and creating compelling messaging – your nonprofit should be poised for success on December 1.

Preparing for the Big Day

Now is the time when participating nonprofits should be informing constituents of all types and levels and volunteers about #GivingTuesday – the idea and history of the day – as well as the organization’s goals. If your nonprofit hasn’t done so already, begin sending out emails and snail mail; start tweeting, gramming, and posting about #GivingTuesday. Make sure you explain to your donors, members, and followers what the day is about, what your organization’s goals are, and what they can do to help. Make sure you’ve sent out enough information prior to the day; you don’t want #GivingTuesday to feel like a surprise.

Your communications should inform, excite, and empower donors and potential donors. Also, one your communications should be used to distribute your #GivingTuesday toolkit, which allows each of your donors to potentially become your brand champion and a one-person development specialist.

If your organization is partnering with another nonprofit or for-profit enterprise, make sure the logistics and specifics are ironed out well in advance. Also, make sure your “donate now” button is working properly and that the process to donate is seamless and includes a specific option to donate to the #GivingTuesday campaign.

#GivingTuesday

The day itself is all about being active on social media. If you are the one responsible for your organization’s #GivingTuesday program, do not schedule much else for December 1 as you’ll certainly be busy. I advise composing and scheduling a few posts in advance, and then adding to your output on December 1 so you can be in the moment with your messaging. If your organization is trying to raise money on #GivingTuesday – as opposed to running a service project – you will need to keep close tabs on the fundraising totals, and leverage the process. Ideally, you should be updating your followers throughout the day. Let people know that your nonprofit is meeting hourly goals. If you’re $1,000 away from reaching $15,000, your supporters can’t help you if they don’t know about it.

Also, monitor the activity and discussion on social media. For the last couple of years, #GivingTuesday has been a trending topic on Twitter for more than 10 hours straight, and I expect there will be plenty of chatter again this year! Join the conversation. If you see a mention or a thread that relates to your nonprofit or its areas of influence, speak up. This is a day when new relationships are formed and unexpected alliances arise.

Say Thank You

#GivingTuesday may deviate from traditional fundraising events, but some of the established rules still apply. Chief among them is the importance of thanking your donors. So as soon as #GivingTuesday is over, your nonprofit should send immediate thank you’s to all who gave. Make sure your thank you appears on multiple platforms and informs donors about the success of the day. Even if the day wasn’t an unabashed success, and it is OK to acknowledge publicly that it wasn’t, your organization must let people know that their gift mattered.

Donor Cultivation

On December 1, you will hopefully receive gifts from first-time donors. People may give to you because they saw a posting on their friend’s Facebook feed or were captivated by a powerful image on Twitter or Instagram. It is your nonprofit’s responsibility to follow up with all #GivingTuesday donors, especially new donors. Start a conversation and offer them a fuller picture of your activities, goals, and mission. The idea is to turn one-time donors into longtime supporters and to inspire low-to-mid-level donors to become major supporters.

Online giving, crowd funding, and #GivingTuesday are each evolving in dynamic ways. Participating in #GivingTuesday doesn’t offer any guarantees. But by creating and executing a thorough plan, your organization will almost surely increase its exposure and gain new social media followers. Whether or not your organization dramatically increases its revenues, there is little downside to joining the movement. By following the steps I have outlined over the course of these three blog posts, I believe your organization will have a rewarding and energizing experience – one that hopefully brings in many new donations. I am more than happy to answer your questions and to discuss ways your nonprofit can maximize its participation in #GivingTuesday. Please reach me at 215-830-0304 or rkasper@theevansconsultinggroup.com.