While it may be the dog days of August, GivingTuesday 2014 kicks off on December 4th. After spending a year facilitating a peer learning community of Knight Foundation grantees hosting giving days, one of the most factors for success for local no nonprofits participating is having about 6-9 months timeframe to develop a plan. NetworkforGood to the rescue! They’ve just published this terrific, free e-book with lots of tips and planning templates to help your organization decide whether to participate.
The e-book is written by Jamie McDonald, the Chief Giving Officer of Network for Good and the Founder of GiveCorps. Jamie is an expert in online engagement and giving, inspiring Millennial donors, and the force behind BMore Gives More, the movement to raise $5.7 million in a day on #GivingTuesday 2013. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you should! The e-book offers an overview of the benefits of participating in GivingDays like #GivingTuesday, followed by a whole lot of wisdom and best practices.
I love the metaphor of a successful GivingDay campaign to a party:
- Timing is key
- A unifying theme creates excitement and engagement
- There are some key people you want in attendance to make the party great
- It’s got to be fun – games and activities can make a big difference
- The execution details matter: flow, food, decorations, music
- Party favors (rewards) can be an unexpected delight
- Sharing memories – stories, pictures – after the party keeps the good feeling going, and makes everyone want to attend next year
If your nonprofit is not familiar with the Giving Days format or a little bit skeptical about the potential benefits, the guide includes a great primer in a compact visual format and good discussion starter for your team. The planning steps begin with the question of timing. There are a number of GivingDays in local communities as well as #GivingTuesday – so the first question to ask “Is the timing right?”
All good nonprofit strategists know that you have to begin with setting measurable goals. The guide offers a few examples, and a reminder that you don’t have to use them all:
- Dollars to be raised
- Number of donors
- Number of new donors
- Number of volunteers (if you are including an activity)
- Increase in engagement of key groups
- % Participation among key groups – like staff
The guide offers up 11 strategies for your GivingDay Campaign. Here they are with some added insights from me.
1. Set a big goal. I’d suggest making it realistic, so think “stretch” not pie in the sky.
2. Convene A Passionate Team: This is so important to have both internal (staff/board) and external champions helping you spread the word. If you are the person tasked with supporting this team, remember you have to model enthusiasm and make it contagious. Making it easy for your champions to do the work is also important and you’ll find lots of templates and examples that you can remix on the Knight Foundation’s Giving Day Playbook and toolkits on the GivingTuesday site.
3. Create A Branded Campaign: The guide suggests developing a theme and a visual that is used consistently in all of your Giving Day outreach, plus making use of any assets that are provided by the Giving Day host. You’ll find lots of creative examples of how organizations have incorporated their branding with Giving Day slogans, taglines, and logos.
4. Use a Hub and Spoke Model: This advice will help you manage the many champions who will help you, especially if you centralized your toolkits.
5. Build A Communication Plan for Champions: It is important, especially in an age of media clutter, to encourage your champions to share your messages about the Giving Day. Having a way to communicate with them regularly is essential, both leading up to the Giving Day and especially during the day itself. Facebook Groups are great for this!
6. Take Advantage of Creative Generosity: This is good community management practice. Let your champions and supporters roll with adapting and remixing your content or jumping onto fun memes. Make sure you acknowledge and thank them! The idea is to escalate engagement.
7. Get Business Business Support: This is something that a Giving Day host may do as part of the overall marketing and sponsorship of the event
8. Create Once, Publish Everywhere: This tip is a nod to the need to use multiple channels – email, web site, offline, mobile and social. The content you create doesn’t have to be from scratch for every channel, you are simply tweaking or optimizing it for the channel. The skill of writing good headlines is an important one to develop!
9. Gamify: The best tip for nonprofits is to identify a donor who might issue a challenge match for your organization. This can really boost your efforts.
10. Saying Thank You: Find creative ways to say thank you to your donors beyond the generic thank you email from the platform. Social Media is great for this sort of thing,especially if you can say thank you shortly after they make the gift. It is also important to say thanks after the event as part of a wrap and lots of folks use videos.
11. Build A Parking Lot of Ideas: You will probably get lots of great ideas and see lots of great examples of content generated by your champions and donors. You want to make sure to capture those. Of course, you will also have some tactics that didn’t quite work out, the best thing is to keep calm and document as the day unfolds and do a debriefing with staff to generate areas for improvement the following year.
Is your nonprofit planning to participate in a Giving Day? What’s your best planning tip?