Last Minute, Crash Course #GivingTuesday Guide

So you forgot to plan something for #GivingTuesday, and now it’s next week! Well we’ve got you covered – with a crash course on setting up a winning last-minute #GivingTuesday fundraiser that will look like you’ve been planning it all year. So excuse yourself from the Thanksgiving table early, we’ve got work to do.

What is #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is coordinated day of philanthropy and fundraisers that takes place every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. In 2017, nonprofit organizations were reported to have raised $275mil to support their mission work through hundreds of separate campaigns.

Why #GivingTuesday matters

#GivingTuesday creates a social momentum around giving to charity and a clear ‘call-to-action’ for donors to give. Plus, there are corporations that are taking advantage of the day’s popularity, including Facebook and PayPal, that are offering matching donations.

Crash Course to #GivingTuesday

Our last-minute crash-course for your #GivingTuesday campaign will focus on Facebook and your own social media and email lists.

Step One: Register for Giving Tuesday

To be part of the #GivingTuesday community, you need to register. It’s quick, easy, and free – and can be done here. In addition to being an official #GivingTuesday participant, the site has a great toolkit that could come in handy even on other days of the week.

Step Two: Set up a Facebook Fundraiser

Facebook’s fundraiser tool is a great way to engage with supporters where they already are. The interface is simple, and as long as you’ve got a Facebook business account set up for your nonprofit, it’s really easy to set up. ( If you don’t have a page set up yet, you can learn more about that here. ) Set the time to start as soon as you’ve got it set up and run through the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. And since for #GivingTueday 2018 Facebook is matching donations made through their fundraisers up to $7mil, you can make sure you’re following their match rules here.

Step Three: Boost fundraiser using Facebook Ads

Even if you’re not a marketing pro it’s easy to use Facebook’s built-in advertising tools to enhance the reach of your #GivingTuesday fundraiser. Now this part may take a little extra work if you don’t already have a Facebook Ads account set up, but you can follow these steps here to get started. If you’re set up on Facebook Ads, then you probably know how easy it easy to go down a rabbit hole with this ad interface. Keep it simple – click ‘Boost Post’ on your fundraiser once it shows up, set the ‘Objective’ to ‘Get more engagement’, and for ‘Audience’ I’d select either ‘People who like your Page and their friends’ or ‘People in your local area’. You’ll get a lot of reach for just $20 on #GivingTuesday, and you can set your date parameters as well.

Step Four: Promote your fundraiser

Don’t rely on ads to do all the work. Most of the visibility of your fundraiser, and ultimately most of the donors, will come from people already in your network. So make sure to let them know that it’s coming up with whatever promotional tools you have at your disposal – email lists, personal facebook friends, linkedin, twitter, insta, etc.

A few more things to think about

Here are a few more tips on being successful with a last-minute #GivingTuesday campaign.

Most donations will come from your own network

While there is always an outside chance that your fundraiser will get picked up and go viral, the majority of contributions will come from people already in your network. This means that you need to be the chief champion and promoter of your fundraiser for it to work. Share is everywhere, and share it often.

Be Specific

Since you’ve got a limited amount of time and a limited visibility for this short campaign, it works best to pick something specific as the goal of your fundraiser. It also helps small-donors to conceptualize how their $5 donation is going to make a difference and help you reach your goal. And if you do this right, you can help potential donors understand who you are and what’s important to your organization just from the specific thing you pick as your goal. For example, if you’re a small arts organization, maybe make the fundraiser about funding one specific class with a particular teacher. Or about money for a new kiln. If you’re an animal adoption agency, pick a specific animal. Service organizations can pick a specific human or quantifiable objective like 100 meals for 100 kids. If you need more ideas, set up a time to chat with a real live person during our office hours!

Be Creative

There will be a lot of competition for eyeballs on #GivingTuesday, so creativity in your ask and in your message can go a long way. Search online for some inspiration, but something different or unique in your approach will help you stand out.

Be Reasonable

You’re not going to raise a million dollars. But you could very reasonably raise $1,000. Pick a reasonable fundraising target so your donors feel like they’re actually a meaningful part of something important.

Have a Plan

Plans are what separate the pros from the wannabes. Organic fundraising never happens totally organically – it’s supported by intent and structure. Remember, most of your contributors will be in your own network, but there are other things you can do to increase your chances of success. Here is a sample schedule – make a real one for yourself and stick to it! Potential donors will only see your message once unless you reinforce it throughout the donation period.
9:00AM – Email to mailing list about #GivingTuesday
9:30AM – First share on business page of organization
10:00AM – Share on your personal page and
10:30AM – Your friend Paul shares it on his page – which you scheduled with Paul in advance
11:00AM – Your friend Suzie shares it on her page – which you scheduled in Suzie in advance
11:30AM – Your mom gives a donation that represents 10% of the total goal – which you planned in advance
12:00PM – You announce the major gift on your page
1:00PM – You announce via Facebook Live video ( everyone loves video ) that a donor has offered to match all donations for the rest of the day – the donor is actually just you but you don’t have to say that.
1:30PM – Update email sent to mailing list
And on and on and on.

It may sounds like overkill, but fundraising – even on #GivingTuesday – is ultimately just about intentional planning and execution. Which is great news for us in small nonprofits, because you don’t need a big budget to plan big, followup, and execute like the pros.