Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday – 4 Factors Most People Overlook

What are your plans for Giving Tuesday? It’s easy to dismiss the idea of creating a separate strategy for the day and simply plan general Giving Tuesday messages across all channels and networks. While it’s tempting to use a one-size-fits-all approach, spending an hour to sketch out a plan will make your Giving Tuesday more effective and efficient.

With over 100,000 organizations participating globally in 2019, Giving Tuesday raised $511 million in the US through online giving and more than $1.9 billion total around the world. Now in its ninth year, there’s enough data and history to anticipate who will participate in Giving Tuesday and how it affects other fundraising programs.

Giving Tuesday only comes once a year, here’s what you need to know:

1. Giving Tuesday is not widely known.

It might be surprising to the philanthropy field, but many people are unaware of the event. A 2015 survey by the John Templeton Foundation found that only 18.3% of consumers knew about Giving Tuesday. Another 2019 survey commissioned by Classy found that only 37% of U.S. consumers had heard about it.

Since Giving Tuesday is still relatively unknown, this presents huge recruitment opportunities to find new donors and educate your existing donors and partners about the event. The 2020 Global Giving Trends Report found that only 26% of North American donors participated in Giving Tuesday last year. While this prevents cross-over between fundraising streams from end-of-year giving, your existing donors can serve as ambassadors for your organization to their friends and family.

Challenge: Educating existing donors about the who, what, when, where & why of Giving Tuesday before December 1, so they can recommend your nonprofit.

2. Giving Tuesday donors are unique.

According to the official website, 63% of Giving Tuesday donors only give on that day. This presents an opportunity to use Giving Tuesday as a recruitment tool to introduce new donors to your organization. It also means that you need to segment donors and reach them with different messages. Since these are usually new donors, they need a compelling reason to donate that ties directly with your mission. They need to hear or see a story telling them how their donation will make a difference.

Challenge: Preparing Giving Tuesday campaigns that highlight specific fundraising goals or initiatives for prospective new donors.

3. Giving Tuesday should start with the end.

Since the majority of fundraising expenses stem from recruitment, Giving Tuesday is a wonderful way to gain new donors through a day focused on charity. Since 63% of Giving Tuesday donors only give on that day nonprofits need to prioritize having a plan to retain them. How will you thank them? When will you communicate next? How will you fold them into existing fundraising programs?

The Fundraising Effectiveness Project found that only 21% of one-time donors were retained. However, if a person contributes a second gift, the retention rate increases to 64%. Since one-time-only donors are the main participants in Giving Tuesday, it’s critical to have a plan to keep them engaged.

Challenge: Building a plan to thank donors and keep them engaged before doing anything else.

4. Giving Tuesday is largely independent of year-end contributions.

Based on reports from the last eight years, people participating in the event are either new or lapsed donors and are not part of your regular giving cycle. While this alleviates fears of cannibalizing any annual fund or end-of-year appeals, it does increase your churn rate.

Conversely, a hugely successful Giving Tuesday does not indicate strong end-of-year fundraising. Since participants are typically not engaged with your organization, Giving Tuesday doesn’t replace year-end asks. While there will be some cross-over with existing donors making gifts on Giving Tuesday, it’s safer to view these donors as two separate groups and target appropriate messages and thank you notes.

Challenge: Crafting a plan that smoothly incorporates both Giving Tuesday and end-of-year giving.

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