#GivingTuesday 2019 — 15 Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning
I hear the buzz — people are starting to say that #GivingTuesday has hit market saturation! And, at the end of 2018’s #GivingTuesday campaigns, I thought the same thing … until I looked at the numbers. Check this out:
- Total donations are up 27%! $380M in 2018 versus $300M in 2017.
- Facebook donations nearly tripled! $125M in 2018 versus $45M in 2017.
- Mobile giving is up 12%! This year, 29% of all donations were given on a mobile device.
So, what does that mean for this year? Growth doesn’t seem to be stagnant, which means there is still opportunity to build upon the spirit of giving on #GivingTuesday. However, if you want to get donors excited about it and choose your organization over another, you have to stand out. With so many more charities participating, there is so much noise, and it seems as though the real issue is going to be figuring out how to break through all that noise. And that absolutely needs to start long before we enter the holiday season.
So, with just 15 Tuesdays before this year’s big event, here’s 15 questions to ask yourself:
- Are you taking the time to ensure your information is correct on sites like GuideStar and Charity Navigator?
According to the same philanthropy.com article, donors are increasingly more savvy, using tools like GuideStar to research charitable organizations. GuideStar’s web traffic on #GivingTuesday was up 33%! It behooves you to ensure the information donors are looking at is correct. Additionally, you can provide that extra layer of transparency by having as much information as possible (finances, program KPIs, etc.) easily found on your organization’s website. Donors need to trust your organization, and transparency is a quick way to gain their trust.
Additionally, consider including the logos of GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and/or BBB on your digital communications. Or, if you have corporate partners that have great community trust, consider collaborating with them to utilize their brand within your organization’s communications. Being endorsed by an organization that is already held in high regard is a fantastic way to speed up the pathway to building trust between your charity and your prospective donor.
- Is your organization easily recognizable?
Part of breaking through the noise is making sure people recognize you long before they get a #GivingTuesday email in their inbox or have an ad pop up in their social media feeds. That means doing the groundwork all throughout the year, so the foundation is laid before Giving Season even starts. Thus …
- Are you pushing ongoing social advertisements that can either boost engagement, capture new email addresses, or solicit for donations?
- Are you maxing out your free $10,000 from the Google Grant program?
- Are you addressing SEO on an ongoing basis?
- Are you building a digital communication program that has a mix of engagement and fundraising campaigns?
- Are you utilizing tactics like retargeting to draw traffic back to your site after someone leaves?
Having a healthy digital program all year round is important! Which leads us to the next question …
- Can you be found easily on the web?
Say someone is interested in participating in #GivingTuesday and wants to see what’s out there when it comes to a cause that’s important to them. If they type in keywords and phrases that are relevant to your organization, will you be the first to appear on a Google search? If not, you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to capture new donors.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is something that is often overlooked — or the first thing to be cut when budgets start to get tight. Unfortunately, because of that, an incredible amount of money is being left on the table. SEO is the foundation to a great digital program. It is the driver of traffic, but only if you spend time making sure research-savvy donors can find you. And once they do, the next step is making sure they have a great experience.
- Is your website a great source of information? Or is it hard to navigate
- If you can’t get your site ready for in time for #GivingTuesday, can you at least build a great landing page with all the content you’d want people to read about your organization?
Building a really awesome digital campaign is great, but if your digital real estate, namely your website, isn’t on the same level as your incredible campaign, you’re fighting against yourself. And, beyond your website, you should be asking yourself more questions about your digital landscape.
- Is your digital space user friendly?
One of our new clients very recently started to invest more in digital fundraising. The most eye-opening email metric for them was the conversion rate. We were able to utilize tactics to increase the open rate, and the same for the click-through rate, but when it comes to the conversion rate, only 28% of the people are actually making a donation once they land on the page. That absolutely needs to increase, and the way to do that is to enhance user experience on the donation page. It’s imperative to make that page match the campaign by having related imagery and copy, as well as making it easy to process the donation. After doing some analysis, we figured out that if we increased that conversion rate by just a couple of percentage points, total revenue would increase by 20%.
- Do you know your conversion rate from your #GivingTuesday efforts? Can it improve?
Making a small investment to ensure donors and prospects can navigate through the digital journey will have a major impact on revenue. Minor tweaks to your digital program can have big impacts on all your digital campaigns, not just #GivingTuesday. And beyond just the fundamentals of digital …
- Are you thinking outside the digital space?
Utilizing other channels for your #GivingTuesday Campaign:
Last year, I received a direct mail piece from my alma mater that had #GivingTuesday messaging on it. I was INCREDIBLY intrigued. I had, up until that point, always seen #GivingTuesday as a digital effort. Yet here’s this higher education establishment breaking the rules! GASP! So, I waited patiently this year to see if I would receive another DM piece. (BTW, I purposely did not give to the campaign last year.) And, there it was again, another DM piece. Something very simple — a postcard no larger than an over-sized index card. Makes me think it might have worked last year OR their director of development is stubborn and wanted to test it out for one more year to see if the results were different. Either way, it makes me wonder, “Should we be doing the same kind of thing?” The other reason I’m drawn to that thought is because one of our clients, who produces a quarterly magazine, send it with an advertisement for #GivingTuesday. Turns out, that ad generated a quarter of what was raised for the entire campaign.
- Can you apply the same approach if you’re NOT a traditional nonprofit?
Applying the #GivingTuesday message outside of the 501(c)(3) space:
Was I the only one to get an email from a retailer on #GivingTuesday with the message of “buy this and then donate it”? “GAHHHH, you’re missing the point of today,” I thought. But in actuality, it isn’t far from a strategy we recommended to one of our clients. We work with associations as well as traditional 501(c)(3) organizations, and since #GivingTuesday doesn’t quite apply to the association’s business model, we recommended butting in on the retailer’s “holidays.” We sent emails out on Cyber Monday and Black Friday to promote a “sale” on membership. Not too far off from what those retail stores were trying to do on #GivingTuesday. Wish I knew the results for them … because, for us, IT WORKED!
- Did you start planning yet?!
We’re 15 Tuesdays away! It’s time to start planning. Many of the questions above take a lot of lead time to generate resolutions to problems. The time is now to get your team together to make sure your organization is set up for success.
And if you have any questions for us, let us know. Our team of Nexies has been through many iterations of #GivingTuesday campaigns for many different types of organizations. I’m sure we can help set you up for success, too!