The #GivingTuesday Campaign Planning Timeline for Nonprofits
Excited about launching a #GivingTuesday campaign for your nonprofit but don’t really know where to start? We speak with a lot of nonprofit organizations who have good intentions for #GivingTuesday campaigns but don’t see the outcomes they’d hoped for, largely due to lack of planning.
Last year, #GivingTuesday campaigns raised $168 million online in addition to other non-monetary gifts like hygiene packs, meals, and over 52,000 pounds of toys. If you don’t think about #GivingTuesday until Black Friday, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunities for your organization. To help nonprofits make the most of #GivingTuesday, we put together this #GivingTuesday planning timeline. Review this timeline and start planning your campaign today!
The sun is shining, and it’s time to get planning! If you haven’t already, dedicate which staff members will be working on the #GivingTuesday campaign this year. Have a brainstorm meeting to start sharing ideas and begin setting goals for this year’s campaign.
If staring at a blank white board seems overwhelming (there are so many possibilities with #GivingTuesday!), try first by thinking about your organization’s mission. Write it out where the entire team can see it. From there, start identifying some goals you may have to reach or contribute to that mission. Maybe your first #GivingTuesday campaign will be more focused around brand awareness. If you’ve already participated in several #GivingTuesday campaigns in the past, you may be more focused on expanding your donor base or getting more volunteer sign-ups.
Don’t forget about opportunities for collaboration. Organizations that work together can broaden their impact and increase results. Reach out to your partners or other organizations with similar causes to combine your efforts and amplify your message. If you’re considering having a matching campaign with a business as part of #GivingTuesday, now is the time to start reaching out to potential partners.
It’s back to school and it’s time people started learning about your campaign. This month is all about raising awareness and excitement for your giving campaign. Don’t know where to start? Try some of these ideas:
- Host a launch party (in your office, for your community). This is a great time to invite other staff and community members into what you’re doing for the global day of giving.
- Send out a press release. Many organizations find this to be a good way to spread the word about their campaigns.
- Share on your website and social channels. Write a blog post or kick off a blog series about your campaign. Start building momentum through your email newsletter and social channels, and encourage your followers to get involved too. You may even have a dedicated place on your website for visitors to go to for more information.
- Send “Save the Date” cards to your donors. These simple cards can be a fun and cheery way to get the attention of your donors and prospects before they’re bombarded with giving letters around the holidays. And you’re not even asking for a big commitment or large donation—you’re inviting them to join in on what your organization is doing on the world’s biggest social media movement on giving!
This is also a great time to start promoting any needs you have for the day-of campaign. Do you need volunteers to answer phones or hand out meals? Start getting sign-ups and commitments now.
It’s PSL (pumpkin spice latte) season, so you know people will be on social media. Keep up the social media activity this month. Monitor the #GivingTuesday hashtag on channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage in conversations with other people and organizations, and encourage your donor and volunteer base to join in on the conversation too.
Be sure your website is ready to go for the big day. Is your website prepared to handle increased traffic? Can visitors easily navigate your site on mobile devices? Is the donation process simple for first-time site visitors? Consider these as you prep your site for an influx of visitors looking to your site for more information about your mission and how to get involved.
Check if your city has a civic campaign planned. #GivingTuesday is the global day of giving, but it’s driven by local movements. In 2016, more than 80 cities in the United States participated in local #GivingTuesday campaign movements. Continue building momentum through press releases, blog posts, social media, and video. Towards the end of the month, send out a “one-month countdown” email and social posts to continue raising excitement and anticipation for the event. Get GivingTuesday.org’s PR Toolkit to help gain local coverage for your campaign.
Less than one month until go time! It’s time to start double checking that all the pieces are in place for the big day. Check in with volunteers or other partners to confirm their roles and involvement. Be sure everyone knows their assigned duties for the day. Make any final preparations to your website to make the campaign a success.
Continue your social activity and engagement with other #GivingTuesday campaigns and participants! Try a daily countdown or other posting themes to keep followers engaged with your campaign leading up to November 28.
#GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017
Today is the day! You’ve been working hard for months leading up to this day—don’t forget to have fun and share photos of your #GivingTuesday activities on social media.
Take a breath, you did it! Take some time to celebrate and thank your staff members who worked alongside you to make your organization’s campaign happen. Take them out to lunch or happy hour and acknowledge their hard work. Don’t forget your volunteers and donors! Send out thank you cards or messages to all who participated, volunteered, and gave to your #GivingTuesday campaign.
#GivingTuesday may be over, but you’re not done yet. Reporting on your campaign is an important step you can’t overlook. Not only will reporting help you see if you met your goals for this year and benchmark for next year’s campaign, but also help boost momentum as you finish out the year with those final year-end giving pushes. Don’t forget to report campaign results to the #GivingTuesday team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also plan out some blog posts and social media messages sharing stories about your campaign and community impact.
After a successful campaign, you’ll have a lot of new volunteers and donors to manage for your organization. Consider integrating your CRM or donor management system with your financial solution. As your organization grows, reporting requirements and donor management become more complicated. Working with integrated systems over siloed ones will improve efficiency while reducing errors.
Reporting on your #GivingTuesday Campaign
The best way for your organization to understand if you met your campaign goals and overall mission is to see real-time data based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are an integral part of understanding and reporting on the success of your organization and how goals are met. Having the right tools in place is another essential for nonprofit reporting. The right tools will capture and analyze your data with accuracy and allow you to present that data to your board. That data helps you, your team, and your board understand the best way to operate in the future with KPIs signaling what’s working and what’s not.
Managing finances for a nonprofit organization means getting visibility into how your organization is achieving its mission, whether it’s a #GivingTuesday campaign or a year-end newsletter. You need to be ready to show decision makers on every level the right tools to gain insight and act on data, too. With the right data, you get visibility into the financial health of your organization to see if you’re meeting your mission. And with visibility and insight, comes informed decision making.
Get the Nonprofit’s Guide to Dashboards to improve visibility and reporting in your organization.