Giving Tuesday is almost here, but you haven’t prepared anything for a campaign yet, and you need some ideas now—preferably ones that don’t require a time machine. Nonprofits have taken a huge hit financially because of COVID-19, which is why a second Giving Tuesday was added for May 5. Can your organization still participate in a campaign if you haven’t planned anything? Will a campaign yield significant donations? Is it even worth jumping into campaigns at the last minute?
Good questions. It isn’t easy to run highly intentional Giving Tuesday campaigns with short notice, and although many websites offer ideas, and claim they can be done last minute, most of the ideas aren’t very realistic. But just because you missed the opportunity to prepare for the event doesn’t mean you can’t participate. You’ll likely be glad you entered in, but you may have to adjust some of your expectations.
That being said, here are some practical things you can do, even with very little time.
Giving Tuesday Campaign Ideas
- Email your contact list to let people know you are participating in Giving Tuesday. Hopefully you already have a donation page set up that you can link to in the email. If not, it may take a little time, depending on the system you choose. With Aplos, it’s quick and easy to set up online donations, which are even more important now that people are sheltered in place. Don’t forget to check that everything on your page is working properly before you click “Send.” If you have Text to Give to offer your supporters a mobile giving solution, share that information with them too.
- Post your participation on social media. Use any accounts where you have an audience. Even if most of your audience is on Instagram, if you have people on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, utilize those channels as well. Make sure to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday (or #GivingTuesdayNow for the May 5 event).
- Boost some social media posts. Boosting posts only costs a few dollars at a time, in most cases, and it will help you reach a wider audience than organic posts alone.
- Share stories, pictures, and videos. In addition to letting people know you are participating and how they can give, show them some compelling reasons why they should donate to your organization. Focus on the impact their donation will have on your cause.
- Contact your board, volunteers, and most loyal supporters to ask them to like, comment on, and share your posts. This will help widen your reach to their friends on the platform. It also gives you a chance to check in on your supporters and give them a practical way they can be involved, even if they can’t give financially.
- Make some old-fashioned phone calls to past donors, and ask your board members to make some calls as well. Donors will appreciate the personal touch.
Remember those expectations we suggested you adjust? The reality is, you may or may not receive additional donations from jumping into a Giving Tuesday campaign at the last minute. But here are some areas that may exceed your expectations.
Just because someone didn’t give to your organization during a campaign doesn’t mean it’s a loss. Someone new may have been introduced to your mission. Maybe they’ll give at a later date. Maybe they’ll become a volunteer. Don’t forget that this single event is part of a much larger story.
Now that you know what’s involved in a campaign, you can be ready to go when Giving Tuesday rolls around again. Put the next one on your calendar. (Hint: After the special May 5 event, it’s December 1, 2020.) Then add a second calendar event 8-10 weeks beforehand to start working on that campaign. Starting a campaign late won’t be an issue next time.
Connecting with your supporters to help them engage with the impact of your work will be worth the extra effort of participating in a Giving Tuesday campaign, even at the last minute. If someone does donate, follow up with them with a special, personalized thank you. Nurturing your donors shows your appreciation of them, and that is never a waste of time.