Real Talk: Lessons Learned from Giving Tuesday

For Development Directors and Fundraisers, after Giving Tuesday comes Note-To-Self Wednesday

August 5, 2022

For Development Directors and Fundraisers, after Giving Tuesday comes Note-To-Self Wednesday. Giving Tuesday has snowballed in recent years thanks to the growth and ripening of online peer-to-peer fundraising platforms such as Facebook fundraisers. The preparation puts extra strain on staff, as does constantly monitoring Facebook all day (and in the days after). Still, the reports show that more and more people are giving through Facebook. For nonprofits that do have a strategy, the effort is worth it:

  • Facebook processed more than $125  million on 2018 Giving Tuesday (in 2016 people gave $6.8 million through Facebook)
  • Of the 473,000 donors, 75% had never given through Facebook before
  •  $6.4 million was raised through donate buttons on nonprofit Facebook pages

The time to develop your 2019 strategy is right now (after you've recovered from Giving Tuesday, of course). Here are some notes-to-self from nonprofit staff post 2018 Giving Tuesday:

  1. Don't take Thanksgiving week off - Unless you're really organized, the week before Giving Tuesday is when you start getting your community excited - it's also when you start getting dozens of emails from donors asking about matches and incentives. Take the week off and you've only got one day to catch up before the Giving Tuesday festivities.
  2. Staff up - Recruit a couple of people to help monitor Facebook and respond to instant messages from potential donors. Some nonprofits saw their responsiveness rating go down as they fell behind on responding quickly.
  3. Craft a really (really) great subject line - Your "get fired up" email the week before Giving Tuesday will be competing with Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails. The email is super important, but your subject line has to be incredibly hardworking.
  4. Include your Facebook link in your email - A collective wail went up Tuesday morning when hundreds of nonprofits realized they didn't include a link to their page in their email.
  5. Activate your donate button - Or walk away from your share of $6.4 million. Totally up to you.
  6. DO NOT point your donate button at your website - People like giving through Facebook because A) it takes two clicks B) there is social capital involved. If you take them out of Facebook to donate, there's a high likelihood you'll lose them. To learn more about this phenomenon, read this post
  7. Create live videos - Live videos encourage people to give and they are proven to work. Yours don't have to be high-tech or fancy, just sincere.
  8. To have a chance at the match, start at zero dark thirty - This year Facebook and PayPal matched $7 million in donations on a first come, first serve basis. It went in minutes. If you want a chance at the match, encourage donors to give before they have coffee (or set an alarm if they're on the West Coast!)
  9. Boost a post - and keep boosting for another week - Giving Tuesday doesn't have to end on Tuesday. End-of-year giving is on people's minds through December. Boost a post on Giving Tuesday, and keep boosting a post for another week afterward.

Giving Tuesday is a lot of extra work for nonprofits, but a share of $45 million dollars is worth the extra effort, right?