14 Nov Getting More from Giving Tuesday
14 November 2023
By David Allen, Development for Conservation
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am mixed about Giving Tuesday. It feels to me like doing very little nets you $3,000-5,000 while going all out nets you maybe double that. By “netting” I mean the amount that you actually receive less the amount you would have received anyway.
BTW – the behavioral science on Giving Tuesday is decidedly mixed, according to The Agitator Blog / DonorVoice. Some research findings indicate some incremental increases in donor value. Other studies show that results reflect little more than donors moving their giving from December into November. In other words, more that they are giving earlier than that they are giving more.
This matches my own experience, where many of the Giving Tuesday donors are Board directors!
Clearly some organizations are doing much better, and those that are fortunate enough to land a matching grant (or two or three) are not starting from zero.
My more significant feeling is related to the opportunity cost. If you expended the same organizational energy asking your $250 donors for $1,000 over coffee, would you raise more money? How about asking your $1,000 donors for $5,000?
My guess is that you would be farther ahead doing the minimum for Giving Tuesday and putting more eggs in the getting-to-know-your-donors basket. It’s like “sure, go all out on GT – but AFTER you’ve done all your other, more important work first.”
OK, so all that aside, what can you do to get more out of Giving Tuesday?
The best idea I’ve heard in a long time is to install a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) widget directly into your Giving Tuesday emails. Relatively few of your donors will have DAFs, but you will raise more money if you work systematically to discover who they are. You can use Giving Tuesday to start that process every year.
The DAF widget is free, but you’ll need access to a techie to set it up. Learn more here:
And get the widget here:
Other ideas that have survive DonorVoice’s Giving Tuesday research:
- Use matching gift information in the subject line (Giving Tuesday Gifts Doubled!), but use it in combination with an impact statement (Your Giving Tuesday Gift Doubled to Restore Prairie Today!)
- Use personalization in the subject line (David, Your Giving Tuesday Gift to Restore Prairie will be Doubled Today!)
- Send multiple emails – three or four on Giving Tuesday alone.
- Create urgency: Time is Running Out, Three Hours Left, Last Chance, and so on
Also, don’t work up all the hype and then fizzle on the gratitude. Use letters and stamps. Make them heartfelt. Make them memorable. Include information related to the how their gift helped make the match. Tell people how much it means to you that they gave.
In other words, clear your calendar on Wednesday.
There is ample and strong evidence that Giving Tuesday donors will remember your notes and look for you next year after receiving a note of gratitude this year. Think about it this way: Most Giving Tuesday donors will receive dozens of emails on November 27th and 28th. But most will make gifts to just one or two charities that day.
If your land trust is to survive in that competitive environment, you’ll need to be memorable.
The best way to be memorable is through your thank-you letters. The payoff will be in additional gifts, better retention, and higher 5-year values.
Or maybe – another idea from DonorVoice – you could abandon the ask altogether and rebrand the day as ThanksGiving Tuesday. Consider that you might make just as much money when people are expecting an ask email/video/link and getting a thank-you email/video/link instead.
If you have ideas to share from your experience, please do so in the comments.
Cheers, and have a great week!
PS: Your comments on these posts are welcomed and warmly requested. If you have not posted a comment before, or if you are using a new email address, please know that there may be a delay in seeing your posted comment. That’s my SPAM defense at work. I approve all comments as soon as I am able during the day.
Photo by Matt Bango courtesy Stocksnap.io