Without a doubt, December is the most significant month for donations and contributions. It may be the holiday spirit or the end of year attitude, but 31% of all annual giving happens in December. Even further, 12% of annual giving happens over the last three days of the calendar year. Even the average amount per donation increases significantly during December. Just based on these figures alone, it’s no wonder many organizations focus so much energy on their end of year or holiday fundraising campaigns.
While December may seem far off, it’s creeping closer every day, and your organization should be ready for when it hits. One of the best ways to introduce your end of year campaign is to focus on a starting date to kick off your fundraising activity. Based on the numbers above, one might assume that focusing on the end of December would be a sure shot to increasing donations, but what if I told you to turn the clock back slightly? Instead of peddling for donations as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, your organization should be ramping up for the largest day dedicated to charitable giving- Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday is a day in December where businesses, charities, families, and individuals nationwide come together to celebrate generosity and to donate to their favorite organizations. In 2014, organizations involved in Giving Tuesday saw a 148% growth in donation volume and a 2.5x increase in donations as compared to the previous year, and these numbers are only projected to increase. If the average donation size increases as the year comes to a close, what better day to ramp up your campaign than Giving Tuesday? It only gets better from there!
This year, Giving Tuesday falls on Tuesday, December 1st which (for those of you keeping track at home) is less than a month away. Is your organization ready for the largest donation day of the year? If your fundraising team often finds themselves scrambling at the last minute to kick off their campaigns, you may want to consider these tips for an overwhelmingly successful end of year campaign.
- Free marketing is the best marketing!
First and foremost, take advantage of free marketing when you can get it. One of the best parts of Giving Tuesday is that it’s a nationally recognized day as well as a highly relevant and well known event. Make sure your organization participates by listing yourself on GivingTuesday.org/join. By joining, you increase the chances for your patrons to participate, so don’t leave it up to your donor base to find out about Giving Tuesday on their own! After joining, you can promote your fundraising campaign with the hashtag #GivingTuesday and increase your organization’s shares across all social media platforms. This also brings us to my next point…
- Don’t neglect your online donations
According to the 2014 Digital Giving Index compiled by the Network for Good, online giving increased last year by 9%. While online giving only counts for less than 10% of total donations, it continues to grow more rapidly than overall giving, which only increased by 3% by the end of 2014.
Give your online donation methods some serious attention. Make it easy for your customers and donors to navigate to your donation page. Organizations typically include a call to action on their webpage, and for our Tix clients, we build your donation page into the online ticket buying process. Additionally, your donors don’t want to see a generic donation page, so spice it up! Tix offers your organization a customizable donation page that lets you include your branding, customized images, and messages crafted just for your particular campaign. You have total control, and can change and track your donations at the drop of a hat
- Set it and (don’t you dare) forget it
A lot of success rides on the time and frequency of when you send your email blasts. When should your organization send out email blasts? Weekly? Every other Tuesday? What about the time of day? Typically, email blasts tend to be more successful when sent on a Tuesday or Thursday during the middle of the day, around 1-3 PM. Think about it, people are busy playing catchup on Monday and are busy trying to finally make it to the weekend on Friday, so why risk your message getting lost in all the chatter?
Time is money, so do your work in advance! Tix users can schedule their email blasts ahead of time using our Automated Email Management so they can stay in front of their campaigns. Additionally, if you need some help getting started, check out our Five Tips for Crafting the Perfect E-mail.
- Sharing is Caring
Cultivating new donors can be much easier when they already have a connection to your organization. This doesn’t necessarily mean converting a single ticket buyer into a donor. Instead, focus on your most loyal patrons and donors. Encourage them to share their experiences with your organization with their family and friends. Establish ways for them to share their messages, both with your organization and with the general public, through a dedicated YouTube channel, an organizational hashtag, or on their own through social media. Tix incorporates the ability for your patrons to share their purchases and donations on Facebook and Twitter, which allows them to share their involvement with your organization with their friends and family.
Another important aspect that many organizations underestimate is to thank your donors! Yes, individual acknowledgement letters are important, but sharing the love electronically can increase the visibility of your campaign. Set fundraising goals and make sure to publically thank your contributors when each goal is met. Especially on Giving Tuesday, try to bolster your presence on Twitter by showing a feed of users who have donated and, if you really want to go the extra mile, try to thank every one of them!