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Giving Tuesday: Five Ways To Engage Your Nonprofit Board

Giving Tuesday: Five Ways to Engage Your Nonprofit Board

The holiday season reminds us of all the reasons we love to give and receive. It all begins right after Thanksgiving, with the Black Friday sales beginning at midnight, followed by tons of sales for online shoppers on Cyber Monday. After the initial holiday shopping rush, it’s Giving Tuesday — a time for people to give back to the organizations that serve them and those they love all year long.

Giving Tuesday was created when the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in October 2012 to get the “giving season” off to a good start. The founders wanted to remind people that there’s more to the holiday season than commercialization and buying gifts. The original two founders were soon joined by Cisco, Mashable, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Sony, Aldo, Groupon, UNICEF, Google, Skype, Microsoft and Unilever, which became additional founding members. Mashable made the public announcement, and Giving Tuesday quickly went viral.

Lots of people save a little bit all year round in order to ease the strain on their budgets during the holiday season. Giving Tuesday also has people thinking about planned giving for Giving Tuesday. The question for nonprofits is, “How many people would be willing to designate your nonprofit for their charitable giving on Giving Tuesday?”

How to Get Your Nonprofit on Board With Giving Tuesday

If Giving Tuesday is a new concept for your nonprofit organization, how can you get your board excited about starting a Giving Tuesday campaign this year?

Here are five easy steps to get your fellow directors on board with starting a Giving Tuesday campaign:

  1. Put it on your agenda.

Place Giving Tuesday on your board agenda and be prepared to talk about how it can bring in substantial donations for your organization. Convince board members by telling them more about how it works.

Giving Tuesday is a popular event. Most people know that it comes right after Cyber Monday and they’re weighing their options early about which charities they want to make donations to and how much they want to give. Many people also need to donate money at the end of the year for tax reasons.

People are receiving emails, postcards and social media ads from lots of nonprofits in the weeks around Thanksgiving. If they don’t see the name of your organization, they’ll be just as happy to donate to a different one.

  1. Educate your board members with the facts.

Share with your board that, according to a 2014 statistic, 31% of charitable giving happens in December. In addition, 12% of people make donations to nonprofits in the final three days of the year. Giving Tuesday is a one-day event, but it generates contact information for potential donors that will allow your organization to solicit them all year long. Consider piggy-backing on your Giving Tuesday campaign by sending out a postal mailing or an email blast during the final three days of the year to make it easy for donors to give again if they wish.

  1. Explain how to make it successful.

Outline a Giving Tuesday campaign for your board. Explain the history of Giving Tuesday and try to tie it in with your nonprofit’s history or mission. Set an initial goal and plan to make it public. Talk about how you can share your campaign on Giving Tuesday’s official website in order to gain attention for your nonprofit. List the places online where you can advertise your Giving Tuesday campaign, including your website and social media outlets. You could add a donate button to any sites that don’t already have them.

Talk about how much fun it could be for board members and other members of the organization to post selfies with cards that say, “I support XYZ Organization because… #GivingTuesday”. You could also throw a Giving Tuesday party, send out donation cards to the people on your donors’ list, and seek out a sponsor that would match some or all of the donations.

  1. Provide a written list of the ways your nonprofit could get donations.

It won’t take much convincing when your board realizes how many different ways your organization could source money. Consider these sources of donations on Giving Tuesday:

  • Sponsor matches
  • New members
  • New donors from community
  • Website donations
  • Social media donations
  • Mail-in checks

Remind your board that Giving Tuesday is just one day, but the connections you make then may become potential long-term donors.

  1. Provide training for a successful campaign.

Encourage everyone to keep the campaign light and fun. Everyone loves a cheerful giver. You might consider doing some internal competitions. A little competitiveness never hurt anyone, and some fun competition can help to raise the bar nicely.

Let your board know that you can provide sample content for email requests and social media posts. Offer to coach them on how to approach family members, friends and business acquaintances and what to say. Provide each board member with the 2018 Giving Tuesday Communications Toolkit, which is bursting with ideas and communication strategies for a successful Giving Tuesday campaign.

Closing Out Your Giving Tuesday Campaign

Don’t forget to offer a few words of sincere thanks to those who give. Donors appreciate getting a kind note, follow-up letter or email telling them once again how important their donation is and how the organization plans to use their gift to support the organization’s mission.

After Giving Tuesday, schedule some time after your holiday celebration to review your campaign and determine what you can learn from it. Which things worked great? Which things didn’t work so well? How can your organization build an even bigger and better campaign for the next year?

Store all of these ideas in your BoardEffect board portal so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel next year. Get some planning dates on the next year’s calendar so you can start on the campaign planning nice and early.

Finally, count your money! Get the results from your website donations, social media donations, new memberships, community members and business sponsors and watch the total soar! It won’t be difficult to get the most skeptical board members on board for the coming year when they gain the assurance of how successful a Giving Tuesday campaign can be.

Dottie Schindlinger

Dottie is BoardEffect’s Governance Technology Evangelist and promotes the concept of Governance for Good as a leading expert in the field. She researches governance trends and writes for a variety of publications, including the definitive chapter on “E-governance Is Good Governance” for Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets, Ted Hart, Steve R. McLaughlin, James M. Greenfield, Philip H. Geier, Jr., Eds., April 2010: Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. A frequent presenter on the topic of good governance, Dottie speaks to dozens of audiences – both in the US and abroad – and presents hundreds of webinars each year.

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