Building Giving Relationships on Giving Tuesday

0 Comments 27 November 2012

#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations, and encourages both causes and donors to participate. Any US 501(c)3 organization with a Giving Tuesday project idea may submit its Giving Tuesday project ahead of November 27th, and become a partner organization in the nationwide event. Individuals who want to give are encouraged to do so, not just by donating funds. As the day draws near, the #GivingTuesday hashtag has become prevalent on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and elsewhere online. While I love the idea of taking the focus off of pre-holiday consumerism and onto charitable giving, I want more. I want to see Giving Tuesday become the kickoff event of the donor relationship season. Three approaches to leveraging Giving Tuesday for this come to mind.

1. Consider Giving Tuesday the first date. With an event like Giving Tuesday, there are bound to be new donors drawn to your cause, likely brought in by known supporters. Once they donate to you, now what do you do? Thank them. Then thank them again. Then get to know them. Then invite their opinions about what you could be doing better. Then listen. Sounds simple, but it takes a fundamental shift in the way many organizations do business to really do it right. At the community benefits organization Creating the Future, they are practicing this type of engagement and calling it “Full Frontal Engagement.” Check out their donation page which invites you to not only donate, but think about the donation experience. I expect Full Frontal Engagement will lead to deep engagement…which will lead to more donations.

If you are the Olympic Community Action Program, and Anne Schneider is sending a whole lot of her friends to spend money at your organization’s thrift shop on Giving Tuesday, then this could be the start of a beautiful relationship. Not only with Anne Schneider, but with all of her friends. What could you do to thank them, get to know them, and invite them into your nonprofit community? I hope OlyCAP thinks of it this way, to turn a purchase into a relationship.

2. Use Giving Tuesday to deepen the relationship. Giving Tuesday isn’t an ideal way to begin a relationship (hello, let’s transact), but it is a perfect way to solidify existing relationships. It is also a fabulous test of moving social friends from online fans to donors. If you’ve spent the year building an engaged community online, this is the time to test their engagement.

Use Giving Tuesday to give back to those who love you. Consider thanking them on Giving Tuesday. NTEN holds its member appreciation event all November, every November, thanking its members. NTEN also encourages its members to thank each other online using the hashtag #NTENthanks, and offers a prize to the person who receives the highest number of #NTENThanks.

3. Build community among stakeholders through Giving Tuesday. Use Giving Tuesday to create community. Community organizers know that friends bring other friends to causes and organizations. According to a new donor engagement study by Charity Dynamics and NTEN, at least 20% of the people who are involved in your organization do so because they have friends or family who support the cause. Why not use the day to create relationship ties between individuals, and support those ties that exist?

The American Diabetes Association is encouraging donors to “Pay it Forward with Step Out” on Giving Tuesday. They are encouraging their donors to donate to someone else’s Stepping Out fundraiser, and keep the donations going through a “pay it forward” concept. The ADA encourages you to donate to any team captain, anyone who has inspired you, anyone who hasn’t met their goal, or to anyone as a random act of kindness. If you donate a minimum of $26 to any Step Out fundraiser, and you enter that fundraiser into a drawing for a trip to Hawai’i. According to Shana Masterson, National Associate Director, the organization “wanted to do more than simply encourage general donations to the event. Pay it Forward puts our Step Out participants and donors in the spotlight and will provide them with a memorable, feel-good experience that goes beyond the expected.”

As for me, I’ll be donating to three organizations on Giving Tuesday that have maintained relationships with me and reflect the kind of stakeholder-focused organization I believe in: Creating the Future, Women of the Wall, and NTEN. Over Thanksgiving, I donated to two other organizations that represent inclusive, stakeholder-focused engagement: SMAC Sock Monkeys Against Cancer (a venture of WTF Lung Cancer), and Epic Change.

What will you be giving on Giving Tuesday?



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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