Best days, times and social media for Christmas fundraising revealed

Charities have been given advice on the best days, times and social media platforms to use to target supporters for festive fundraising campaigns.

The advice suggests that December 23 and 24 are set to be the best days for charities to target supporters with their Christmas campaigning.

These days emerged as the key dates for donations, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and are likely to continue being the best time to fundraise once again this year.

The analysis, of festive giving over the last two years by charities using the fundraising platform Enthuse, found that 7% of all December donations for charities were made on Christmas Eve in December 2019.

There was a shift in donor behaviour last year during the health crisis, with a focus on giving throughout the month, rather than in the two days before Christmas.

But this pattern is not set to continue into 2021, says the analysis.

It says that December 2020's trend “may be because more people were working from home throughout December and there were still numerous restrictions in place limiting the number of leisure activities people could take part in".

It added: “With some having more disposable income to donate, the public may have tended towards giving earlier (in December). As we return to more normal circumstances around this festive period, it’s possible that habits may fall back to more like 2019."

The research also found that weekdays are far more popular than weekends. Although this is a pattern for giving all year round, “it makes a far more substantial difference in a key donation month like December”, the Enthuse report found.

Weekend donations rose slightly during lockdown but are expected to drop in 2021 in line with December 2019’s focus on weekday giving, adds the report.

Further comparisons over the last two years reveal that the third week of December saw the highest proportion of donations for the month.

“A sensible approach would see a focus on week three for driving donations through paid media and campaigns. Week three has seen high levels of giving in both of the last two years, though it is worth considering that this is also likely to be the most competitive period,” states the report.

Golden Hours for Giving

The best time of day to encourage giving is also revealed. The analysis found that a key time for giving was between 10am and 1pm. During December 2020 these hours accounted for more than a fifth (21.4%) of donations made during a 24 hour period.

“Last December’s figures are important to consider when thinking about the hours to push campaigns and paid media,” says the report.

But it adds that Covid restrictions may skew the figures and the research also looks at the time-of-day people donate across the year.

It found that over August and September this year the two popular giving peaks were 8am to 11am and 6pm to 9pm. Both periods accounted for a fifth of giving during a 24-hour period.

Best platforms

Enthuse has found that Facebook is the most effective way to promote fundraising campaigns across all ages.

More than half (52%) of users said they would share charity campaigns on the platform to help raise funds. This is twice as much as other platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, where the proportion is users of all ages willing to help raise funds is around a quarter.

But charities are urged to ensure they use a broad range of social media platforms for younger supporters especially.

For example, Generation Z, who are aged up to 24, said they would use a variety of platforms to promote fundraising. This includes 67% citing Facebook, 57% mentioning Instagram and 39% using TikTok.

For millennials, aged between 25 and 40, 65% would use Facebook, 43% mentioned Instagram and 40% mentioned WhatsApp.

Twitter and email are “surprisingly” poor ways to promote fundraising, the research found. Just 14% said they would use either to share fundraising campaigning, Enthuse found.

“So when charities are considering their fundraising packs for Christmas campaigns, they need to be thinking more about how to help their supporters spread the word on Instagram and TikTok rather than Twitter and email,” said Enthuse.

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