Top 10 tips to prepare for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a crucial date in charities’ fundraising calendar each year.

The annual event takes place on December 1 this year is a chance for charities to raise awareness of their work and appeal for funds, as part of a global voluntary sector campaign.

It has its origins in the US around a decade a go and is timed annually around the holiday season, after Thanksgiving and retail event Black Friday and ahead of Christmas.

In recent years it has gathered significant momentum in the UK, dovetailing the growth in online fundraising. For example, last year’s Giving Tuesday was the top trending phrase on Twitter in the UK and the event raised £14.2m online, equivalent to £10,000 a minute.

The event has been staged a little differently in 2020 – a year when charity sector finances have been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic. An extra date was added in May to help the sector to off set income losses due to events being cancelled and charity shops forced to shut their doors.

To help you prepare for this December’s event we have prepared our top 10 tips to getting ready for and making the most of Giving Tuesday.

Test your fundraising technology

No matter how good content and messaging is on Giving Tuesday, vital donations can be lost if online fundraising technology is blighted by glitches.

Before December 1, make sure your technology is up to speed and tech gremlins are kept at bay. This means testing simple processes, such as whether donate buttons work. Make sure staff test out the online giving process in advance. This should be on desktop, tablet and mobile.

Load up your social media management platform

A social media management platform is a key weapon in a charity’s armoury ahead of Giving Tuesday.

This can be particularly useful in making sure the right imagery is used for different social media platforms, based on different audiences. For example the younger demographic of Instagram will require different imagery to the more professionally focused LinkedIn and the older user userbase of Facebook.

Ensuring consistency of messaging across social media is important too. This is where a social media management platform can also help, to tailor content but keep overall messaging simple – to encourage donations. Securing the hashtag #GivingTuesday in place is also another key part of planning, as this will boost views.

Create engaging content

Engaging stories will encourage giving. Charities need to ensure their content messaging and insights are appealing to donors. Video and strong imagery is key to making social media posts stand out. Charity Times has produced a handy list of video content tools for charity workers of all technical ability to use. This ranges from the professional Adobe Premier Pro tool to free apps including iMovie.

Be Positive

Studies have shown that positive images can lead to higher donations and be more appealing to supporters.

This includes using Giving Tuesday to praise the work of charity workers, volunteers and supporters and show how they are making a positive difference to people’s lives.

Giving Tuesday is a day of celebration of the work of charities after all.

This year’s campaign includes an initiative called GiveBack2020, which focuses on the positive work charities have accomplished over this difficult year and their impact on people’s lives.

“It’s a chance for us to come together (however we can) to GiveBack to the charities who have supported us, our families and our communities throughout the pandemic – delivering meals to families isolating, checking in on people living alone and finding new ways to provide services to people who were already in need before the crisis,” say Giving Tuesday organisers.

Involve supporters and beneficiaries

Supporters and beneficiaries are among a charity’s greatest promoters online, revealing first hand the impact of good causes to their lives and why they have decided to donate. This can also include involving celebrity supporters, such as disabilities charity Lifelites enlisting the actress Anita Dobson to raise awareness of #GivingTuesday this year and the charity’s work using assistive technology.

Involve staff and volunteers

Staff are another excellent group of ambassadors for charities’ promotion of the importance of donations during #GivingTuesday. Involve them in social media promotion, either on charities’ own accounts or their personal accounts.

Age UK in Somerset is among the many charities that showcased their volunteers to during this May’s #GivingTuesday event to add authenticity to messages of how the charity is making a difference to people’s lives.

Attract new donors

Research on direct debit cancellations and sign ups released in November by Rapidata, the payments arm of the Access Group, showed the need for charities to use Giving Tuesday to attract new donors.

This found that while charities are effectively retaining regular donors amid the Covid-19 pandemic, they are struggling to attract new supporters. The volume of new direct debit sign ups dropped by more than a quarter between May and September, compared to the same period in 2019.

Charities are urged to ensure their fundraising content on the day is broad, to appeal to a diverse range of people and new donors, rather than just their existing supporter base.

Be innovative

With in person fundraising curtailed, this year’s Giving Tuesday is a perfect time to be innovative and try different approaches with online promotion. For some this could mean enlisting online gamers for the first time and involve them in sponsored gaming marathons on the day.

Perhaps live streaming an event is new for a charity. Consider engaging with supporters and new donors using Facebook Live, Youtube, Twitch and other streaming sites.

While Facebook and Twitter may be a charity’s usual social media focus, Giving Tuesday could be a good chance to focus on other platforms, such as Instagram.

Use Giving Tuesday to encourage volunteering

By appealing to the public with engaging, positive content charities can use #GivingTuesday not just to enlist long term donors but also long term volunteers. The online focus of #GivingTuesday is particularly important to attracting younger volunteers.

As Charity Times has reported this year, volunteering is changing. Research by nfpSynergy found that the Covid-19 crisis has escalating an existing trend of increased volunteering among young people. This found that volunteering rates among the under 30s rose between May and August this year from 30% to 40%.

Family volunteering is also an increasing trend that #GivingTuesday promotion can tap into. NCVO reserach has detailed how family influences are a key way for people to give up their time for good causes. This can be through families working togethjer for the same charities or encouraging their relatives to work for free for other charities.

Use resources

The Giving Tuesday UK website has a raft of useful resources for charities, their supporters and coportate partners. This includes examples of successful campaigning in previous years, advice on effective fundraising, as well as social media logos and imagery.

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