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Making the Most of #GivingTuesday – Tips to Help Your Nonprofit

By on Monday, December 2, 2013

Disgusted at seeing Wal-Mart shoppers duke it out on CNN for Black Friday deals? Want to see charity come back to our holiday season? Arriving on the heels of CyberMonday, #GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Consultants, nonprofits and others have been tweeting excitement for the event on hashtag #GivingTuesday for weeks, but if your nonprofit wants to participate tomorrow, you still can. Here’s a few tips to help.

Communicate clearly what contributions can do, so potential donors can visualize the impact of their gift. Many nonprofits keep a set of examples like this on file as part of their standard fundraising materials, but if you don’t have them on file, now is a good time to draw them up. What will donations of $10, $25, $50, $100, $1,000 do? Write out a basic list that you can tweet in small bursts. Try to connect the donation with the impact that your organization is working toward.

Fire up your Twitter account and draft tweets today for tomorrow. Tweet under hashtag #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Stagger your tweets out across the day, so you overlap into multiple time zones. Communicate your organization’s mission clearly and share how others can help. Using a service like Hootsuite can allow you to advance program tweets over the course of a day and set up a campaign to run on Twitter in a few minutes. If your day tomorrow is full of meetings, the campaign can still roll out without you being chained to your computer or smartphone.

Write one great story of how your organization is making a difference that you can share online. Many organizations keep a few success stories on file for this purpose, but if you don’t have one, now is a good time to draft one. If you have a blog, an easy way to update your website, or a Facebook page, share one good story of how the organization is helping someone. Aim for a personal story. Write 1-4 paragraphs on someone who has benefited from your organization. Then add a paragraph at the end about how the organizations helps many more people, and cite current program numbers, statistics, etc. Now make an ask – explain what giving can do to help your organization. Link to a donation page on your website. Add one great photo to accompany the story that showcases your organization. After publishing, you can share this story on Twitter, Facebook and other venues.

Monitor Twitter and other social media sites on #GivingTuesday and amplify. Watch for tweets that mention your organization. Re-tweet and favorite those who support your organization. Thank those who share information on Twitter about your organization. Recognize any new followers that start following your account by doing a simple “Thank you to our new followers @…” post on your Twitter feed. Share the impact of #GivingTuesday on your Twitter feed in real time – if that includes calls from people wanting to volunteer, donations that arrive for your organization, etc. Comment back on Facebook to those who post and watch your blog for comments.

Cross post information about #GivingTuesday on your website and other social media accounts. Post information about Giving Tuesday and your organization’s participation on Facebook, Twitter, your website, and other accounts.

Don’t despair. #GivingTuesday worked last year.  According to organizers, “Blackbaud processed over $10 million in online donations on 11/27/12 – a 53% increase when compared to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving the previous year. DonorPerfect recorded a 46% increase in online donations and the average gift increased 25%. More than 50 million people worldwide spread the word about GivingTuesday – resulting in milestone trending on Twitter.”

Track your results. Pull donation records from last year for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Compare how donations measure up this year. Don’t forget to track non-monetary aid – like Twitter shares, offers to volunteer or in-kind donation offers. Using these numbers, put December 2, 2014 on your calendar, so you can plan ahead for participation for next year.

Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design work for publications and websites (portfolio). Ami blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.

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