On March 31st, GivingTuesday.org announced "#GivingTuesdayNow", a worldwide day of giving prompted in response to the financial hardships nonprofits are experiencing because of the coronavirus pandemic. Though a great opportunity for struggling organizations to inject some energy into their Spring fundraising efforts, #GivingTuesdayNow has presented some challenges to nonprofits, which are pivoting quickly to incorporate this worldwide day of giving into their current communications schedule.
I’ve conducted an informal survey of the marketing experts at THD to answer questions some nonprofit colleagues have been asking about #GivingTuesdayNow:
Question: What should my nonprofit be doing to promote #GivingTuesdayNow?
Answer: "Be nimble and quickly pivot your planned strategies to incorporate this global day of giving into your messaging. Mobilize your community by activating all of your digital channels – website, social, email. Use a video message on your website or a blog post to underscore the need and inspire giving.[*]” — Beth Mello, Senior Vice President, Account Services
*Editor’s note: Last year’s #GivingTuesday content can easily be refreshed for #GivingTuesdayNow, especially with the free graphics already provided by GivingTuesday.org.
Question: Is #GivingTuesdayNow for any nonprofit, or specifically for just those providing direct relief for COVID-19? Should we be mentioning the crisis in our messaging?
Answer: "The short answers: #GivingTuesdayNow is for any nonprofit, and yes, you should mention the crisis. And I’m going right to the source for this one. #GivingTuesdayNow is described as, ‘a global day of unity and generosity’ that has the end goal of, ‘driving a spike of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.’ This global day of giving was organized specifically in response to COVID-19, so mentioning the crisis in your messaging is not only fitting, it’s smart.” — Emma Hernandez-Iverson, Creative Director
Question: How early should I promote #GivingTuesdayNow? Should I promote the event ahead of time?
Answer: “The trend for the original #GivingTuesday has been toward earlier and earlier promotion, as organizations seek to create some anticipation in a less crowded market in the days leading up to the big day, so start as early as possible. And these additional touchpoints earlier have given these organizations an edge in overall #GivingTuesday fundraising. This approach could go even further in the context of #GivingTuesdayNow, which is new and yet unknown to many. In fact, your organization could be the first place your supporters and prospects hear about the event, and there’s nothing better than being first in marketing.” — Jamie Ong-Goldring, Account Manager
Question: We already had a day of giving/giving month planned near #GivingTuesdayNow. How do we incorporate both without fatiguing or confusing donors?
Answer: “#GivingTuesdayNow is a great opportunity to call additional attention to your existing giving day/month plans. Don’t be shy! Take advantage of increased awareness and traffic to reach more constituents. Leverage the public movement to share your mission with those who may not know you well. Utilize all channels and tactics available to be bold. Now is the time to make the case for why donors should support your organization!” — Andrea Santos, Senior Director, Account Services
Question: COVID-19 has forced us to furlough staff or run people on reduced hours. Is it appropriate to mention we are running on a ‘skeleton crew’ or that we are in desperate need of funds to remain solvent?
Answer: “If there’s a positive to be found in social distancing, it’s (ironically) a newfound sense of community. In one way or another, we’re all facing the effects of the pandemic, and empathy levels are high. Bringing up the very real challenges your organization is facing is natural, and I believe it’s important. That said, how you say it matters. I would stay away from all-is-lost language like ‘skeleton crew,’ or ‘insolvent’ but you should communicate how deeply your org has been affected and underscore how vital donor support is during this crisis. Right now, people are looking for stories, and they’re looking for hope. If you can balance your difficult message with content about how your team is adapting and working around the clock to fight back, you can rally support and offer something that keeps donors believing.” — Emma Hernandez-Iverson, Creative Director
Question: Should I be making changes to my grants or Google Ads account in response to #GivingTuesdayNow?
Answer: “Absolutely. [...]. Your search campaigns for both paid and grants accounts are likely to be impacted by this event, so I would advise building a [small, branded] campaign around #GivingTuesdayNow or at the very least update your ad copy to include some mention of the event [a week in advance]. Treat May 5th the same way you would treat the normal #GivingTuesday — make similar preparations.” — Sean Doucette, Digital Advertising Manager
Though #GivingTuesdayNow is a great opportunity, it can also be stressful for organizations to prepare for this new day of giving in such a short timeframe. Using #GivingTuesdayNow can not only help to drive your mission during this uncertain time, but it can also create a sense of community amongst your donor base and help them feel connected at a time when people are forced to be apart. If you still have an unanswered question about #GivingTuesdayNow or fundraising in general reach out to us here and we’d be happy to help!