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As the holidays approach, the email marketing experts at iContact want to remind consumers that not everything revolves around shopping or sales. For many people, the holiday season is also a time of charity and of helping others less fortunate. Just as retail has its big days leading up to the holidays (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday), altruism has #GivingTuesday on November 29, and we want to help you find #GivingTuesday success.
#GivingTuesday, now in its fifth year, is a global day of giving — fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season surrounding the holidays.
#GivingTuesday isn’t just an amazing platform for charities to promote their activities and achievements, but also an opportunity for nonprofits to unite together in a push for donations. In 2015, US charities raised nearly $117 million from activities on the day and most used some type of email or social marketing platform to make that happen.
Get started by visiting the #GivingTuesday website, join the community and download the #GivingTuesday Toolkit which includes a whole range of tools to engage your audience.
Next, start building a strategy. #GivingTuesday is weeks away, but ensuring your plan is in place and ready to be executed is vital if you want to make the most of the day in terms of exposure and donations. To help you maximize your #GivingTuesday efforts, we’ve created a simple step-by-step planning guide to help you spread the word about the day for giving back.
1. Set Objectives
You cannot achieve success if you don’t know what success looks like. Set your goals first, and then start building a plan for how you will achieve them. The great thing about #GivingTuesday is that anyone can get involved – individuals, communities, and organizations, so try to involve as many people as possible.
2. Build Content
Create content that focuses on how your organization solves problems for the communities you serve. Your content can come in many forms, such as blog posts, email campaigns, press releases, YouTube videos, downloadable eBooks, podcasts, etc. Try to re-appropriate as much content as possible over multiple channels. For example, a good blog post can form the basis of an email campaign and fuel your social media strategy. Because people “buy” from people they like or identify with, always try to include a human element. Need some fun subject line ideas for your holiday email campaign? Check these out written just for nonprofits.
3. Warm the Crowd
Let your community of supporters know what your #GivingTuesday plans are in advance of the big day. This can be done via your e-newsletter, social media pages, PR and blogging activities. Get the crowd excited and let them know how they can help you get the message out to a much wider audience. Emails, blog posts and social media activities should be scheduled in advance so they get delivered no matter how busy you become. For tips on how to amp-up donations using your email newsletter, be sure to check out iContact’s newest infographic, the Anatomy of a Nonprofit Newsletter.
4. Make the Seasonal Connection
The purpose of the holiday season is to do something nice for others. Don’t forget to infuse that spirit of service and giving back into your campaigns. Many people choose to give charitable donations as gifts this time of year, so set up an infrastructure to make it easy for donors to share a gift with the recipient. Having an easy and meaningful way of thanking the donor and alerting the recipient will keep your mission top of mind for your supporters.
5. Build Your Audience
“Birds of a feather flock together,” so encourage your supporters to share your content via social media. Make it easy by inserting social media “share” buttons into email marketing campaigns, blogs, and articles. It’s also a great idea to actively encourage “social sharing” by asking your supporters to share content as a specific call to action (CTA).
6. Engage the Media
Include your local media outlets (press, radio, television, blogs, etc.) in any outreach prior to the big day. Thanks to the high-profile nature of #GivingTuesday, the media will be looking for a local angle. The more information you can give them to make their jobs easier, the better your chances of winning more coverage. Remember, an image is worth a thousand words, so don’t forget to include high-quality photos or videos with every media release you send.
7. Establish Partnerships
Assign to #GivingTuesday the same sense of urgency as Black Friday or Cyber Monday by creating a gift-matching partnership with a donor or corporation, specific to #GivingTuesday. You want people to know that their donation will count more on #GivingTuesday, than if they were to wait an additional day.
8. Optimize Your Technology
#GivingTuesday brings greater web and mobile traffic to your site as people make donations and go to learn more about your cause or organization. Make sure your website is equipped to handle increased traffic, and that your site is mobile-friendly. You don’t want potential donors to be frustrated by cumbersome or clunky technology. Cleanly designed sites with large, clickable buttons and a smooth transaction process will greatly maximize your success.
Remember, this is your big day, so optimize your human resources as well. Ensure everyone on your team knows what is expected of them. Make sure phone lines are adequately staffed with volunteers and that emails and social media inquiries are dealt with in a timely fashion (think minutes, not hours).
9. Follow Up
Let your supporters know how your day went and how you will be spending their donations. Don’t forget to say “thank you” for donations, social media mentions, and any other acts of kindness. Good manners will always be rewarded. Again, this can be done in a variety of ways, including your email marketing activities, blog posts, and social media activities. Keep your audience involved with your story, focusing on the people and communities you work with, and you’ll potentially win lifelong support and help build greater community around your organization.
10. Analyze Success
Take the time to learn from your successes and your failures. Did you reach, exceed or miss any of your goals? What worked? What could you have done better? What should be avoided next time around? But don’t stop now that you’re on a roll, while annual events like #GivingTuesday can generate a downpour of donations at year-end, it’s important to ensure you stay top of mind the rest of the year as well. Here are iContact’s seven tips for retaining supporters even after #GivingTuesday.
So what are you waiting for? Get involved in #GivingTuesday 2016 today! If you’re already an iContact account holder, check out the new iContact Giving Tuesday template in our holiday template pack (pictured).
Don’t have an account yet? Nonprofits that verify their 501(c)(3) status will receive 20% OFF their accounts, and organizations located in North Carolina are eligible for a free account. Learn more here.
Since 2003, nonprofits and businesses worldwide have achieved significant results by turning to iContact’s best-in-class digital marketing solutions and knowledgeable team members. Made scalable to serve the needs of high-volume senders, and marketers new to email, iContact’s easy-to-use technology, available in both English and Spanish versions, ensures that every customer has what they need to succeed. Follow them @iContact.