As vacations end, students return to school, and the final days of summer approach, your nonprofit is busy gearing up for your year-end fundraising strategy. At this point, you’re probably finalizing your plans for the year-end giving season and preparing to put your fundraising and social engagement strategies into action as the first leaf turns orange.
Undoubtedly, your year-end strategy includes a nod to Giving Tuesday. As one of the biggest days of the year for donations, the philanthropic holiday falls on November 30th this year. Leading up to Giving Tuesday, it’s up to you to figure out the best way to spread the word. You’ll want to host creative fundraisers alongside the giving day to attract attention to your nonprofit and maximize donations.
We’d guess that part of your strategy for Giving Tuesday involves leveraging social media. After enduring social distancing during the past year, social media is now a primary channel for connecting with friends, family members, and nonprofits alike! But, how can you maximize your social efforts ahead of November 30th? Should you work with influencers to boost your fundraiser’s reach? Or should you begin using the #GivingTuesday hashtag to bring all your posts under one umbrella? Let’s walk through four strategies to maximize your social engagement leading up to #GivingTuesday.
From hosting Facebook fundraisers to automating your efforts, here are the strategies we’ll cover:
- Host quick, time-bound challenges to rally supporters.
- Create online communities to connect supporters near and far.
- Focus on building one-on-one relationships, rather than simply broadcasting information.
- Work smarter, not harder, with automated tools.
By now, you’re surely in the routine of posting frequently to spread the word about your organization’s fundraising and volunteer opportunities. But, are you doing much else with the platforms beyond that?
If not, this guide is the resource for you. Let’s dive in.
Host quick, time-bound challenges to rally supporters.
When it comes to #GivingTuesday, your goal is to raise as many donations as possible within a 24-hour period. It makes sense to use all of the fundraising tools available to you—including social media fundraising.
To raise funds and create an engaging #GivingTuesday experience for your social supporters, we recommend hosting a Facebook Challenge.
Facebook Challenges are quick, time-bound fundraising experiences. During these, supporters complete a task (such as walking 10k steps per day) for a defined time period (such as a month) while raising funds for your nonprofit using a Facebook fundraiser. Because they use a platform that many people already have access to and they have a defined end-point, there aren’t many barriers stopping supporters from getting involved.
Here are the general steps involved with hosting a Facebook Challenge:
- Choose a Challenge task. This is the activity that your supporters will complete during the fundraiser, such as walking steps, running miles, or reading books. This GoodUnited guide to peer-to-peer fundraising ideas has more than 20 ideas to spur your brainstorming.
- Create a corresponding Facebook group. During the Challenge, all of the participants should be added to a Facebook group. This way, they can connect with one another, share encouragement, and experience a sense of community.
- Invite supporters to join the Challenge. Use Facebook Ads to spread the word about your Challenge and build your audience within the corresponding group. Target your ads to users who have expressed interest in your nonprofit on Facebook before, even if they haven’t directly donated just yet.
- Encourage supporters to reach their goals. Once participants have joined the group, they’ll begin completing the Challenge task and raising funds through a Facebook fundraiser. It’s up to you to encourage them in the group and prompt conversations between participants. Share discussion prompts, fundraising tips, and updates on the campaign’s overall progress to drive them toward their goals!
There are a few different ways that you can use Facebook Challenges in your #GivingTuesday social engagement push. You could run a month-long Challenge leading up to the giving day, or you could host a one-day Challenge (such as wearing a funny outfit or running a 5k) on November 30th. There are many ways to customize this strategy to align with your nonprofit’s exact goals.
Create online communities to connect supporters near and far.
In the last section, we briefly discussed using Facebook groups to create community for Challenge participants. When you connect with supporters over social media, you’re presumably engaging with supporters in different geographic areas—so, there’s physical distance separating all parties involved. This is especially true following the COVID-19 pandemic, with virtual and hybrid events still playing a large role in many nonprofits’ strategies.
We know that a huge part of what drives year-end giving, #GivingTuesday included, is the sense of community and joy associated with the holiday season. While it’s hard to replicate this feeling across the distance (and through virtual fundraising tools alone), groups on social media remove some of that. By bringing together like-minded individuals to take direct action in supporting a cause they care about, you drastically enhance the supporter experience. Rather than fundraising alone, they’re fundraising with 100+ new friends. Not to mention, they’ll receive fundraising tips, encouragement, and kindness along the way.
There are a variety of ways to incorporate online communities into your #GivingTuesday strategy for 2021. For example, you can:
- Create Facebook groups
- Create Twitter groups
- Host a live stream with comments enabled
These groups can be used to unite a variety of supporters beyond Challenge participants. For example, consider creating groups for supporters in certain geographic locations, those who host P2P fundraisers, those who volunteer, or even those who participate in advocacy efforts. Regardless of how you establish an online community, the idea is that you bring your supporters together. This empowers them to create greater outcomes for your organization.
Focus on building one-on-one relationships, rather than simply broadcasting information.
For the vast majority of nonprofits, social networks are the ideal solution for broadcasting information to their audience—using the platforms for posts alone as one-way communication channels. We’re not suggesting that you stop posting and sharing information on social media. However, it is time to consider how else you can use the platforms to truly maximize your engagement with individual supporters.
Personalized social engagement is the way to delight your donors and build impactful, long-lasting relationships with supporters. Simply broadcasting posts to your entire donor base isn’t the way to accomplish that. Consider incorporating one-on-one, conversational messaging to begin building these relationships.
You can connect with supporters via Facebook Messenger, similar to how they connect with their friends or family members on the platform.
With these one-to-one conversations, you can:
- Thank the user for their support.
- Share fundraising tips to help them reach their goals.
- Motivate them as they come close to the end of their fundraisers.
- Ask questions and share surveys to learn more about your supporters.
- Share links to educational resources and other volunteer and donation opportunities.
Of course, to share these resources, you need to connect with your social supporters in Messenger first. On Facebook, you’d begin by thanking the user for their support (check out this GoodUnited guide for tips on how to thank supporters on Facebook). Within that thank-you note, you’d invite the supporter to connect with your nonprofit in Messenger. The rest is history!
Work smarter, not harder, with automated tools.
During the year-end season, your nonprofit will receive more donations and support than any other time. And, with social media added into the mix, you’ll drastically expand the reach of your fundraising efforts. This means that more supporters can participate.
If you’re wondering how to incorporate one-on-one messaging, social engagement with groups, and entirely new fundraising Challenges into your year-end strategy, don’t fret. Consider using automated solutions to scale your social fundraising efforts (and reduce any wasted time in your staff members’ schedules) just in time for #GivingTuesday.
There are a variety of ways that you can add automation into your social media efforts, such as:
- Schedule posts in advance. With tools like Sprout Social and Tweetdeck, you can schedule posts to your social media profiles in advance. This ensures you release content on a regular schedule, without your staff needing to manually log in and post.
- Invest in social fundraising solutions. There are companies that will create customized, automated messaging sequences that you can use to engage with supporters via Facebook Messenger. This allows you to hold valuable, one-on-one conversations with each supporter as your audience grows.
Beyond automated tools for social fundraising, consider other ways that you can make your year-end fundraising more efficient. For example, automated matching gift software will allow you to discover match-eligible donations and connect with donors to begin the match process. Each tool that makes your nonprofit’s efforts more efficient will free up your staff members’ time, allowing them to dedicate more time to what matters most: advancing your nonprofit’s mission.
When used effectively, social media is the ideal tool to help your nonprofit grow your social engagement leading into #GivingTuesday. Not only can you raise additional funds, but you can build relationships on a community-wide and one-on-one scale.
To truly be successful in this effort, consider using tools geared toward social media automation. This will allow you to scale up your efforts and raise your relationships with the next generation of social supporters. Good luck!
About the Author
Nick Black is the Founder and CEO of GoodUnited, a venture backed Software as a Service (SaaS) startup that helps nonprofits like Wounded Warrior Project, American Cancer Society, and World Wildlife Fund create 1:1 relationships with their donors through the combination of data science and human judgement delivered in conversational messaging platforms. Nick has been an innovator and leader at the intersection of business and social impact for over ten years. The concept for GoodUnited came through Nick’s work co-founding and leading Stop Soldier Suicide, which stemmed from his experiences leading Paratroopers as a Ranger qualified Army Officer with the 173rd Airborne during 27 months deployed to combat zones in Afghanistan. During Nick’s six years of service he was awarded two Bronze Stars, an Army Commendation Medal for Valor and as a Field Artillery Officer, was repeatedly ranked 1st among 50 peer Officers in a premier Infantry Battalion.
Nick received a BA from The Johns Hopkins University. He also received an MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. Nick lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife, Amanda, and their five-year-old daughter and four-year-old son.