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If you’re a nonprofit, it is likely that you have already heard of Giving Tuesday. However, if you own a small business, work for a school, faith-based organization, or community health center, you might be surprised to learn that you can also participate in Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is December 1, 2020. It is a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations.” To help you create the most awesome Giving Tuesday campaign, The Giving Tuesday organization has many free resources available for download on their website. However, they (in my opinion) might have just a little too many resources leading to a bit of resource-overwhelm. Because of that, I’ve decided to walk you through what I think is the most beneficial resources available but also probably one of the most intimidating: the 6 Week Communications Plan. In addition to that plan, I’ve also grabbed what I think are the only other two resources you really need.

Your top three Giving Tuesday resources:

Working through the 6-week communications plan

While this plan looks brief, my friends it is not. However! It is actually fairly straightforward. Your first task when working through this is to print it out or find some way to write on this PDF. Next, read it through once. Then, read it again and put a question mark next to every single thing that you’re not sure how to do or what it is. Lastly, put a star next to each item you are confident you can tackle.

With your plan all marked up, follow along as I go through each week’s steps and pay special attention to those question marks and stars.

Get Geared Up: Explained

Campaign team weekly meeting: This should be fairly self-explanatory but just so we’re all on the same page, you need to identify your Giving Tuesday team before you can begin. This does not need to be a large team, just a group of people or a person who is ready to take the lead.

Finalize campaign ambassadors: This is a fancy way of saying that you need to pre-identify who (and ideally this “who” has a large amount of influence or following) will assist you in getting the word out on your campaign. If your organization has a Board, start there. Ask board members to share your Giving Tuesday campaign announcements and social media posts on their organization’s feeds. No board? Who in your network would have an influential outreach? Email them to ask if they would like to help you reach your donation goal.

Add your Giving Tuesday campaign logo/visual to your outreach channels: Download these Giving Tuesday logos and use them to create your own branded Giving Tuesday social media header images, landing page images, hero images, and email signature images.

Finalize strategy for challenge and or/matching funds: A bit of a complicated beast, to do this you also need to create a strategy in the first place. If your organization has a Giving Club, start there. Can any existing donors agree to match donations? If you have no formal existing donors, reach out to anyone in your network who you think might be interested in supporting your efforts by matching funds.

Finalize all campaign marketing: You can do SO MUCH here but also accidentally bite off more than you can chew. Start with the items you have a budget for: can you get digital graphics designed? What about mailers? Posters? Pick your method, source a designer, and make sure their final deadline is in time for you to use those assets.

Review and test your giving page and plan any necessary updates: Your giving page can be many different things. You can either create an entire landing page on your website, add a pop-up or “Donate” button on your website that directs traffic to a third party donation platform like Paypal, or even set up donations through your Facebook page. Whatever your method, make sure you also create a timeline for getting this done and source all graphics in time.

Draft campaign announcements: Using the Press Release Sample draft a press release for your campaign launch. Additionally, create your launch day social media posts and eblast!

Ask staff to update email signatures: This is pretty simple but to make it even easier, I would suggest you pre-draft what you want your staff to add into their signatures.

Announcement Begins: Explained

Announce your campaign on social media: I’m going to go one step further and say announce your campaign on social media AND create your entire social media content calendar for your Giving Tuesday posts. If you post five days a week, I would say you need to post about your Giving Tuesday campaign for three of those five posts.

Announce your campaign to your staff and volunteers: Again, I’m going to go one step further and say you need to do this:

  • Draft an email on behalf of your organization’s leader to personally send from their email to the rest of your organization’s staff announcing the campaign. Encourage all staff to use their personal channels to promote the campaign. Include social media links and a premade social media posts staff can post on their own accounts with an image.
  • Draft and push out an eblast announcement for your volunteers. Same deal here, encourage them to donate themselves, ask their employers to donate, and share about the campaign.
  • Lastly, draft an email to all past and current donors announcing the campaign. Leave a link for them to donate and a post for them to share.

Have a call or meeting with ambassadors: This would be useful only if you think it would be. Do you have enough ambassadors to warrant a big meeting or call? Could you instead send them a social media toolkit with graphics/key messages? You decide.

If you plan to host an event or volunteer opportunity, announce it: I’m going to say this should have been put during the October 20 week, however, if this is something you suddenly upon reading it would like to do: get planning! Same deal with the larger campaign, you need a name, details, graphics, and calendar for when to push out those posts. Get to it.

Being a weekly drip email of content for sharing: Any volunteers, stakeholders, board members, and pre-identified ambassadors should all be lumped together into one email list. Send them weekly emails with social media posts to share on their own channels to promote your donation campaign.

Order items if using: I will also say get items designed, source a vendor, and ensure they can get your items in time.

Ramp Up Communications: Explained

Weekly drip emails: same as I said above, make these and make them consistent!

If planning direct mailer, finalize to send out before Thanksgiving: This is one is pretty self-explanatory, but just in case you’ve never done this before I would suggest you make it easy on yourself and just give us a call.

Ask ambassadors to begin contributing content: Testimonials from those your organization has made an impact on are a fantastic way to illustrate the impact of your work. Collecting testimonials can be a big task, so if you have none already, I would suggest really looking at if you have the time to start.

Begin planning your day of “event:” Pretty self explanatory, but I will say the only thing this plan does not specifically mention at this point is the emphasis on needing digital graphics for your day-of plan. Whatever your plan is, make sure you have also given yourself enough time to create graphics that you can post on your social media.

Email past supporters: Just do this. Trust me. If you don’t have an existing email list of past supporters, rack your brain for people or organizations who might have been instrumental in your operations. Could you reach out to them instead?

Talk to technology partners: This is very important. Not only because you want to make the donation process as simple and clear as possible, but also because you want to make sure that your website can handle all the traffic you are funneling towards that landing page.

Expand Promotions: Explained

Weekly drip emails: Don’t lose steam here. If you find yourself at a loss for what to say this week, create a mini content calendar for yourself. This way you can pace out communications and focus on a different aspect of your Giving Tuesday campaign each week.

Updates to administration: Depending on you and your organization, this can look very, very different. Use this update time to toot your horn but also ask for support if you need it. Would a little extra funding help you secure those mailers and make a bigger impact? Ask for it!

Continue to promote your campaign through social channels: Since you’re a little over halfway, I want to encourage you to also take a step back and do a little evaluation of how social media engagement rates are so far. Did one post do especially well? Is everything performing the same? Adjust your post types to increase engagement rates.

Write Op-Ed for local newspaper: This can be hard if you’re not a writer. However, is there a better writer within your organization you could tap? What about your board? Give them a prompt with 3-5 bullet points of essential information to mention to get things started.

Finish updates to your giving page: Finalize any tech needs this week. You really don’t want to lose out on donations because of a technical difficulty.

Finalize your day-of plan for outreach, reporting, and celebrating: Reach out to your board to see if they have any media contacts. Securing at least one media blast in addition to your owned media efforts will give you an extra boost. And celebrating? We are so excited for you! Just make sure you translate those celebrations to a few social media posts in the form of money raised graphics, thank you posts, and lots of smiles.

Communications Countdown: Explained

Weekly drips with next steps: Treat this eblast like it is the first one you’ve sent. You need to spur some extra energy around the holiday. Don’t hesitate to give your readers a few extra next steps to help your efforts.

Update to board and staff: Use your team! How can they boost your day-off efforts? Make sure you come up with a plan for them and then clearly explain it to them. Then remind them.

Catch up with day-of team: How is your communication with your team? Could it use a little TLC? Take this week to do just that.

Launch your giving page: I disagree with this one. Personally, I think you should launch your giving page the moment it’s ready. Why miss out on any donations? Just make sure that when you do launch your page, you tell people about it. Then tell them again.

Last Minute Readiness: Explained

Weekly drip emails focused on making the most of campaign matching funds: Time to shout about those big matchers. Don’t have any? Use this email as a call for organizations to match donations. Don’t be afraid of the “no.”

Check in with key partners: Just do this. Even if you think they’ve got it, they don’t. Give them steps as easy as you can, wrapped in a bow.

Provide activities update to staff and board: Get your staff, board, volunteers, and partners as excited about December 1 as possible! Let them know how they can join in on your enthusiasm in addition to share it with their own circles.

Test giving pages and websites again: And again, and again again. Don’t let one bad gateway ruin all your efforts.

Heavy social outreach: Today, I give you license to be a little annoying. On every single platform, post at least two times throughout the day about Giving Tuesday and don’t forget to attach the donation link/method!

Giving Tuesday

I’ll stop the explanations here and instead give you a boost of encouragement to return to. If you have followed all of the steps above, then I guarantee you that your day will be successful. You might not go viral or blow your goals out of the water, but any amount of donations is both more than you would have had yesterday and money you can use to further your mission. You are going to learn some hard lessons through this process. It’s okay! Use what you learned this time to inform what you do next year. And if you find yourself needing any help along the way, don’t hesitate to holler at us.

Lizzie Carroll
By Lizzie Carroll