7 Tips for a Successful Giving Tuesday Social Media Plan

Giving Tuesday success doesn’t just mean having a plan for the day of or even the month of. Launching a successful Giving Tuesday campaign actually begins much earlier than that. It is a direct result of the work you do the whole year through.

I frequently talk about social media for small business since those are the kinds of clients I have, but I do some work with a couple non-profits. This year I was able to be the primary driver on the Giving Tuesday campaigns for two non-profits and I handled a section of the Giving Tuesday efforts for a third non-profit, which gave me an additional insider’s perspective. Full Disclosure: Two of the campaigns did very well and the third did not.

In analyzing what worked and didn’t work for all three, I came up with these points that I’m going to share with you below. If you have a non-profit, know someone with a non-profit, or are just wanting to learn more about how you can better help your favorite charities with their fundraising efforts, keep reading.

Here are my 7 tips for your successful Giving Tuesday social media plan:

1) Place Consistent Messaging in Front of Their Audience The Whole Year Through

I think consistency is one of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of a social media marketing strategy. Yes, great content and messaging matters. But you know really works? Showing up for your audience!

I know that in the non-profit world, there are truly aren’t enough hours in the day and enough willing hands. But in analyzing the three non-profit campaigns this year, I think the crucial difference between the two that hit or exceeded their goals and the one that didn’t, is that the two that succeeded have been showing up for their audience quite consistently for the last year or more.

2) Prime the Audience to Think of Your Organization as Something That Requires Their Help to Survive

I know this sounds like it should be a super obvious point, but you would be surprised. In your messaging you need to constantly reiterate that you need their help and support to survive.

Don’t assume that people know and understand this about you!

It’s great to put out fun content about what you’re doing, but if you don’t frequently (and it doesn’t need to be every post) remind them that you need their help to survive, whether that’s in the form of financial donations, in-kind donations, or just volunteers, you’re doing your nonprofit a disservice.

3) Start Your Giving Tuesday Campaign Early

Start prepping people from the very beginning of November that Giving Tuesday is coming and if they show up for you on just one day this calendar year, let it be that! Start telling them what you’re fundraising for, how much you want to raise, and what you need them to do. Give them options to support you - not everyone can give money, but a lot of people are willing to share your campaign the day of. It costs them nothing and for you it constitutes free advertising!

Facebook also has its own donation tools that allow individuals and even businesses to quickly and easily start a fundraiser for their favorite non-profit. Make sure you tell people that this exists!

4) Have a Plan

I know this also sounds like a super obvious point, but in addition to spending my Giving Tuesday working on and observing the results for the three campaigns I was involved in, I also saw other non-profit Giving Tuesday campaigns come across my feed. And some, sad to say, suffered from a complete lack of execution.

You need to define what you’re fundraising for (get really specific!), broadcast what your goal is, and reiterate how people can help. And you can’t just do this once on Giving Tuesday, you need to do this multiple times throughout the day. In Facebook’s Giving Tuesday resource materials they suggested hourly updates and you know, they’re not wrong. You should be sharing both compelling content (more on that later) and status updates/thank yous of how the campaign is doing. This is the one day of the year that’s been set aside for giving so make the most of it. Go hard and don’t be afraid to lose people - if they leave, they’re not your people.

5) Utilize Email Marketing

Okay, so I’ve been talking exclusively about social media, but don’t forget about your email list. You have a direct channel to a group of people who’ve already said they’re interested in hearing from you - so don’t forget to include emailing your list as part of your Giving Tuesday Strategy!

Some people don’t feel comfortable giving directly through social media (especially on Facebook, given their tumultuous recent history) and some don’t even feel comfortable giving through Paypal. Some people will gladly mail you a check or come drop it off in person - so let them!

It’s easy to get hung up on the fact that your actual fundraiser on Facebook looks a little bit sad and get discouraged by it. But remember…it’s kind of a vanity metric. You’re in the game of raising donations however and wherever you can. If someone wants to bring you $500 in cash, let them.

Email is one of the best ways to communicate with the group of supporters that don’t use social media at all or don’t use it regularly. Your goal on Giving Tuesday is to make sure you put your campaign out on as many channels as possible, to reach as many people as possible, to drive results.

6) Don’t Forget to Call

Some people will require the personal touch of a phone call in order to open their wallet and give. You likely already know who your biggest supporters are. Don’t forget to reach out to them before or on Giving Tuesday to explain what you’re doing and how they can help.

If you have the manpower, you can try to call your entire donor database in the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday. If you don’t, just touch those who are your biggest supporters - they will appreciate the personal touch, especially if it comes from the founder of the organizer.

7) Create Compelling Content

Your Giving Tuesday campaign needs to be full of some of your best content. You need to create content that tells stories, that tugs at the heartstrings, that compels people to give and give generously.

To do that, you need to take a hard look at what you’ve been putting out, what some of the top charities are putting out, and be honest with yourself if you can see a difference between the two. Most of the time, you will. And not every organization will be able to bridge this gap themselves. If you’ve been creating everything yourself and feel like you’re struggling, consider hiring a consultant just to help you craft the messages and content for your campaign.

I hope these seven tips will help you start planning a 2019 Giving Tuesday campaign that is bigger, more ambitious, and ultimately more successful than anything you’ve given in the past!

If you are a non-profit reading this and think you could use a little help with any of the above points, please get in touch. I know how tight things can be in the non-profit world so I am available just to consult on your Giving Tuesday fundraising strategy.