Giving Days are on Their Way!
All over Texas, citywide days of giving are months or even weeks away and if you are in the nonprofit world, it may be causing you some major stress.
Never fear though, you still have time to refine your plan or even rally your troops and create one if you are a little behind. Read on to learn what we recommend, step by step, to ensure you have a great low-stress day of giving.
1. Engage Your Board
Your board members are often your biggest fundraising asset. Their involvement can make a decent giving day a record-breaking one. Meet with the board right away and set a reasonable fundraising goal for the overall board. Respect the fact that not all board members might be comfortable fundraising but there are many ways that they can make the day a success. Connections to businesses who might give or even writing an email to their contacts, asking them to get involved, can make a huge difference.
2. Activate Your Volunteers
Volunteers are often your biggest donors - you just might not realize it as their gift may be time and not money. Don’t hesitate to enlist their help in your plans. Get them excited and let them know you need their support. Form a giving day committee and recruit them to work on donor reach out and promote their own fundraisers on social media.
3. Reach Out to Your Donors
Your donors want to hear from you. Make sure you are up to date with your communications. Do not hesitate to reach out to large donors with a letter and some photos, or even a phone call if you feel it is appropriate. Let them know about the giving day and your goal. Make them feel like they are an important part of your mission, and let them know how crucial their support is in meeting your goal.
4. Find Your Narrative
Donors love to hear what their money is doing and where it is helping. Focus your email and social campaign (see below) around telling the stories of how your organization has helped. Show before and after photos, make an infographic detailing how your organization is moving the needle in the community. Now is not the time to be shy… pat yourself on the back and celebrate the difference you have made together in the past year.
Are you seeking funds for a specific need? Tell people - let them know what you need and show them why. Good photos are your best tool in this sort of storytelling.
5. Email and Social Media are a Must!
In our ever-increasing virtual world email and social media have become not just valuable in your outreach, but vital. You don’t have to bombard supporters but three compelling emails telling your story, along with an ask and a donation link, can go a long way. Use photos and testimonials to give value to the correspondence and mirror it on social media. Don’t forget to send a couple of emails and share a few social media posts on the day of giving, to update donors on how much you’ve raised and ask for another push.
6. Determine Your Goal and Remember it’s not all About the Benjamins
We know you need to raise money, but how much? Set a realistic and achievable goal. You don’t have to publicly announce this goal, but consider announcing it - your supporters will notice and celebrate when it is met. Sometimes, it is helpful to determine this goal after any matches have been guaranteed and the board has committed to a gift as those elements are helpful in informing what your goal should be.
Remember, you can set goals outside of money. Those goals could be set around getting volunteer sign-ups, increasing awareness of your mission, or gaining media attention.
7. Host an Event
Events can be nerve-wracking and take a lot of coordination, but they don’t have to, and some of the most effective events are intimate get-togethers. Consider arranging for your staff, volunteers, donors, and board to meet for lunch or for happy hour. Ask the destination if you can set up a table and if they will consider a give-back - maybe 10% of their sales during a set time. No need to feel pressured, just focus on getting the word out and making sure you have people on site to take donations of cash, check, or card.
8. Make it a Match
You might already have big funds to act as a match. If so, you are awesome and ahead of the game. If not - don’t worry! You can use small funds as a match too, but it just takes a little finesse. Approach any local business who has given in the past, and ask if they would like to do an hourly match for you. If they can give $1,000, $500, or even $250, you can designate an hour-long social media push where they match all funds given up to that point. Donors are incited to give and the business looks good in the eyes of the public. It is a win all the way around! Don’t forget to invite them to your event and thank them the next day - on social media and with a card.
9. Give Thanks
While it's common knowledge to send a note or card after the fact, why wait? If you see someone has made a substantial gift, why not hop on the phone and thank them in real time. Ask if they are comfortable with a social media shout out. After the giving day has passed, consider sending them a photo update in the mail of the client they have helped. This is not only a great way to make your donor feel appreciated, but also to get to know them better.
10. Have Fun
One thing we forget often in the nonprofit world is how much fun it is to do good! We are uniting people daily to collectively improve our community - how awesome is that? People want to be involved in things that make them feel good and that they enjoy. Giving should be easy and fun for them.
If you are having fun and letting your personality shine through in your communications, people will want to join your cause resulting in bigger returns and closer, more personal connections. So crack a joke, give a smile or hug, and remember, we are all in this together to Do More Good!