The fourth quarter is a significant time for charitable giving, and its anchor event is #GivingTuesday. It’s become a “must-participate” event in the mission-driven space, yielding impressive returns and helping many organizations hit their annual targets.
The crucible of #GivingTuesday pushes teams to fine-tune their messaging, ensure that technology is working well, and create well-planned approval processes. Yet while your organization works to maximize returns from #GivingTuesday, there are also great opportunities to engage audiences who don’t give immediately. Campaigns that focus on audience engagement AFTER the big day can help non-profits to expand their traditional donor pool, laying the foundation for future financial support.
As you think about how to keep the momentum from #GivingTuesday going beyond the holiday season, here are several practical ideas to consider.
Maximize Your Calls to Action
Of course, the biggest imperative for #GivingTuesday is to convert audience members into committed givers. While you work on making the brightest, most compelling “DONATE NOW” buttons, the most valuable secondary call-to-action for most organizations is a “contact capture” form for interested visitors who might not be ready to give just yet. This allows you to continue to engage these audiences, building affinity and support with them over time. Clear prioritization and ‘step down’ language on your primary calls to action ensure that these individuals remain the pipeline for future.
Also, you may think about customizing the language on your call to action for each major landing page of your site, especially those that might be segmenting your audience. (For instance, an “information about volunteering” page or “topics we work on” page might interest different audiences) Each audience will have different motivations and different outcomes they want to support through both donations and ongoing communications with your organization. Creating CTAs that can initiate segmentation from the first action will help with downstream communications and analysis.
Finally, don’t let people leave your website without one more chance to stay connected – consider adding an exit window call to action for those who have developed an emotional connection to your organization. This is an opportunity to remind them that they have an opportunity to help others and impact the world by supporting your work.
Take Advantage of Automation
The most advanced organizations are leveraging automated “drip” email campaigns to create great first-engagement experiences for those not yet ready to give. For example, one initial CTA could read: “Sign up here to learn about 5 ways our donors make an impact.” This would then trigger an initial email with the first of these reasons to donate. The campaign would continue for four more days until completion and hopefully compel your audience to give.
Also consider automation tools like a bot: There are many off-the-shelf tools that you can quickly add to your website to enhance interactivity and give your audiences a chance to reach out. Some of these tools even allow you to automate common responses to questions about giving. (For example, Drift is a chatbot that can be easily configured to answer questions about how to give and how giving helps your organization achieve its mission.)
Optimize Your Campaign’s Effectiveness
As always, test, refine and test again. If your email marketing system is capable, ensure that your emails are running A/B tests on subject lines and body copy. Then, as you learn what is working, don’t wait! Immediately update your language in emails and on social media.
If your forms are not yet mobile-optimized, I highly suggest finding a way to create at least one form that is optimized for mobile devices, even if just for testing. According to the We Are Social report for 2018, the total share of web traffic is now dominated by mobile, not laptops or PCs.
Think About Governance & Reporting
Make sure you have clearly defined goals for your #GivingTuesday campaign that look beyond the day and extend through all of your Q4 efforts. Once these are identified, you can ensure there are no disconnects between senior leadership and frontline staff about the desired outcomes or processes for executing the work.
Also: does your organization already have a baseline of metrics from previous years? Have you tested your analytics tool to ensure your team is able to capture accurate data? These are important steps to enable evaluation of the success of your campaign. For report creation and dissemination, it’s useful to establish a cadence and plan for reports ahead of time, and establish that analysis is forward-looking (“Where should we move next?”), not just backward looking (“How did we do?”). Referral sources, demographics, and geography give you useful clues for future communications.
Some Final Thoughts
Enjoy yourself! This is a time for celebration in the social sector. Have fun with your work, go out there, and see what others are doing. It’s a great way to get new ideas.
Of course, money matters, and hitting your financial goals matters. So does creating a consistent, repeatable and testable process for strengthening engagement with your audiences. Through this post, I hope you’ve gotten a few ideas that can help put your team in a position to meet (or exceed!) its annual goals while building your organization’s profile and audience. While hustling to make the best close possible for 2018, don’t forget to set the base for evaluation and learning that will result in an even stronger 2019.