How to Leverage Giving Days for Nonprofit Fundraising

How to Leverage Giving Days for Nonprofit Fundraising

March 6, 2020
Maddie Bergoon

Hosting a Giving Day fundraiser is a major undertaking for any organization. Such an event typically requires a good deal of planning and coordination to ensure success. What if you could get people besides your staff to help you with your mission? Gain even more publicity and increase donations? And maximize your results far beyond your Giving Day?  Well, you can by optimizing your strategy for hosting a giving day for nonprofit fundraising.

You’ve probably heard the saying “work smarter, not harder”? That’s what optimization is all about, whether you’re moving a heavy object or organizing Giving Days for nonprofit fundraising.  Recruiting other people to help you get the word out is just a start. There are optimization strategies that can pay off far beyond your Giving Day event.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Giving Days for Nonprofit Fundraising

Optimizing your Giving Day fundraising strategies will allow you to reach more people and increase your donations. Long-term, such strategies can also help you build your donor list.  Optimized Giving Day activities generally can be divided into the following three categories.

Increase visibility

Gain as much exposure as possible for your nonprofit. These actions will inform your current supporters about your Giving Day. By increasing your visibility will also help you get the attention of more new donors.

Target ideal donors

Who are your ideal donors? Data analysis and modeling can help you segment and reach out to those who best match your demographic criteria. Increase your results with less effort.

Grow your supporter list

Use Giving Days for nonprofit fundraising as future leverage. Your Giving Day can be the start of campaigns that nurture your current supporters and grow your list.

The First Steps for Executing a Successful Giving Day

There are numerous ways you can gain more traction on your fundraising efforts by “working smarter.” The first part of optimizing your fundraising efforts revolve around your big event — holding a Giving Day for your organization. Here are some strategies you can implement to maximize your results on Giving Day.

Plan your event

All successful fundraising efforts begin with planning, and Giving Day is no different. How can you optimize your planning? For one, set Giving Day goals. How much money does your group want to raise? Is $10,000 realistic, $50,000, or more? How many donors would you like to have contribute? How many new donors would you like to add to your list? Having a target will drive your supporting actions. It can also help generate excitement when you reach milestones along the way.

You can also strategically control the time allowed for making donations. Some organizations extend their Giving Days for nonprofit fundraising beyond 24 hours. They continue “Giving Day” activities for a week or more to allow everyone the opportunity to donate.

Partner with others

How can your staff multiply their efforts to raise more funds? The answer is to get as many people as possible involved. Community and civic foundations typically support their member nonprofits, in addition to their surrounding communities. Sign on with a partner, if you can.

According to GiveGab, peer-to-peer fundraising can be a powerful way to raise funds. They found organizations using this strategy raised 300% more on Giving Day than those that did not.  Does your organization have chapters, affiliates or departments? That’s one example of peer-to-peer fundraising ideas. Create some friendly competition. You can also offer some small prizes. And in this case, your organization is the biggest winner.

Recruit ambassadors to help promote your Giving Day event. They can be people both in and outside your organization. It’s even better if they’re connected with a significant social media community. Make sure you’ve armed them with training and fundraising tools.

Here’s an interesting way to partner with your current contributors. Ask your donors for a small contribution, with one caveat: request they recruit their friends to contribute. For instance, ask for just a $10 donation. But also ask that they contact five people they know to also contribute $10. This way, you’ll pick up five new donors.

Provide incentives

A donor incentive is another way you can optimize your fundraising. Approach corporations and major donors to put up matching funds. Who wouldn’t be more willing to donate if their contributions are doubled? How about rewarding donors of a certain dollar amount with merchandise? Even a coffee mug or tote bag with your logo can be a nice thank you. It will also keep your group in sight and mind.

Promote through multiple channels

Create a comprehensive communications plan. Get your promotional message out across as many channels as possible. Send texts, emails and videos that inspire action. Social media posts will ensure donors of all ages are aware of your event. Encourage sharing of your content. And whenever posting online, always include a link to your giving forms.

Include fun activities

There are all kinds of activities you can organize as part of your Giving Days for nonprofit fundraising campaigns. They can be as simple as dumping a bucket of water on an administrator in your organization when you reach your goal. Or as complex as hosting an on-site carnival or scavenger hunt in the community. Whatever activities you choose, appeal to the widest audience for more attention.

Make it easy to give

How are you accepting donations? Are donors able to contribute through your website? Can they access donation forms via cell phone? Consider the preferences of your most frequent donors. Give them options that make donating easy.

Giving Tuesday Toolkit

WealthEngine’s Giving Tuesday Toolkit can provide you with more information on how to prepare for your Giving Day Event.

Implementing a Giving Day Donor Strategy

The second way to optimize your fundraising comes from knowing your donors. These are the people currently supporting your organization. Then you can use the information you discover to better target your prospects.

Segment your current donors

Donor screening allows you to pick up on key donor attributes. Those attributes can include wealth, income, lifestyle and affinity. Wealth models can help you optimize your time and effort by focusing on the best prospects for your organization. A wealth model is a statistical model used to identify common traits among your donors. Utilizing these data points will help you group your donors according to key characteristics important to your organization. Segment your donors and create personalized communications more likely to get attention.

Identify upgrade donors (to sustainers, mid-level, major and planned givers)

Who in your database has the potential to give more to your cause? Which donors could become sustainers, increase their dollar amount, or make major contributions? Data analysis can identify your current best donors. Wealth screening and modeling can also show you who has the most upgrade potential as a donor. Then you can target those donors and determine how to best appeal to them for increased support.

“At its core, building donor relationships, and major donor relationships especially, is about getting to know supporters.” That concept will become increasingly important as more millennials gain wealth. Millennials, in particular, are generous when it comes to causes they value. But they also like to get more directly involved. Speak to their interests and what they find valuable.

Acquire new donors

Use the information you gain through your data analysis and wealth model to target new donors. See how their traits compare with your best donors. These are the people most likely to support your organization. Concentrating your effort on this group should yield better results, reducing your cost and time for acquisition.

Create giving levels

Use an individual’s wealth data and giving history to ask for a specific, suggested donation amount during your fundraising. That includes presenting suggested donation amounts on any written forms you may send. Most of the top 100 nonprofits suggest four to five donation amounts, along with an option to enter a custom amount.

A technique called “anchoring” can also be used to leverage donation amounts. In one experiment, participants were asked if they could contribute a specific dollar amount. The cause was to save offshore sea birds from an oil spill. When asked for a $5 donation, the average contribution was $20. However, when the ask was raised to $400, the average donation increased to $143. When there was no suggestion, the average donation was $64.

You can take this optimization strategy a step further. Help donors visualize the impact their donations will make. For example, how many days of groceries will a specific donation buy? How many children will get a hot lunch? Or how many bags of dog food can be purchased? Donors who can see the actual value of their donations may give more.

According to GivingTuesday.org, donors who contribute on Giving Day are more likely to donate again before your next Giving Day. Nurture your relationships with current donors. And work on turning new Giving Days for nonprofit fundraising donors into ongoing contributors.

3 Things to Remember Post-Giving Day

Fundraising is not just about Giving Day, it’s so much more.  You may host a Giving Day event only once a year, but the benefits can continue all year long. Develop a strategy to leverage contact with all of your donors and increase your fundraising success.

Thank your contributors

Be sure to acknowledge  all of your supporters promptly. Whether they donated time or money , let them know their contribution is appreciated. This is your first step in staying in touch. Also consider sending out a thank-you message through all of your communication channels to the community. Be sure to share the results of your Giving Day.

Continue your follow-up

To turn your first-time contributors into long-term donors, you need to look beyond wealth indicators. This is where you need to gain insight into who they are and the reason they donated in the first place).  Figuring out their “why” will help you create more personalized communications that encourage them to become regular supporters.

Too often staff members don’t continue to engage with their new contributors. That’s a mistake. You lose a valuable opportunity by waiting too long until your next contact. Whether you’re connecting with regular contributors or your new donors, stay in touch.

Enhance your donor data

You’ll likely gain new insights about your donors though your Giving Day activities. Use those insights to better target donors in future fundraising efforts. Utilize this new information to grow your list of recurring donors. Leverage the right data in your communications to fully engage prospects and develop stronger donor relationships.

Don’t think of Giving Day as merely a one-time event. Instead, view your Giving Days for nonprofit fundraising as an integrated part of your fundraising efforts. Data analysis and modeling is essential for optimizing your time and dollars. It’s also what WealthEngine does best. Contact WealthEngine today to optimize your donor data.

Our Giving Day Series

This is the third article in our Giving Day series. You can read more about Giving Days for non-profit fundraising best practices in our first two articles on 8 Reasons to Hold a Nonprofit Giving Day and Giving Tuesday vs. Giving Day: Which Fundraising Day Best Suits Your Needs? Stay tuned for our last article on Giving Day Ideas for Your Fundraising Event.

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