Is #GivingTuesday Where to Spend Your Time?

Nov 6, 2019Donors, Fundraising, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Productivity, Time Management

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Is #GivingTuesday where to spend your time? Is your hair on fire?!

I met Jenny at a local coffee shop recently. A very successful development director in her mid-career, Jenny is passionate about changing lives and even more passionate about leading her team.

In any case, Jenny had been meeting with her team to discuss upcoming #GivingTuesday. This global day of giving refers to the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.). Furthermore, the day celebrates and promotes giving through social media when our charitable season begins.

Hence, Jenny suggested to her team that maybe they not put a lot of energy into #GivingTuesday. Perhaps instead they establish a day in January when their nonprofit’s mission is celebrated nationally. After all, time is limited; They have a lot on their plates right now.

Above all, Jenny’s concern was that their small nonprofit was competing with all of the other large and small nonprofits on #GivingTuesday. Would they be heard? What could they do to stand out? After all, do they have the time to devote to the planning and implementation? Similarly, why not schedule a big fundraising push at a different time? There will be less noise. Later, they can be more intentional in sharing specifically how donors are making a difference.

Besides, Jenny’s team is a small nonprofit with a small budget. 

In other words, there is always an urgency to reach their budget.

As a small nonprofit, what should you be focused on this time of year?

Moreover, here are suggestions if you decide that #GivingTuesday is not where you spend your time:

1 – Identify your list of Top 100 Current and Prospective Donors 

These are your major donors as defined by you. Hence, send a Thanksgiving or holiday card to each with a personalized, hand-written thank you message. For example, order online or grab $1 discount cards. Maybe block off one-hour segments for several days to complete this task. Don’t take these top 100 fan club members for granted. Certainly, let them know they are making a difference. Express gratitude.

2 – Identify donors who have been silent.

Which of your major donors have you not heard from this year or have not made a meaningful gift? As a staff, discuss why. Identify next step strategies for your top 20 donors/prospects. For instance, divide up the list with staff or board members. Give each one a call to share a recent impact story or seek their advice. Most important, be interested in what they have to say. Don’t rush. Listen.  

Thus, let your donors know you hope to count on their support again. Share what they gave last year and how their funds were used. Next, move to the next 20 on your list and do the same. Start now. For more on how to thank current donors, see Why Donors Don’t Respond.

3 – Seek 100% board giving.

Meanwhile, make sure all of your board members have given or have plans to support the nonprofit financially. Moreover, let them know how important it is to have 100% board giving. The amount is not as important as their giving. Board members cannot expect others to give if they are not giving.

Finally, fundraising is about relationships. It means developing genuine connections with your supporters.

Indeed, make your donors feel appreciated. Connect with them. Discover what they are interested in. To be sure, ask them what about your organization ignites their passion.

Supporters are your nonprofit’s most valued friends.

Don’t feel guilty for not participating in #GivingTuesday. Your hair is not on fire! Most notably, focus on what’s important – loving your current donors. They will continue to give and give more.

Question: What are you focused on now as we approach this season of giving? Is #GivingTuesday where to spend your time?

Originally Published: November 27, 2018

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides overwhelmed nonprofit leaders with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at [email protected].

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