Liz Ragland, Network for Good
 

As more and more higher ed institutions, nonprofits and donors participate in #GivingTuesday, fundraisers need smarter ways to engage growing donor bases. Thankfully, technology can help!

For the past three years, I’ve had the pleasure of helping a growing number of colleges and universities as well as thousands of nonprofits leverage Network for Good’s fundraising software  so they can hit (or surpass) their #GivingTuesday goals and continue their fundraising momentum through year-end.

Unfortunately, I’ve also witnessed some missed opportunities and heard about tech-related snafus from disappointed fundraisers who thought they had their bases covered.

To help you get prepared for #GivingTuesday I’ll share some insights that will help you make technology-related decisions, wow your supporters, and set your organization up for a successful #GivingTuesday campaign.

 

Your Giving Page

This is where you want your supporters to land on #GivingTuesday. Simply put, it’s your job to make that page (and overall donation experience) shine. How you can do this? Start by walking through your #GivingTuesday donation experience. Make sure every click, call to action, and thank you is shared as efficiently and effectively as possible.

These three tips can help you achieve that goal.

  1. Take your supporters straight to your donation page.  Every extra step you add to the donation process lowers your response rate. Remove extra steps and take your supporters straight to your donation page.
  2. Make sure your page is mobile-friendly. According to Litmus, 56% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Think of all those supporters who read your emails or see your social media post on their phones. Even with the most inspiring of appeals, a donation page that’s not mobile-friendly may turn them off if they can’t complete their gift on their phone or tablet.
  3. Turn on recurring giving.  44% of Network for Good’s donation volume comes from recurring gifts. More and more donors are choosing this subscription based donation option. Make it easy for your donors to turn their gift into a recurring donation and also share why it’s a valuable way to support your organization beyond #GivingTuesday. Think about how powerful this asks can be: a monthly gift of $50 is an annual donation of $600!

 

Your Emails

Unless you are putting some serious muscle behind other communication channels, email will most likely be the way supporters get to your page on #GivingTuesday. Keep these three things in mind to help get the most out of your #GivingTuesday emails:

  1. Use an email marketing system connected with your supporter database. Be sure that your email marketing system is plugged into your database so that your second or third #GivingTuesday appeal isn’t sent to supporters who already gave their gift earlier in the day. Furthermore, the alignment of these systems will help you write (and document) appropriate thank you messages to your #GivingTuesday campaign donors.
  2. Keep your emails as personal as possible. Use merge tags to include your name in the salutation. Always segment your supporter list so that you send a relevant #GivingTuesday appeal to different groups of supporters.
  3. Be careful with images. Do include your #GivingTuesday branding in your email, but make sure that the essential information in the email (like the link to your donation page) doesn’t depend on an image loading. If the only link to your donation page is on an  image/button, donors who fail to load images won’t see your call to action.  (A simple way to avoid this problem it to add a “P.S.” with hyperlinked text to your donation page).

 

Your Donor Management System

Your donor management system (DMS) brings all your donor history, donations, and contact records together on one platform. On #GivingTuesday, your DMS will be the hub that tracks your campaign’s success. Here are a few other ways to maximize the value of your DMS on #GivingTuesday:  

  1. Collect and reference donor notes. Because of the big potential for donor engagement on #GivingTuesday, keep track of supporters who are the most engaged, especially those who interact with your nonprofit on social media. This tactic gives you a good idea of who has an active presence online and who would be best to recruit for your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Storing these notes in your DMS makes the information easily accessible to everyone in your organization.
  2. Reach out to major donors. Use your DMS’ filter/segmentation feature and pull a list of your major donors. Get your Board members involved with #GivingTuesday by encouraging them to call these donors. Have them follow up on pledges made earlier in the year that have yet to come in or ask these donors to support your nonprofit in this 24-hour push to hit a big goal. 

 

FYI: Giving your Board access to your DMS allows them to review giving history to craft an appropriate ask and also add notes on their conversations.

3.  Group your #GivingTuesday ambassadors and communicate with them on a regular basis. In Network for Good’s donor management system, we have a “group” feature which allows users to quickly segment and take action on a specific set of donor records. Grouping streamlines the process of sending regular email or text message updates to your #GivingTuesday team. And, on the day of, having a pre-set group will make it easy to send copy and paste social media updates to your ambassadors or to simply remind your supporters that November 29th is here!

As technology evolves, so does fundraising. Your #GivingTuesday campaign is an ideal time to capitalize on new (or new to your nonprofit) technologies not only to raise money, but also to build awareness, empower Board members, and maximize the time your team has to execute a strategic and successful campaign.   

Have questions about using technology in your #GivingTuesday campaign? Reach out to us on Twitter @network4good