Giving Tuesday Strategy: Using Emotion to Raise Donor Retention

There’s good news for Giving Tuesday 2022.

We’re halfway through the year and haven’t seen the horrors of inflation that fundraisers feared, and after the expected drop in pandemic-driven giving last year, large and committed donors kept dollar growth positive through Giving Tuesday 2021. Plus, the large spike in new donors from 2020 was largely retained, leading to an incredible 26% increase in newly-retained donors in 2021.

In other words, don’t mistake lower donor counts for lost dollars. Opportunity lies in your small donors this Giving Tuesday – they accounted for 80% of all donors in the last few months of 2021. Giving Tuesday is the best testing ground out there for your donor acquisition and recapture strategies.

So choose challenge over caution this year! First gifts are often fueled by emotion and urgent need. What’s most important this year is how new donors will feel about their first giving experience with your organization, and which emotions will motivate them to stick around.

Here’s your guide to inspiring passionate gifts & new commitments:
  1. Feeling
  2. Connection
  3. Discovery
  4. Experience
  5. Relationship

Giving Tuesday Strategy: Feeling

Consider how your community and the supporters of your mission are feeling at this specific moment. What is keeping them up at night? What is their gut telling them? What emotions do you want your campaign to evoke?

Start your Giving Tuesday process by hosting a brainstorm with staff, board members, volunteers, and even some enthusiastic donors as a litmus test. A conversation is more fruitful than a survey in this scenario. Let them speak from the heart and relate to one another via Zoom, phone, or in-person.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Inspired – Donors gain new ideas from your campaign, specifically around the kind of change they’d like to be a part of in the world.
  • Appointed – Donors feel your invitation to give is a sign or a calling, and they’re drawn to support your campaign and champion your mission.
  • Passionate – Donors are enthusiastic about your cause and are willing to go beyond giving to lend their talents and time to help you succeed.
  • Hopeful – Donors have faith in your organization to provide solutions to problems they see in their community, their country, internationally, or in society as a whole.

Giving Tuesday Strategy: Connection

According to GivingTuesday, the majority of fundraising revenue comes from one-time donors, which grew in 2021. Fundraising from more frequent donors is down, especially those who donate 7+ more times in a year. Establishing an emotional connection between your mission and its constituents is the most cost-effective way to bridge that gap.

Giving Tuesday donors decide to step in and get involved because they feel personally invested in your mission’s success. So how will your campaign motivate donors to give their first, second, and third gifts?

Ex. “As a donor, this Giving Tuesday campaign theme resonates with me because I provide food and shelter for my children while attending college to earn a higher income. I know how difficult it can be to get ahead while managing a family and a home. I want women like me to succeed.”

Stories – Donors see themselves or someone they know in the stories you tell about people who have benefitted from your organization’s work.

Impact – Donors want to feel that they are responsible for the positive impact your organization is striving to achieve.

Community – Donors want to belong to and identify with a group of people who are bringing about the desired change together.

Giving Tuesday Strategy: Discovery

Getting seen on Giving Tuesday isn’t about bombarding people, but increasing the likelihood that your content will resonate with them and paying attention to their communication preferences. The best way to cover all of your bases is with a multichannel communication strategy. This will look different depending on the time, staff, and tools you have. It’s not a competition against other nonprofits. It’s an opportunity to engage with the right people at the right time.

Example Response Likelihood window in DonorPerfect with percentages for phone, direct mail, email, SMS or social.

There are several ways to determine how much energy to invest in each channel. If you’ve done Giving Tuesday before, look at analytics from previous campaigns – which communications drove donors to give? More specifically, did your Giving Tuesday emails lead to an increase in website engagement? Did your social media feed drive online form conversion?

Giving Tuesday Strategy: Experience

In the nonprofit sector, November and December often take on a celebratory mood. To retain new donors, giving should feel just as good as it did the first time. Consider how you can keep the celebration going through New Year’s, and how your Giving Tuesday campaign will kick off year-end giving. Will your communications be paced out evenly over these two months? How easy will it be to donate to a specific goal, watch the progress, give a tribute, become a monthly donor, etc.?

Your nonprofit’s Giving Tuesday experience should be:

Frictionless – Donors can give online, mobile, and monthly gifts through trusted online forms in seconds from any desktop or mobile device. They can choose the payment method and frequency that best suits their needs, and receive instant acknowledgment.

Engaging – Donors can fundraise on your behalf by creating and sharing their very own crowdfunding pages – allowing your cause to reach more people and raise more money. Donors can include their own stories to inspire loved ones to join their fight.

Example Crowdfunding page in DonorPerfect with goal bar, previous donations, etc

Gratifying – Donors are thanked instantly, letting them know just what they’ve made possible through their generous act of solidarity. DonorPerfect Online Forms can be set up to instantly acknowledge any transaction in a personalized manner. Feeling emotional over a large gift? Show your gratitude in a video message.

Specific – People can donate through a special form designed just for your Giving Tuesday campaign, knowing the exact project or need they are funding, who or what they are helping, and when they can expect updates going forward.

Giving Tuesday Strategy: Relationship

Giving Tuesday is a goldmine of new donors, but without the right retention system – one that sparks joy through continued involvement in your cause – they’ll likely forget the experience shortly after their first gift. After Giving Tuesday, there should be several touchpoints that match the emotion behind why they gave or the mood of the campaign.

New donor touchpoint suggestions:

  • Donation thank-yous
  • Impact updates and upcoming projects
  • Bite-sized stories or “mission moments”
  • Free & virtual events
  • Volunteer & crowdfunding opportunities

When new donors give to your organization based on emotion, they empathize with the subjects of your photos and stories. Adding a human element to your new donor touchpoints can also strengthen their connection with your organization. After they’ve engaged with the first few touchpoints, it’s a good idea to start incorporating video messages, personalized emails and letters, handwritten postcards, and Zoom invites.

Example Scheduled Outreach window in DonorPerfect with upcoming or past due outreach. Example Alerts & Reminders window with monthly giving, outstanding gifts, credit card expiration and online donation reminders.

Sometimes it’s easiest to look at donor relationships like you would any other. In our personal connections, we decide which emotions we want to share with others. When those feelings are reciprocated, a relationship is born. Some relationships start with a strong first impression, and some take a while to build trust, but either approach can manifest into a beautiful partnership filled with mutual understanding – as long as you’re being authentically you. So celebrate your shared values and common goals, and see what magic unfolds.

by Ally Orlando

Aug 4 22
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