By Julie Kenny, National Program Director for iGiveCatholic
Participation in a giving day by nonprofit organizations is becoming more popular with every passing #GivingTuesday. I like to think of giving days as the evolution of telethons! Thinking back to the Jerry Lewis telethon every Labor Day to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), our family tuned in every fall to watch. Having classmates with the disease, my siblings and I, as well as seemingly our entire school, volunteered to wash cars, bake goods, and staff a table at our parish rummage sale donating all proceeds for the cause. We couldn’t wait to see what the grand total raised would be to help our friends!
As National Program Director for #iGiveCatholic, I recognize this same excitement and engagement as thousands of Catholic organizations prepare for the annual giving day held on #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And, I see how participation in previous #iGiveCatholic giving days has positively impacted Catholic parishes, schools and ministries of all sizes with varied demographics across America.
I also know that not every organization has the same level of effort and therefore result. If your organization has decided to participate in a giving day, and you have allowed ample time (minimum of five to six months) for preparation, here are four proven steps to help ensure your giving day is a win for all involved:
People give to people. And, they want to make a positive difference with their gift. Why are you passionate about the mission of your organization? How have you witnessed lives changed by what you do? Write that down in as few words as possible (note the key word few!), and in as many different ways as possible, communicate this message often to your donors. HINT: Including testimonials, pictures and links to brief videos on your website, in emails, on your social media platforms, and on your giving day profile page are a huge benefit!
Ask people to give. Include in all communications the giving day date and times they can donate, and whether they can give by cash or check. Including the URL of your profile page where you will collect donations! Make it as easy as possible for people to find you, and to direct their friends to find you. HINT: Ask some of your more generous donors to consider making a “pre-donation” that can be used as a match for others donating on the giving day. This helps add excitement to the day.
Put yourself in your donors’ shoes. People remember when they were not thanked. A best practice is to thank donors within seven days of the giving day, and use various methods for thanking. HINT: No one will be upset if they are thanked more than one time.
In every #iGiveCatholic survey, donors report they want to know how much money you raised, and how their money is used. I’m guessing this is true of all giving day donors. They want to help you celebrate success and feel joy when they see how their donations have made a difference. HINT: Include videos and photos, and use all forms of media to share the news!
Giving days gather communities around a cause, encouraging members and friends to unite in support of something they are all passionate about. By participating in a giving day during this season of generosity and love, you allow your benefactors to express their gratitude in very tangible ways. They will do what they can to support your mission, as we did many years ago in raising money for the MDA to better the lives of our friends. And there is no better cause to rally around than our Catholic parishes, schools and ministries, the organizations that shape our souls.
"In a conference, what I'm really looking for is the practical TOOLS on how to do your job well and the MOTIVATION to go out and be ready to get back to work. I've gotten both of those things from Petrus. I'm really excited to get back home and HUSTLE and really put my all into it."