By Mary Hernandez, Petrus Blog Contributor
Online giving days have been growing in popularity and reached compulsory status since the pandemic forced non-profits out of the rhythm of traditional in-person fundraising events. Whether you will participate in #GivingTuesday, her Catholic cousin #iGiveCatholic, or another online giving day that has traction in your region, these strategies can help to guide you in developing a successful online giving day plan.
RECOGNIZE AND BUILD YOUR TEAM
Online giving days are built to capitalize on the power of crowdfunding. First-time giving day participants can get discouraged after a poor showing on a giving day if their strategy consists of harnessing the power of the crowd by sharing a social media post (even a really compelling one) and expecting dollars to flow in. The crowd is a bit of a misnomer here. I rather liken a giving day to teamfunding. You may not know all the folks in a crowd, but you do know the people on your team. If you are a school or college campus ministry, your team is made up of students, their parents and grandparents, alumni, and faculty and staff members. If you represent a Parish you can capitalize on the energy of the youth team members, families, and retired parishioners. Everything in your giving day plan should be developed in recognition of those people in your organization's team. Avoid becoming sidetracked by the anonymity of the crowd.
Next, build the core team that will take your giving day strategy to the next level. You will need team captains to help you share your organization’s story. These are the people who can lead others, communicate with enthusiasm, and be an example by making an early gift in support of your goal. You also need to identify people who will make up for the area of expertise you may lack. These might include a graphic artist, a videographer, a copywriter, or a social media guru who can help you to bring your organization’s story to life visually. Think of them as your special teams coaches. Who do you need to recruit to help ensure you reach your goal?
DEVELOP YOUR STORY
A successful giving day involves recapping your organization’s mission for your team. You are developing a mini case for support to inspire their participation and help you maintain a narrow focus to achieve your giving day goal. Because you know your team, keep them specifically in mind when crafting a meaningful and relevant case for support. What excites them? What do they love about your mission? The good news is that you aren’t writing a novel. Instead, think of your case for support as a really short story. Reveal your organization’s mission, and then be laser-sharp, sharing:
SET YOUR GOAL AND TRACK IT (PUBLICLY)
To get maximum buy-in, your team needs to know what the end game is. A realistic yet challenging goal will inspire greater participation and bring out the inner cheerleader in everyone when you get closer to achieving it as the day goes on. Meaningful giving day goals might include:
The key here is to update your team throughout the day and let them know how close or far you are to reaching your goal while showing gratitude for every gift. Yes, it can seem scary to put yourself out there, but there is no better time to be “all in” than when you have your entire team behind you. If anyone is on the fence about giving, they will know their gift is needed. Competitive donors may give more than they otherwise might to see you surpass your goal. If you fall short of your goal, it’ll be a great challenge to rally your team next year. If you reach or exceed your goal, everyone can celebrate!
BE EVERYWHERE, NOT JUST ONLINE
Online giving days drive existing and new donors to your webpage or a giving platform to make a gift – but it is necessary to incorporate traditional and offline communication methods in your online giving day to get them there.
PLAN YOUR GRATITUDE
God willing, you’ll have a lot of donors to thank. Craft your thank you message in advance and set a goal to thank your donors within 48-72 hours of their gift.
THE BIG DAY
A successful giving day does not start here. However, chipping away at the five strategies in the 8-10 weeks leading up to your giving day will give you a greater chance for a successful showing.
There is work to be done on the big day! Communicate with your team bright and early in the morning on every channel you can to remind your busy donors that the big day has arrived and now is the time to make their gift. Mobilize your core team – those team captains who can help to energize the donors you expect to give. Put your special teams coaches in motion to share timely social media posts on your progress and most importantly, to remind donors of your mission and its importance to the community. Have fun on your giving day, and show gratitude along the way.