Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, joining forces to set aside a day at the start of the holiday season to focus on the tradition of giving. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States, was founded in response to the in-your-face consumerism of shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have little to nothing to do with the true holiday spirit. It has since grown into a global movement focused on generosity and charitable donations.
This international day of giving is a terrific opportunity to increase awareness of your non-profit beyond your existing supporter base. Since this is a social media-driven event, it’s important to develop a strategy for getting the word out about your organization across a number of platforms. People around the world who are mindful of Giving Tuesday are already open to its purpose. Use this day to tell a worldwide audience that is open to your message who you are, what you’re trying to accomplish, and how their contributions will make a difference.
Focus on your audience
Your audience – both existing supporters and those you want to draw into your cause – should be the focus of all your content. Use the data about your existing followers to zero in on your key demographics, and target ads and other outreach accordingly.
Giving Tuesday is also a great opportunity to attract new followers. Make sure your employees, subscriber base and volunteers are following you on social media and using your hashtag in the days leading up to, and on the day itself. Remember to include links to your social media accounts on your website and in all communications.
Plan content in advance
Put Giving Tuesday on your social calendar several weeks in advance. This will give you time to decide what special content you want to post and when you want to post it. Schedule a number of posts leading up to that Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and also develop special “day of” social media engagement.
What is the message you want to express? How many social media posts are you going to schedule? Once you have determined your plan, start creating the content, and compiling the images and links you want to share in your posts. If you have a set dollar amount in mind, you might want to consider using, for example, an image of a ticking clock tracking your non-profit’s goal for Giving Tuesday fundraising. This can be especially effective in the day’s final hours, as you convey a sense of urgency.
Once your posts are ready to go, your social media manager can set up a timeline of when they’ll go live, or you can use an app to pre-schedule when they’ll go up. These posts should be in addition to your regular day-to-day social media engagement. Being prepared will take one important thing off of your “to do” list. You will also free up your time the day of to be in direct contact with your online network and respond to what’s happening in real time
Use dynamic images, graphics and videos
In addition to writing social media content solely for Giving Tuesday, you should also create new visual content. Use fresh images that resonate with your mission. Purpose-made videos are particularly impactful and can inspire a connection between your non-profit and its audiences. You can easily produce simple videos in-house with a smartphone and basic editing tools.
Always remember to include compelling, high-quality images to attract more attention. Your images should be uniquely tied to your non-profit’s story and, whenever possible, include a personal component for even greater relatability.
Devise a special hashtag that’s specific to your organization to gain more engagement with your posts. If you create one tied to your Giving Tuesday efforts, it will be easier to monitor posts about your campaign. Your hashtag should be easy to remember and reflect directly on your non-profit.
The power of testimonials
It’s always important to put a face and a narrative behind a mission statement, and that’s as true for this event as any other fundraising venture. As part of your advance work, collect testimonials that speak to the positive impact your non-profit has made. Look for uplifting stories that will inspire others to get involved with your cause, either in terms of donating money, becoming more active or sharing the link with others. Videos are very effective, so throughout the year keep an eye out for compelling examples that are particularly suited to this campaign.
Stay engaged with your audience
Since Giving Tuesday exists in real-time, take advantage of it as an opportunity to be in immediate touch with supporters. Answer questions as they come up, welcome new followers, share, retweet and like messages. People really appreciate these signs of recognition, and they solidify their connections to you.
Remember to always say “thank you” for donations and for helping to get the word out for your non-profit. Although people may guess that your responses are automated, it’s natural to feel positively about an organization that acknowledges each individual’s contribution. It’s better still if you are able to reach out with a direct person-to-person gesture.
Stay Authentic and Human
Keep your call to action for soliciting donations low-key. Everyone knows what the day is about, so you don’t need a hard sell – it’s easy for your viewers to get distracted and move on, especially on social media. Post content that will generate interest without always asking for money overtly.
Focus on the human element of your non-profit’s purpose. You want your audience to stay in touch beyond this event and for new followers to become active participants, so communicate in ways that you yourself feel you would respond to. Let your mission and your story do the work for you. Social media is a valuable tool, but always remember that there are human beings on the receiving end of your efforts.
The global reach of social media has made Giving Tuesday a worldwide phenomenon in just a few short years. Using these social media tips and strategies for your non-profit is not only an organic way to generate new donations, it’s also an excellent platform for getting the word out about your cause and expanding your base of supporters and volunteers.