The countdown is on, and organizations from every corner of the United States are preparing for this year’s #GivingTuesday on December 3. #GivingTuesday began in 2012 and has continued every year since on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. People across the nation open their wallet and make charitable donations to the organizations they’re most passionate about following consumer-focused movements like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, an estimated $400 million charitable donations were generated on #GivingTuesday, nearly a 46% increase from the year prior.
While estimates for this year’s #GivingTuesday are still unclear, having an all-encompassing fundraising strategy is a great way for schools to connect with alumni and parents, generate excitement and school pride among students, faculty and staff, and generate additional revenue.
Is your school prepared to make a buzz on #GivingTuesday this year? Below are a few thoughts to consider.
Have an email marketing strategy
Chances are, your school is already communicating with parents and alumni on a regular basis. Creating an email marketing strategy and segmenting your lists in order to personalize your message is a great way to generate higher email open rates, clicks and, hopefully, gifts to your school. For instance, if you’re able to segment your parents by their child’s class year, that could be an ideal way to personalize your message to them. For your alums, perhaps you could communicate with former student-athletes in a way that resonates with them by crafting messages that come from your coaches.
One thing to keep in mind: If you’re sending a high volume of emails, you are likely to have parents and alumni unsubscribe from communications from you. That could prove costly down the road with future engagement opportunities, so ensure your emails are relevant and you’re not spamming their inbox every 10 seconds.
Gamify the day
Creating different challenges and competitions throughout the day is a great way to engage your community on #GivingTuesday. For instance, you could create a chart on your website that shows which sports teams have generated the most gifts/dollars. You could also ask one parent or alum to provide the funds for a matching gift that would double gifts up to a specified dollar amount. Or, you could create incentives for reaching certain gift or dollar milestones. For example: “Principal Smith will shave his head if we reach 1,000 gifts before lunchtime! Make a gift now and we’ll do a Facebook Live video stream of Principal Smith getting his head shaved!”
Encourage school spirit on and off campus
#GivingTuesday is a great day to encourage your students, faculty and staff to wear their school colors and take pride in being a part of your amazing community. You could set up a photo area in the cafeteria or other high traffic areas at your school for people to take photos throughout the day to post on their social media channels. This would encourage their friends and classmates to do the same and would help extend your school’s brand on #GivingTuesday and shine a light on all of the charitable donations coming in. Another fun idea could be to have props and signs near the photo area for people to use. Pom poms, wigs, and face paint are just a few ideas to take the school spirit up a notch.
Activate your influencers
Chances are, you have at least a handful of students, alumni and parents at your school who have a large social media following and are actively engaged in your school. One impactful strategy on #GivingTuesday would be encourage them to not only make a gift of any size to the school, but to post on social media about their love for your school and what makes you unique and great. If you have a famous alum with a very large social media following, reaching out to them in advance with a shirt or some sort of school spirit package with a note inside about #GivingTuesday could be a great way to generate additional buzz and charitable donations for your school.
Utilize paid social media advertisements
You don’t need a large marketing budget to generate meaningful dollars for your school on #GivingTuesday. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Given the very specific group of people you’re targeting (alums, parents, students, etc.) and limited 24-hour window of your campaign, you don’t need a lot of money to make a real impact. If you have a short video about your school and why it’s important to give on #GivingTuesday, that could be great content to utilize for a $50 ad on Facebook or Instagram. If you decide to utilize digital advertising methods on #GivingTuesday, make sure to connect your website’s giving form to the platform you’re using so you can track the gift numbers and see what’s working and what isn’t. It’s good to utilize a variety of content (video, photo carousels, story links, etc.) so your target audience sees something different throughout the day.
Create a sense of urgency
Since #GivingTuesday spans only 24 hours, your call-to-action in nearly every form of communication needs to indicate a sense of urgency. If you’ve created a standalone web page or website for your #GivingTuesday campaign, it could be a great idea to prominently feature a countdown clock so people know there’s a limited window to make a gift. Additionally, if you’ve created gift challenges or matching gifts that are only available for a limited time, make sure you communicate that on your website and social media channels.
Don’t forget to follow up
It’s very easy to forget to follow up with your community on the Wednesday after #GivingTuesday. Have a strategy in place well before #GivingTuesday that allows you to show the impact people had on your school and where their charitable donations are going. Because of their generosity, you’re now able enhance the experience for your students. Many schools will create an infographic that shows the total dollars and gifts generated on #GivingTuesday that goes out via email and social media. You could also utilize your students, faculty and staff to personally call or write a handwritten note to every donor and thank them for their generosity.
Need help with executing a marketing campaign on #GivingTuesday? Let’s talk.