This is a guest post from Jenna Sauber of CauseVox.
In its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is bigger than ever, as hundreds more nonprofits, businesses, and other organizations are signing up to participate in the annual giving day, on December 1 this year.
From campaigns to support schools and shelters, virtual and in-person events like 5ks and board game tournaments, and gift drives to collect blankets and food, there is a little bit of everything going on for #GivingTuesday – take your pick.
To the average donor, the sheer number of asks can seem overwhelming, as if the holiday season isn’t already chaotic enough. And for a nonprofit, it can seem intimidating to find a way to stand out among the thousands of other brands (charitable and retail) asking for money and support.
So that’s why it’s important to make storytelling an essential part of your #GivingTuesday campaign. And not just the stories of your organization and the impact you’ve made – but the stories and experiences from donors themselves.
Research has made it pretty clear that many donors are more likely to give to a cause if they feel a personal connection to it, if they have been asked by a friend or family member, and if they are compelled by a rich narrative rather than abstract facts.
To make a giving experience truly personal, nonprofits should take advantage of what their community has already given them and build upon it. Many people are happy to have their story shared on behalf of a cause they support, especially if it will help their personal fundraising goals and garner more attention to the issue.
Here are a few ways nonprofits can leverage donor stories for their #GivingTuesday fundraising strategy:
Elevate Your Email Copy
Many nonprofits send out a handful of emails during their holiday or year-end fundraising campaign, including one for #GivingTuesday. But instead of doing the same old schedule of 3-4 emails from your organization’s Executive Director with a story, some data, and a donation ask, try something new, and use content from your community.
Here’s a few ideas on how to use donor stories to promote your campaign via email:
- Send at least one email in advance of #GivingTuesday or on December 1 and include a story from a donor, in which they share why they’re giving to your cause. Bonus points for a short video testimonial.
- Add a P.S. to end of every email in the month leading up to #GivingTuesday with 1-2 short lines about a donor, and one more link to donate. People always read the P.S.
- Use one of your email slots to share a handful of tidbits about your donors. Ex: “John S. has given annually in honor of his mother,” or “35% of our donors have previously been homeless and are now homeowners/renters.”
Spice Up Your Social Media
Social media can be a really easy way to share short snippets from your donors, and of course, it’s even easier to request it.
Every time someone uploads a photo or video, that’s a story. Every time someone answers a question you post on Facebook or Twitter, that’s a story. 140 characters or just a little more may not seem like a lot, but add together hundreds or thousands of these types of posts, and you’ve got enough for a novel.
- Make use of the all the various hashtags associated with #GivingTuesday: the main one, #UNselfie, #mygivingstory, and more. Remind your donors to continually use them when posting about your cause, and retweet all relevant posts.
- Don’t let a donor story disappear with one tweet. Take something you might normally use for a blog post or email and spread it out in “installments” on social media – keep people coming back for more, leading up to December 1.
- Consider letting a dedicated donor take over one of your social media accounts for the day, and being a guest poster on Instagram or Twitter, giving your messaging a very personal, and fun touch.
Coaches For Crowdfunding
Donor stories can be especially helpful for peer-to-peer fundraising. If your #GivingTuesday campaign has an individual or team crowdfunding component, let your donors guide each other to reach their goals.
- If your crowdfunding platform allows tips and coaching for team captains and fundraisers like CauseVox, solicit hints and best practices from donors themselves.
- Every few days leading up to #GivingTuesday, share one great example of a personal fundraiser or team who is doing something unique or fun to raise money for your cause.
- If you offer toolkits, guides, webinars, or other resources for your fundraisers in advance of #GivingTuesday, ask some of your donors to be guest speakers or authors so they can share their success and inspire others.
Nothing makes a fundraising ask more compelling than a personal story that makes the donor the hero of your cause. It can be a challenge to consistently come up with comprehensive case studies and impact data to align with your current goals, but you always have donors who know why they give – so make the most of it! Just like anything else, all you have do is ask.
Jenna Sauber is content and writing specialist at CauseVox, a platform used to easily create fundraising websites. She crafts blog posts, guides, and ebooks that help nonprofits scale their social impact.