Giving Tuesday is nearly a week behind us and I've had more than a few conversations with clients and colleagues about whether or not Giving Tuesday was an effective fundraising day.
Why do I question this?
Because the strategy most organizations are employing for Giving Tuesday is to use the loudest megaphone.
In other words, the ability to be seen and get donations is conflated with a high volume of communications and asks. I see this happening more and more because there is "best practice" advice out there that the more you ask on Giving Tuesday, the more you get. But the truth is not all best practices are best for your organization, but I digress. . .
Now, I'm not opposed to making a lot of asks and sending out a lot of communications. But friends, volume is NOT the basis for a solid fundraising or communications strategy.
Standing out in the noisy non-profit sector -- increasing the volume of your fundraising and communications is not the answer
And yet, this is a strategy I see non-profits getting stuck in this time of year. And I get why that happens. There are a lot of non-profits out there, maybe even lot that have a similar mission to yours, and that means there is a lot of competition for donor dollars.
So, how do you hit the escape button on this situation in 2019?
Your other option to capture attention (instead of turning up the volume on that megaphone) is to have thoughtful, strategic things to say at the right moments year-round.
This means you are relationship building 365 days a year and not just in the week before Giving Tuesday. AND you are staying active enough in the right conversations so that your organization is perceived as a subject matter expert with something interesting to say.
Why is this a better strategy than a loud megaphone?
This strategy is about leading a conversation that builds visibility and relationships. And I'm not just talking about one-on-one conversation, though that might be a part of how you roll this out. I'm really talking about public conversations you engage in through the communications and fundraising material your non-profit puts out in the world. This is your thought leadership on your issue areas. It's the positions or opinions you have on the issues related to your work.
Non-profits that are highly visible, well loved organizations are consistently part of the right conversations at the right time.
If you want to engage this strategy, start by thinking about what conversations your organization is a part of.
For instance, an educational institution might be a part of conversations about access to education, the value and importance of education, modern education for the 21st century, and so on.
An environmental organization might be a part of conversations about conservation and environmental policy, land protection, climate change, and so on.
I'm passionate about playing the long-game with fundraising and communications strategy because consistency pays off. Take a few minutes today to think about the conversations your organization is already a part of and what conversations you want to be a part of in the next year.