What’s your plan for Giving Tuesday?

by Ryan Garnett on October 30th, 2020

In a year like no other, will Giving Tuesday be different as well? In one way, yes, as it will be the 2nd Giving Tuesday of 2020.

Giving Tuesday Now took place on May 5th, as most of us were still in lockdown during the first part of the pandemic. And Giving Tuesday is coming up fast on December 1st.

Whether we are locked down again or continuing with ‘normal’ life on that day, one thing we know is that more people will be online than in previous years. Whether it’s working from home, catching up on the news, purchasing Christmas gifts, or making donations to non-profits, we’ve never spent more time on our phones/computers than right now. And that’s not just because of the pandemic either. Our screen time just continues to increase.

So what should you do to break through the clutter and ensure your message is seen by your donors on December 1st? And should asking for money be your primary goal?

At HMA, we’ve always advocated that Giving Tuesday should be focused on giving back to your donors. Thanking them for their generosity. And ensuring they feel appreciated.

Should you send an e-mail or two on Giving Tuesday? Yes. But you don’t have to ask for money in those e-mails. We like Giving Tuesday campaigns that are full of donor love.

But what if you DO have a very compelling reason to ask for donations at precisely that time? By all means, go ahead. Just remember this: Giving Tuesday is not a REASON for your donors to support you. Just like an organization’s anniversary is not a REASON for your donors to send in gifts. Your mission–your need–is the reason for donors to support you. That needs to remain your focus. And you might find even stronger results if your primary ask is just before or just after Giving Tuesday because there will be less competition.

Do you have a donor offering to match all donations made on Giving Tuesday? Then, yes, that’s a compelling case for support. But, otherwise, in a season when there are so many fundraising asks of our donors, it’s nice to single out one day to give them a little love in return.

Looking back at our hospital benchmarking report (available for download here) e-mail subject lines that included Giving Tuesday or Giving Tuesday Now had a much lower open rate than more emergency/pandemic focused subject lines. Donors don’t give to you just because it’s Giving Tuesday. They give because they care. And because they see how their $50 or $100 donation can make a difference in the great work that your organization is doing.

So when you’re planning for Giving Tuesday this year don’t get too focused on the day itself. Focus on how your supporters can make an impact. How grateful you are to them. And be sure stewardship is a big part of your plans.

Should you make plans for Giving Tuesday? Absolutely. Just be sure those plans are focused on what’s best for your donors. It’s a great day to say ‘thank you.’

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