Giving Tuesday is a crucial event in charities’ fundraising calendar - especially in 2020 as the sector tackles the fundraising challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic
Giving Tuesday is a vital opportunity for charities to raise awareness of the importance of donating. The popular event has its origins in the US and is still timed to take place during their holiday season, after Thanksgiving and ahead of Christmas.
But it is very much a global event, and the UK is no exception.
Last year, Giving Tuesday was the top trending phrase on Twitter in the UK, generating more than millions of impressions. Across the country, more than £14.2m was raised through online donations. This is equivalent to around £10,000 a minute.
Almost a decade on from its inaugural campaign, Giving Tuesday has a special resonance in 2020 - when the charity sector has been left reeling from income losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second Giving Tuesday event of the year will taking place within weeks and there are a range of ways charities can plan ahead and maximise fundraising income on the day.
The Giving Tuesday website has published a report called How to get the most from Giving Tuesday, which includes a raft of examples of how charities can boost their fundraising income from the event as well as offering date opinion from fundraisers about the day.
This found that less than a third of charities (29 per cent) are actively running Giving Tuesday campaigns and a similar proportion said “they had heard of the day but were not planning anything to do with it”.
“More than half acknowledged it is a date we need to make more of,” adds the report.
Worrying, 2.9% of those surveyed believed Giving Tuesday was not relevant to them as it was “an American date”.
Nevertheless, more than 80% of charity professionals believe that “focusing on a single calendar date is an effective fundraising strategy”.
Charities should not be afraid to try something new to improve fundraising activity online. With in-person events restricted by social distancing, this is an opportune time to be innovative with digital fundraising.
One example of the ambitious and innovative charity activity around Giving Tuesday is children’s health charity Tiny Tickers, which is flagged up as an example of good practice in the How to get the most from Giving Tuesday report.
Katie Lawson, head of fundraising and communications at the charity, describes how it set out to raise £750 for a new machine to measure oxygen levels in babies’ blood, on Giving Tuesday in 2018.
“We were blown away, to say the least, that we were able to fund six machines in one day.”
It achieved this by mixing serious stories with fun homemade videos on social media on the day.
In 2019, their efforts became more ambitious and innovative, with a campaign to fund 50 special dolls to help health professionals detect baby’s hearts. Using a combination of Facebook for fundraising and text-to-donate codes, the charity was able to fund four times as many of these fun and important devices.
If a charity has not used video more regularly in its social media, Giving Tuesday could be a good time to start. This could also include staging a live streaming event to connect and engage with audiences in a more accessible way. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, live streaming could provide an exciting alternative to in-person fundraising events that have had to be cancelled due to social distancing.
Involving supporters and staff is key to success. They can often turnaround a failing fundraising push as their stories of charity support are more authentic. Start by canvassing volunteers and beneficiaries to see if they would like to take part, either as case studies or to set up their own promotional activity. This could include using their own social media accounts or using online fundraising platforms to set up their own giving pages.
Myton Hospices, a group of three hospices in Coventry and Warwickshire, are a good example of a charity successfully involving their supporters in Giving Tuesday activities.
The charity has been using the day successfully of the last three years. On Giving Tuesday 2017 it doubled its target of £3,000. In 2019, Myton Hospices raised more than £8,700.
This was achieved by engaging its 12,000 supporters, who were emailed a month before the day to tell them about the day. They were asked to share messages on social media and to change their profile picture on Facebook to promote the hospice.
In 2019 the charity raised £1,200 alone from its early email to supporters.
"Roughly a month before #GivingTuesday, we included the campaign in a newsletter to our supporters and gave them the option to donate any time from then on. Our supporters helped us raise £1,200 as a result." This and some other great ideas from @MytonHospices.⬇️ pic.twitter.com/w24gqxREKB— #GivingTuesday - 1 December 2020 (@givingtuesdayuk)
"Roughly a month before #GivingTuesday, we included the campaign in a newsletter to our supporters and gave them the option to donate any time from then on. Our supporters helped us raise £1,200 as a result." This and some other great ideas from @MytonHospices.⬇️ pic.twitter.com/w24gqxREKB— #GivingTuesday - 1 December 2020 (@givingtuesdayuk) October 15, 2020
“Engage staff and volunteers well in advance of the day. Tell them when posts are going out and they will get behind it.”
Dan Brown, Digital Marketing Executive, Myton Hospices
Charity supporters are urged to share their #MyGivingStory on social media. “By sharing your #MyGivingStory, you will show how easy it is and how many ways there are to support your favourite charity and all the other good causes out there,” say campaign organisers.
The Giving Tuesday website also has a raft has a raft of useful resources available for charities, supporters, and corporate partners. This includes examples of successful campaigning during previous events and campaign materials.
Campaign logos for social media, complete with the relevant hashtags, are available.
Other resources include a Get Ready for Giving Tuesday webinar hosted by global charity fundraising platform GivenGain Foundation. This involves members of the Giving Tuesday South Africa team and other charity professionals sharing top tips and stories of success.
Giving Tuesday is a day of celebration of the work charities do. It is this positivity that keeps supporters engaged. Use the day to praise charity workers and volunteers and the charity’s impact in turning lives around. A recent study found that positive images lead to a higher average gift donation.
This year, Giving Tuesday UK has created an initiative called GiveBack2020, focusing on the positive work by charities over a tough year and how they have made a difference to people’s lives.
“It’s a chance for us to come together (however we can) to give back to the charities who have supported us, our families and our communities throughout the pandemic – delivering meals to families isolating, checking in on people living alone and finding new ways to provide services to people who were already in need before the crisis.”
A raft of resources, including social media images, have been made available to charities to promote GiveBack2020.
Before even deciding what content to use, it is important for charities to make sure their fundraising technology is up to speed. Giving Tuesday lasts for 24 hours and charities will not want to lose any of that time due to technical glitches.
Charities are urged to test whether donate buttons work on campaign pages by making a donation and completing the payment process in advance. A social media management platform is also vital at this testing stage. These help to schedule and plan content and making sure the hashtag #GivingTuesday is in place
Successful fundraising promotion is about telling good stories. An engaging story will help boost funds. Start planning this now by crafting content messaging and gathering analytic insights into the stories that appeal to supporters.
Before planning content it is worth noting that not everyone will know what Giving Tuesday is. Use email marketing and web pages to give a brief description of what the annual event is and why it is so important to charities. There are a range of products to help design content online, such as Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud.