#GivingTuesday this year will be on December 1, 2015 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Since its inception in 2012, it’s quickly become a nationwide effort to connect people’s spirit of giving directly to nonprofits during the holiday season. #GivingTuesday was originated by the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The event has harnessed the power of social media and now includes 30,000+ registered partners in 68 countries. Online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving have increased 470% since 2012.
“The main attraction for me, and I hope other stations, is that #GivingTuesday is a thing in itself that we're just joining up with,” explained Jill Shepherd, director of membership at WBEZ. “Our main message for 2015 is (roughly): ‘Celebrate #GivingTuesday! WBEZ is a participating nonprofit, and you can help #ILGive and #GivingTuesday reach amazing fundraising goals by donating to WBEZ.’"
"That's an unusual message that doesn't apply at any other time of the year," she adds, "so I want to make sure we get the most out of it while we can. Plus, it's very community-based, so it leaves a lot of room for mission-type messaging, which is ideal early in the campaign/month.”
So is it too late to get in on the action? Yes and no. You can pull together some elements quickly, like e-appeals, on-air mentions and social media posts. But it's also worth executing a more strongly-planned effort. Give it a try and join a number of other stations that have now strategies to harness the generosity of donors and bring awareness to the service they provide in their communities.
The #GivingTuesday site lets you register your station, download graphics, obtain training, and access all of the information you need to have a successful campaign.
Since #GivingTuesday’s success has largely been online, your plan should focus on email and social media strategies. Public media does have the advantage of being on-air, so adding some spots on that day would be beneficial.
In 2014 Indiana Public Radio and WIPB-TV instituted their first #GivingTuesday campaign. They obtained permission to customize video from givingtuesday.org for their own TV and radio spots. They also heavily utilized the #GivingTuesday social media toolkit and planning guides. IPR raised $1,940 in donations for radio and $380 for TV. They were pleased with this as a start.
#GivingTuesday is an opportunity to try out some new tactics at your station. Ever heard of Thunderclap? It's a "crowdspeaking" platform through which users donate their social reach to help promote causes. Greater Public's social/mobile expert Heather Mansfield suggests trying this out, along with many other tools, when building a cause awareness day to benefit your station.
3. Make It Fun
In 2014 WBEZ participated in #GivingTuesday, as well as a statewide Illinois campaign called #ILGiveBig that happened simultaneously. As an incentive, WBEZ partnered with Chipotle to give coupons for a free burrito to anyone who donated $30 or more. WBEZ raised $23,000, a 400% increase over what they would expect on a regular early-December day (with fundraising).
Jill Shepherd from WBEZ explained, “We did it all through spots, emails and social media posts that day (no live pitching); plus two emails and spots leading up to that day. We did normal amounts of new members (30%, average for us). We did NOT find that #GivingTuesday cannibalized the rest of the month in any way.”
4. Use Greater Public's Resources on Year-End Giving
Start planning ahead to further formalize your effort next year, and use the growing #GivingTuesday momentum to your advantage. The event can provide the perfect to kick-off to your year-end fundraising efforts. #GivingTuesday is a worldwide phenomenon that continues to grow each year. Leverage the significant awareness work that is already being done to the benefit of your station and its audience!