5 Things Every Public Radio & TV Station Should Know About #GivingTuesday

Membership, social media, #GivingTuesday, calendar year-end

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#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.

Here are five things to get you started:


1. Make the Most of Resources at givingtuesday.org

#GivingTuesday logo
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.

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2. Test a New Strategy

try #GivingTuesday
#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

#GivingTuesday 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

#GivingTuesday and Greater Public
We at Greater Public have just updated our e-appeal copy for year-end giving, including a message to use on #GivingTuesday.


5. Plan for Next Year

#GivingTuesday planning
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!

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