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This Giving Tuesday, Nonprofits Turn To Online Donations

November 30, 2020 Sarah Cavill

“Generosity is a core trait and value that brings people of all races, faiths and political views together,” said GivingTuesday co-founder and CEO Asha Curran. “GivingTuesday creates a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”

Shutterstock_1818963800 GIVING TUESDAY letter blocks concept on laptop keyboard

Giving Tuesday, which was started in 2012, is a chance for everyone to give back, whether by donating money or time. In 2019, nearly $2 billion was raised on Giving Tuesday. And, a special Giving Tuesday called #GivingTuesdayNow, which took place on May 5, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, raised $500 million. This year, at a time marked by sadness and need for many people, Giving Tuesday may be more important than ever. For nonprofits, the inability to be on the ground hosting events and going door to door means that donation drives this Giving Tuesday must be entirely online, using digital advertising strategies that amplify messaging, extend reach and increase online donations.

Newsletters Can Nurture Donors & Keep Them Informed 

Digital newsletters from nonprofit organizations can have a profound impact on fundraising, especially in a year when the stakes are higher and the ask is greater. A digital newsletter can function as both a tool to inform current and potential donors about initiatives and ongoing campaigns and a place to share newfound approaches to ongoing problems in the world.

For nonprofits, 2020 is about being resilient, empathetic and authentic. But being relevant is just as important this year. Ahead of Giving Tuesday, Alyssa Conrardy and Walker Post of Fast Company note that “If [nonprofits] want to stand out amidst the fray of competing appeals that are all making the same basic ask, [they] need to bring the hot button topics of 2020 – race equity and health disparities – into focus in the context of [their] organization’s mission.” Nonprofits shouldn’t shy away from the issues likely to be weighing on many donors, especially in a year when money may be tighter and donors more focused on giving where they believe it truly counts. 

Digital newsletters should feel fresh and interactive. EmbraceRace, an online community focused on best practices for raising and caring for kids in the context of race, relies heavily on their digital newsletter to reach donors, parents and teachers with “updates about new topics, resources, webinars and curated links about race in the U.S.” By establishing themselves as an authority and a resource, an organization like EmbraceRace is in a better position to launch a successful Giving Tuesday campaign to a list of trusted community members who may already be invested in the success of the organization. 

Strategic Partnerships Can Increase Reach On #GivingTuesday

The ASPCA has long leveraged Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to drive awareness and raise money. In the past, for Giving Tuesday, the nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals, partnered with Facebook to host “Live-A-Thon” fundraisers and worked with Subaru to increase the reach of each donation. This year, Subaru’s Share the Love campaign once again includes the ASPCA among charities that can benefit each time a car is sold throughout the holidays.

The ASPCA is also using AmazonSmile Charity Lists, now available on the Amazon Shopping app, to encourage donations to different areas of need within the ASPCA. 

Social Media Helps Nonprofits Reach Younger Donors

Shedd Aquarium social media nonprofit givingtuesday

According to the Giving Tuesday organization, “In 2019, more than 20 billion social media impressions were made on GivingTuesday.” Social media strategies can be very effective for nonprofits, and as Giving Tuesday points out, implemented in a number of ways.

User-generated content (UGC), for example, can be very useful for spreading the word via social platforms, especially when expressly tied to hashtags, like #givingtuesday, and when the UGC campaigns allow people to share their do-gooder acts and promote their favorite nonprofits. UGC campaigns and other peer-to-peer fundraising tactics can be successful for obtaining sustaining donors, especially among younger donors who may be on social media channels and often prefer smaller, recurring donations in lieu of one large sum donation.

As consumers have adapted to life in the pandemic, digital shopping, online media consumption and social media use have grown exponentially. Many nonprofit organizations and charities have been using digital strategies for sometime, but the move to entirely digital strategies without the benefit of in-person fundraising has been an adjustment. For Giving Tuesday (and overall fundraising) to be a success, nonprofits have to meet donors where they are — online. And, like brands and businesses, nonprofits must effectively pivot to digital for engagement, revenue and lasting loyalty.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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