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The #GivingTuesday Countdown

#GivingTuesday – the global philanthropic movement celebrating and encouraging a national day of charitable giving – is one week away.  How are you celebrating #GivingTuesday this year?  

Ideally, your planning is in the final “finishing touches” stage with your #GivingTuesday communications ready to roll and your online/mobile giving site ready to accept donations.  For some, however, we know that despite the best intentions your #GivingTuesday plans may still be in the works.  

With that in mind, we developed this quick-and-easy last minute #GivingTuesday Checklist to help you capitalize on this big day of giving and pull together a successful #GivingTuesday campaign:

  • Determine Your Campaign Theme and Goal

The first step is to figure out what you are raising money for and how much you aim to raise.  To make things easy, if you already have a holiday or end-of-year campaign in place, simply tie #GivingTuesday to that campaign.  It’s a great way to bolster the campaign and increase support.

If not, create a specific campaign goal that will resonate with your supporters.  Donors want to know what their donations support so be specific – i.e. raising $50,000 for a scholarship fund or $10,000 for sprucing up a local family shelter.  You may even want to consider taking a menu approach:  allowing donors to direct funds to multiple ongoing projects you  support.  

  • Craft Your Communications.

Compelling communications are the backbone of your #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign.  Donors are more likely to give if they know how their dollars help.  Be sure to craft stories that demonstrate the impact donations have on your campaign.  Use strong visuals to help bring your story to life and be sure to make it easy to give by including a link to your online giving page in every communication.  Your communications need to inspire and breakthrough the clutter of the day.  

  • Refresh Your Donation Page

Time won’t allow for a full donation page overhaul, but at the very least make sure your donation page references your #GivingTuesday effort and the donation options mirror your campaign.  And, be sure to add the highly recognizable #GivingTuesday logo to your page.   

  • Get Social

#GivingTuesday expertly leverages social media to encourage giving.  Be sure you create social content that is not only compelling but easily sharable.  Invite your supporters to share your story – and link!  

You can still make the most of #GivingTuesday but you have to act fast!  Happy fundraising.    

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Giving Tuesday: Celebrating the Spirit of Giving

By Bridget Mayer

The holiday season is a whirl of activity. For many, it “officially” kicks off with the shopping, deal-focused frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.

Five years ago, two enterprising organizations – New York City’s 92nd Street Y community and cultural center and the United Nations Foundation – joined forces to create an event to kick off the charitable giving season and Giving Tuesday was born. Since then, Giving Tuesday has been celebrating philanthropy and charitable giving. Last year, this widely supported and nationally recognized day of giving raised an estimated $117 million, according to Reuters.

Giving Tuesday 2016 will take place on Tuesday, November 29th. Now’s the time to plan how your nonprofit can be part of the action on this national day of giving. While many of you may already be in the thick of appeals or about to launch other holiday campaigns, Giving Tuesday is a great day to bolster (or even kick-off) your campaign and help increase support. Leverage the built-in awareness of this popular day to your advantage!

At GiveCentral we support and share the sentiment behind Giving Tuesday so we’ve developed a handy guide to help your organization capitalize on the excitement and rally your donors.

1. Create Your Campaign

For every fundraising campaign, It’s crucial to know your audience and their key values to tailor your pitch. Create a theme for your campaign (what are you raising money for) that will resonate with donors. Most importantly, ensure you have personal anecdotes and stories to bring your campaign to life. Be specific about how donated funds will be used and build a case as to why it’s important. Tap into select donors to help tell your story and reinforce why the campaign is important. Donors are more likely to give if they can relate to where their dollars are going and “buy in” to the need. Once themes and storyline proof points are set, use the buzz around Giving Tuesday to not only celebrate philanthropy but also encourage support of your cause. The goal of your messaging should always be to effectively get your donor base to believe in your mission.

2. Layer Your Communications

With the campaign creative and messaging set, it’s time to spread the word! Whether it’s a note in your newsletter, email, flyer, text message or social posts and videos, be sure to maximize all of your communication platforms to share details about your campaign. Educate your audience on what Giving Tuesday is and how they can get involved to make Giving Tuesday a successful kick-off for your organization’s holiday season charitable giving campaign.

GiveCentral Best Practice Tip: Don’t forget to say thank you! A personalized thank you for a donation is an effective way to turn a one-time donor into a lifelong supporter. GiveCentral makes it easy for organizations by sending automatically customized thank you notes after each donation.

3. Engage Your Resources

It takes a village! Don’t go at your campaign alone. Create a committee of individuals who are energized and excited to make your fundraising campaign a success for your organization. Leverage these individuals to be key communicators of your campaign through word of mouth, social media and more!

Be sure to tap into Giving Tuesday’s extensive resource center. They offer a plethora of free resources – tool kits, logos, ideas and more – to make your campaign sizzle.

GiveCentral Best Practice Tip: Take advantage of the smartphone phenomenon and directly connect to your donors through GiveCentral’s Text-To-Connect platform. Texts are sent to your custom cell phone number to collect information and donations to take your Giving Tuesday campaign to the next level.

4. Get Social

#GivingTuesday expertly leverages social media as a catalyst to build momentum for the movement and drive charitable giving across the world. Be part of the conversation and share your story. Create tailored Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram images to remind your followers of #GivingTuesday and your mission while gaining new followers.

GiveCentral Best Practice Tip: Create a personalized hashtag for your Giving Tuesday campaign for donors to easily tag, track and share!

With these tips, your organization will be well on its way to helping members celebrate Giving Tuesday and get into the holiday giving spirit!  Click here for a downloadable GivingTuesday planning guide featuring these helpful tips.  

Thank you

That’s A Wrap

By Bridget Mayer

October got off to a busy start with two important industry conferences.  GiveCentral was proud to participate in both the International Catholic Stewardship Conference (ICSC) and the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC).  We greatly enjoyed connecting with so many of you and appreciate you taking the time to learn how GiveCentral can be a cost-effective fundraising partner.  

Each year these conferences offer a plethora of valuable information for attendees as well as exhibitors.  We hope you found the meetings informative and were able to capture some helpful takeaways!

Congrats Are in Order

We’d like to congratulate our iPad giveaway promotion winners who visited our booth during the conferences.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to have demonstrated the state-of-the-art GiveCentral online giving system and look forward to partnering with you to help you raise more:

  • Mariann Gilbride, Associate Director of Development Major and Planned Gifts, Diocese of Trenton (ICSC winner)
  • Valerie Sperka, Director of Development, Catholic Charities Indianapolis (NCDC winner)

Didn’t get a chance to stop by or are curious to learn more…give us a call.  We’d love to show you how effective GiveCentral can be as a fundraising too and showcase all we can do to help you optimize giving.

story word in vintage metal type printing blocks over grunge wood

What’s Your Narrative?

By Patrick Coleman

Storytelling

Humans are literally built to learn through stories.  Storytelling is a fundamental way to communicate, one that pre-dates the earliest pre-historic cave paintings. Since the beginning of humankind stories have been used to share knowledge and have been central to handing down history and traditions.  I venture to guess, just about now, you are thinking about the stories of your ancestors you’ve been told along the way.

More than a buzzword for marketers and communicators, storytelling has evolved into one of the most powerful marketing tools for organizations today (both for-profit and non-profit alike). Check out this infographic from OneSpot on the science of storytelling.   

According to OneSpot, Americans consume an average of 100,500 digital words daily and 92% of these consumers want stories.  Storytelling engages the head and the heart and makes the connection personal.

Ensuring your organization has an interesting narrative is essential. Well-crafted stories engage donors, raise awareness, demonstrate a need and illustrate the impact you have on your community.  Compelling stories connect people to your organization and your mission.  Remember these topline content guidelines when crafting your stories:

Elicit Emotions.  

Use emotion to connect on a human level.  Facts and figures are important, but stories are memorable. Your stories need to move the reader — make them feel something and ideally propel them to take action.

Appeal to the Senses.  

Use language that paints a picture and enables the reader to experience the story.  If you were writing about food you’d use descriptors that would make the readers’ mouth water.  Apply that same tactic to your writing.  

Focus on Why not What.  

Tell supporters why you do the work you do.  Dimensionalize “the what” by showcasing the outcomes – or the “why” of your work.

How is your organization using storytelling to enhance your fundraising?  What insights and tips can you share?  We love a good story, so be sure to share!

leisure, holidays, reunion, people and friendship concept - happy teenage friends hugging at summer garden party

Homecoming: A Great Time to Connect with Alumni

This fall many schools and parishes are hosting homecoming festivities which are a fun way for students, parents and parishioners to show their parish pride!  As the name implies, homecoming is also a time to invite former students and parish members back to campus to keep them connected to you and your mission.

If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to share details about your upcoming homecoming.  Alumni are an important constituent who can help you advance your mission.  Keeping them engaged in your organization can have significant payoff in the long run which is why they should already be part of your fundraising strategy playbook. Here’s a quick game plan to help you tackle this initiative during homecoming:

  • Create a special invite for alumni encouraging them to come back for homecoming festivities.  Distribute via traditional channels (bulletin, flyers at local establishments, local newspaper, email if you have that info, etc.) as well as socially on popular social sites.
  • If you haven’t done so already, create an alumni Facebook group and include details on how to join the group in your homecoming alumni invite.  You can use this group as a way to publicize homecoming events and so much more year round! Share news of the site with existing parish and school members and ask them to share with alumni they know.
  • Engage alumni ambassadors to help spread the news and get their classmates to attend homecoming.

 

Now that you’ve spread the word, on game day:

  • Have parish/school members staff a highly visible alumni table where attendees are encouraged to check in. Use the face-to-face greeting as a time to collect up-to-date email, phone and address information (use an ipad for quick and easy data collection) so you can add them to your ongoing communications outreach. Be sure to encourage them to join your alumni Facebook Group.  Create signage with the group name for easy reference.
  • Tap into alumni nostalgia and connection to the school.  Consider selling school spirit wear or car magnets so alumni can show their pride.  Use GiveCentral Go to collect sales on the spot!  Designate a project or program that money collected will support.
  • During halftime, make an announcement welcoming alumni and inviting them onto the field for special recognition.

In the week following homecoming, be sure to use the data you collected and send personal thank you notes to alumni who participated in homecoming activities.  Leveraging homecoming is a great way to kick-start or invigorate your alumni relations plan which should already be part of your fundraising strategy.

St. Raymond

USING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS TO STRENGTHEN COMMUNITY AND GROW GIVING

 

With the end of the fiscal year looming, St. Raymond de Penafort parish needed to quickly raise $30,000 to cover a budget shortfall and keep parish operations on sound financial ground.  But how? The answer lies in a longterm commitment to nurturing donor relationships and regular communications that didn’t always ask for money.

St. Raymond de Penafort parish consistently uses the GiveCentral communications feature to create a dialogue with parishioners and strengthen the community.  Monthly emails celebrate the vibrant community and showcase stories about the good work ministries are doing, the success of the school children, parish happenings and much, much more.  Through these stories St. Raymond built intimacy, demonstrated how donor dollars were helping and kept parishioners engaged in and tethered to their shared mission.  

When the parish faced the budget shortfall, naturally they turned to their parishioners for help.  They sent out a different type of note, one that detailed the parish’s financial shortfall and asked for help.  The response was immediate and powerful, raising $30K in less than a week, wiping out the parish debt for the year.  

How GiveCentral Made a Difference

The positive response and outpouring of support was rooted in a strong relationship the parish built with parishioners through a commitment to consistent communication that went well beyond asking for money.  These regular electronic communications sent from the GiveCentral portal fortified the relationship between parish and parishioners and played a key role in the community coming together in a time of need. When the email came asking for financial help, parishioners didn’t hesitate to generously give.  What’s more, providing supporters a way to give electronically offered supporters a quick and easy way to answer the call for help.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but we were very pleased with the outcome”

  • Roberta Nicholas – Communications Coordinator/Accounting

How often are you sharing your story s to strengthen your donor community?  If you don’t have a donor communication strategy in place, it’s time to start planning!

Fall

FALL FUNDRAISING TIPS

Autumn is officially here!  As I look outside, I see the leaves slowly starting to change; turning that warm red and deep gold that signals Autumn has arrived.  

Fall is for layering and cozying up.  The same “fall rules” apply to your organization…it’s time to cozy up to donors and layer in some easy-to-organize FUNdraising activities to engage your supporters and/or raise funds to fuel your mission.  From tailgaters to Oktoberfest and Halloween parties, and everything in between, for many nonprofits fall is brimming with fundraising events.  It’s also an ideal time to prep for your year-end appeal.  Here’s some fall-focused tips to keep in mind:

Show Donors Some Love This Fall

Making donors feel loved and helping them understand the important part they play in your mission is a key ingredient for successful fundraising.  That’s why you need to nurture donor relationships throughout the year, not just when asking for money.  Fall is the perfect time to “hunker down” and connect with donors to thank them for all they do to help your mission thrive, without asking for money.  Why not host a tailgater at your next football or soccer game?  Or, invite donors to a coffee where you share stories of the impact they are making.  These easy-to-implement activities will go a long way in showing your gratitude.  

Are you ready for some fun?

FUNdraising doesn’t have to be a chore (or a bore), it can – and should – be fun.  Fall is the perfect time to bring donors together – after being away for the summer – and there’s no better way to do that than planning a fun Fall Fest! Put your fun cap on and dream up activities that will draw donors to your event.  Remember the golden rule, you need to at least double your expenses to make any event worthwhile.  

Grab Them On The Go

One of the great things about fall is the weather and that means outdoor fundraisers.  GiveCentral Go is great for fundraising activities because you can accept payments on the spot, regardless of location.  The GiveCentral Go mobile app and card reader process payments on smartphones and tablets with the simple swipe of a credit or debit card. Funds are deposited directly into the online GiveCentral account.  Try GiveCentral Go at your fall fundraising events.

Avoid End-of-Year Pitfalls

October is the beginning of the year-end homestretch.  Set aside time in October to properly plan for your end-of-year appeal.  Create your fundraising plan and make sure you have the tools and team in place to make it your most successful year yet!  
A brand new season is on the horizon.  Are you ready to take it on?

Palm Trees

GiveCentral Proud to Participate in DFMC Conference

The Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference (DFMC) is underway in beautiful San Diego.  Diocesan fiscal leaders from across the country are once again gathering for the four-day conference where they will collaborate with colleagues and participate in a variety of fiscal-management focused educational seminars, work sessions and exhibits.

As a partner committed to helping Dioceses across the nation grow their giving, GiveCentral is honored to once again participate in this annual event.  This year, GiveCentral hosted breakfast on Monday, September 19th for all attendees.  We were happy to see so many of you and look forward to a great conference!

With its focus on continued education, DFMC offers attendees the chance to hear from organizations who can help them achieve their mission.  Our GiveCentral team will be on hand throughout the conference to demonstrate our turn-key, online donation service.  Though GiveCentral’s full suite of integrated capabilities, we have successfully helped many Dioceses and Archdioceses across the country raise more while simultaneously reducing staff time spent on administrative work, freeing them up to spread their mission (and who can’t use more time in their day?).

“GiveCentral is taking the Diocese’s fundraising operation in the right direction. In our first year of using GiveCentral for the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, we not only met our goal, but exceeded it by over $1.1M! I appreciate the detailed, real time reports, and I know our donors appreciate how easy it is to use. I recommend GiveCentral to any organization that is serious about fundraising.”

 

  • Tony Brandolino – Director of Stewardship and Development

If you are headed to San Diego for the conference,  we’d love to connect and show you how we can help you grow your giving!

Ice Bucket Challenge

A Wonderful Success – The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Do you remember the phenomenally successful viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from two years ago?  The viral, crowdsourced fundraising campaign – which, according to the national chapter of the ALS Association, raised an astonishing $115 million during a six week period – is a newsmaker once again.

Researchers – funded by the ALS Association, through ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations –  have identified a gene that contributes to ALS.  According to the national organization it’s the third research breakthrough made possible from the fundraising success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

When more than 17 million ALS Ice Challenge Bucket videos flooded Facebook the summer of 2014 participants were not only having fun.  They – along with the 440 million people who viewed the videos 10 billion times – knew participating would make a difference in the important work of the ALS Association (the only national non profit fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front).  How wonderful such positive outcomes came so fast!

This August, the ALS Association is building on the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, seeking to raise awareness and funds to finish what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge started in 2014: an end to ALS. The new campaign, called Every Drop Adds Up, pays homage to the Ice Bucket Challenge, visually emphasizes the now iconic “bucket,” and builds on the idea that when people come together they can make big, impossible things happen.

It’s a great example of building on fundraising successes and keeping the momentum around and commitment to a cause moving forward!  What lessons can your organization learn?

A political campaign has a few fundraising tricks up his sleeve that you can adapt for nonprofit giving. Ethical, of course!

Campaign Fundraising Like a Politician

Lessons Learned from Campaign 2016

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a political junkie…when it comes to candidates’ campaign fundraising strategies, that is. As nonprofit fundraisers, there is much to learn from these seasoned pros. Their undeniable success at raising tens of millions of dollars to fuel their political campaigns is intriguing, educational and – most importantly – doable.The frontrunners in today’s election season, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, in particular, use varied methods to achieve success. This New York Times article offers an interesting look at the differences between the Clinton and Sanders approaches to fundraising. Using that as a stepping stone, I’ve compiled a few lessons I’ve learned from studying these campaigns that you can apply to your playbook: (more…)