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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!