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This guest post is written by Abby Jarvis from Qgiv.

For-profit businesses everywhere are stocking up for Black Friday, but nonprofits are preparing for a different day of spending: Giving Tuesday.

If you work for a nonprofit, you know just how important Giving Tuesday can be, and just how many donations it can generate. In fact, Giving Tuesday hit the billion dollar mark just last year.

This generosity-based holiday falls on December 3rd this year, meaning the time to prepare your nonprofit’s messaging and marketing materials is coming to a close.

Is your organization ready for Giving Tuesday?

If not, you can easily begin informing your donors and followers of your Giving Tuesday plans through email. While this generous holiday may seem top-of-mind for nonprofit employees and volunteers, many members of the general public are still somewhat uninformed.

In fact, significantly less people know about Giving Tuesday when compared to those who are familiar with Black Friday.

That’s why we’re going over four steps you can take to improve your current Giving Tuesday campaign (or plan it last-minute).

Read on to learn how you can give more to Giving Tuesday.

Get ready for Giving Tuesday with these four steps.

1. Introduce donors to your upcoming Giving Tuesday campaign.

If you have an upcoming goal, why not tell your subscribers about it? The more knowledge you equip your donors with regarding your Giving Tuesday campaign, the more likely they are to donate.

In a recent study, we teamed up with Campaign Monitor and surveyed 1,000+ donors; this survey found that a specific, urgent goal with a personal touch can inspire donors to give.

In other words, give your subscribers all the information they need:

  • Tell them about Giving Tuesday: what it is and why it matters
  • Send an urgent campaign with a Giving Tuesday deadline
  • Make it personal by sending from a specific person and telling donors where the money is going

How do you make it urgent, though? Send emails at a consistent (but not annoying) cadence, reminding donors of your upcoming campaign.

Additionally, consider adding a countdown timer or a donation meter to your emails to track the campaign, like North Shore Animal League America does in the email below.

Be ready for Giving Tuesday like North Shore Animal League America.

And don’t forget to use urgent language paired with a compelling CTA.

2. Tell a story donors will care about.

Donors often contribute, either financially or through in-kind donations, without seeing anything in return. This process can be difficult for donors if they don’t know where their money is going.

Because of this, it’s important to make your Giving Tuesday campaign as personal as possible. Not only can you do this through segmenting emails on the backend, but you can also achieve personal campaigns by sharing the story of someone your organization has helped.

When we teamed up with Campaign Monitor and surveyed donors, over 61% wanted to receive stories about how their chosen nonprofits affected real people for the better.

You can see how Amazon Frontlines does this in the email below, showing images of real people and information about how donations are used.

This is a Giving Tuesday email example from Amazon Frontlines. This is part of the Nonprofit email benchmarks guide from Campaign Monitor.

Here are a few ways you can make it personal:

  • Show photos and videos of the people your nonprofit impacted (video increases open rates by up to 13% and conversions by 21%).
  • Share their names, creating an even deeper connection.
  • Tell their stories: where they were before and where they are thanks to donations.
  • If possible, share how your subscribers’ donations specifically impacted the people in the email.

3. Communicate through real members of your organization.

To collect donations on Giving Tuesday, consider sending a letter from nonprofit employees or volunteers. Even better, consider sending a communication directly from the director of the organization.

Our study found donors enjoy hearing from someone specific at the organization, so send a heartfelt plea from a real person. This encourages connection among your subscribers and nonprofit members.

By reaching out through an individual, your nonprofit is no longer an organization looking for donations, but it instead becomes a collection of real people trying to make a real difference.

Notice how the Red Cross email below is sent from Lauri, a real Red Cross advocate who cares deeply about the organization’s mission.

American Red Cross email showing an example of a Giving Tuesday letter from someone important

Here are some ideas of how you might reach out:

  • Include a personalized from name, like “Sam at Nonprofit Today.”
  • Introduce the person and what they do within the first few lines of copy.
  • Explain why the nonprofit is important to them.
  • Include a personal signoff.

4. Show gratitude and include updates.

As with any transaction, send a thank you email immediately to anyone who donated. Additionally, send another email thanking everyone who donated once Giving Tuesday ends.

But that’s not all. Your email should do more than thank donors: It should also explain how much money was raised and what the proceeds will accomplish. If possible, consider including how much money will go to specific steps in the nonprofit project.

Here are the steps you can follow to show gratitude:

  • Send a triggered thank you email any time someone donates.
  • Send a Giving Tuesday gratitude email to all donors once the holiday ends.
  • Tell donors how much money was raised and where the proceeds are going.

Giving Tuesday tips (bonus round)

Want to make this Giving Tuesday a success no matter what? If so, there are a few things you can do.

First, create a marketing calendar that includes each email, social post, webinar, and any other piece of promotional content you plan to publish in preparation for Giving Tuesday.

Qgiv’s 2019 #GivingTuesday Ultimate Guide has a calendar and templates you can use to make Giving Tuesday communication and scheduling a breeze.

Secondly, combine all your content efforts to create a cohesive campaign. This includes social media posts, newsletters, emails, and blog posts. Make sure all your content is working in tandem.

Finally, make sure you’re sending the best emails you can at the right time. To send emails that are best suited to each of your subscribers, make sure you’re personalizing your content, segmenting your campaigns, maintaining healthy list hygiene, and utilizing automation.

To send emails at the right time, familiarize yourself with the best days to send emails. This changes depending on whether you’re looking for high opens, click-throughs, or click-to-open rates.

Learn about nonprofit benchmarks by reading Campaign Monitor’s guide here.

Wrap up

Giving Tuesday is more than just a day for giving: It’s a day of driving awareness, promoting generosity, and uniting behind a singular cause.

If you haven’t started getting ready for Giving Tuesday, it’s not too late. There are plenty of urgent efforts that need your nonprofit and your subscribers.

So, tell your donors about Giving Tuesday and the specific cause you want to support with their help. Get personal, share life-changing stories, and show gratitude every step of the way.

Want to know the secret to getting donations from donors who care? Sign up for the Campaign Monitor + Qgiv webinar here.


Abby Jarvis is the Nonprofit Education Manager at Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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