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What are your nonprofit’s plans for Giving Tuesday?

You may already be at the implementation stage of your holiday email marketing campaigns right now. Focusing on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas is a typical strategy for retail emails.

However, for nonprofits, Giving Tuesday is often the high point of their year-end email marketing initiatives.

What is Giving Tuesday?

Launched in 2012, Giving Tuesday comes right after Cyber Monday. It’s a collaborative social movement centered on fundraising. The day is usually referred to as #GivingTuesday to take advantage of increased visibility through social media trending.

In 2018, the collective donations made in the name of Giving Tuesday reached more than $400 million. The movement also celebrated surpassing the $1 billion mark last year, counting all funds raised since 2012.

Giving Tuesday takes place in the middle of the holiday season for a reason: It’s the best time to spread awareness of varied charities and nonprofits. When consumers are in a spending mood already, it’s easier to encourage them to donate.

Social media marketing may seem like the obvious choice here, given the hashtag, but don’t discount the reach of email. American workers get more than 120 emails daily, and the number of active email addresses worldwide may go up to more than 5.5 billion in 2019.

Email conversion rates are about 40 times higher than Twitter and Facebook conversion rates, making email marketing ideal for your Giving Tuesday campaigns.

What elements create an effective Giving Tuesday email?

It’s essential to get your content right before you execute a Giving Tuesday campaign for a nonprofit. Perfect your copy’s tone and approach when asking subscribers to donate. You want to come across as caring and authentic, without being too pushy.

1. A genuine and personal connection

Did you know that personalization in email marketing can increase your open rates by more than 25%? Go beyond simply using subscriber names, if you can.

An ideal Giving Tuesday email should be about your subscribers as much as it is about your fundraising drive. It’s easier for donors to give to trustworthy and familiar entities. Remind email recipients of their history. For example, you may bring up your nonprofit’s Giving Tuesday statistics from last year and thank them for their past donations.

2. A story or image to tug at the heartstrings

You may open with a succinct explanation of what your organization does, highlighting how donated funds benefit the greater good. You can also tell the story of a specific person or group that has benefited from a previous fundraising campaign.

Motivate your subscribers to donate by helping them make an emotional connection to your cause. Give them an inspiring reason to support your nonprofit. It doesn’t have to be a long or detailed story, as long as the impact is there. Photos and infographics make emails more scannable and mobile-friendly. Videos also make for convincing testimonials.

3. A simple and clear CTA

A Giving Tuesday email coaxes action out of your audience. Don’t leave them hanging after explaining the details of your organization and fundraising campaign. Make it easy for your subscribers to contribute and tell them exactly what to do.

Consider using CTA buttons too. Compared to text links, they can increase click-through rates by more than 25%. This can result in more donations and a more successful campaign that’ll end up helping more people in need.

4. A complete set of pertinent details

If part of your Giving Tuesday campaign is time sensitive, lead with that information. You can pair details like “before midnight” or “donation-matching today only” with a CTA button at the beginning of your email too.

Running a goal-based campaign? Let your subscribers in on the specifics. For example: if your organization feeds poverty-stricken families, tell your subscribers how many meals a $50 donation can provide one family. If you’re raising funds to build or renovate a structure, specify the goal amount in the email.

Potential donors may have additional questions with answers not found in your email body or linked content. Make sure to include the contact information of your nonprofit in the message, along with the name of a designated contact person.

What makes a Giving Tuesday campaign successful?

Writing a good email is essential, but only the first step. Here are some tips to keep in mind when crafting a Giving Tuesday campaign.

  • Hassle-free donating: this is crucial. Before running your Giving Tuesday campaign, check and double-check your donation process to ensure that potential donors don’t get frustrated before completing a donation—or worse, mess up the steps and get their funds funneled elsewhere.
  • Mobile-friendly messages: more than 50% of emails are opened first on mobile devices. To maximize the reach of any campaign, you need to use a responsive email design.
  • A/B testing and quality assurance: this goes for all email marketing campaigns. Imagine sending out a Giving Tuesday email to your entire list, only to find out about a broken CTA button or an inadvertently offensive line of your copy afterward.
  • Multi-platform marketing: Giving Tuesday began as a social media darling. A holistic marketing strategy involving both email and social media may be the best way to promote your Giving Tuesday efforts. You can also set up a separate landing page on your website for your campaign.
  • Segmented email lists: as a nonprofit, your brand may have a varied audience. Segmenting your subscribers and altering your Giving Tuesday emails accordingly can have a significant effect on your fundraising efforts. Marketers have seen as much as a 760% revenue increase, solely due to email segmentation.

Here are some Giving Tuesday email examples to inspire you.

It’s worth noting that a Giving Tuesday campaign can consist of emails that serve different purposes.

Solicitations are at the heart of a fundraising initiative, but a comprehensive campaign should take donors through a whole journey—from disseminating information and accepting contributions to sending a follow-up or a thank you message.

1. The announcement

In 2016, a study compared holiday awareness in consumers and noted that only 18% of its respondents knew about Giving Tuesday. More than 90% of the same group were aware of Black Friday.

An email sent in advance to inform your audience about Giving Tuesday and how you’re participating in the movement can prepare them to donate on the day itself.

Charity Water email showing an example of a Giving Tuesday announcement message

Source: Really Good Emails

2. The letter from someone important

It’s always a good idea to send an email from a director or leader of your organization. This tactic increases the credibility of your email, especially if the person is a public figure. Should you be lacking in materials to use for a story to tell, a personal account from someone important will suffice.

If your Giving Tuesday campaign includes desired actions other than donating—peer-to-peer fundraising, for example—the authority carried by a special email sender can help convince subscribers to take that extra step past donating online.

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

Source: Milled

3. The urgent solicitations

These emails are the ones that should carry the heartwarming stories and images. As they’re usually sent on the day itself, a sense of urgency should be palpable in the content. Consider adding a countdown timer or a goal meter.

You can send several of these throughout the 24 hours of Giving Tuesday. Each time you do, you may want to segment out subscribers that have already donated, so they don’t get tired of your emails.

 North Shore Animal League email showing an example of a Giving Tuesday urgent solicitation

Source: Milled

4. The message of thanks

A fundraising campaign isn’t complete without closing it with a definitive “thank you” to your donors. Resist the urge to be vague or use an automated message with no details. Successful Giving Tuesday emails mean that you have invested subscribers that care about what happens next.

Consider adding a congratulatory image for reaching a goal and releasing the exact amount of funds raised. Mention, in concrete terms, how it’ll help your cause.

Autism Speaks email showing an example of a Giving Tuesday message of thanks

Source: Milled

Wrap up

Giving Tuesday is a day for nonprofits. Participation in this social movement can boost donations and drive fundraising campaigns for charity initiatives both for the holidays and the year ahead.

To run an effective Giving Tuesday campaign, you need to understand what it takes to ask for a donation over email:

  • Craft campaign emails with a genuine and personal connection, a story or image to tug at the heartstrings, a simple and clear CTA, and a complete set of pertinent details.
  • Follow email marketing best practices like using A/B testing and segmentation, as well as choosing responsive email designs.
  • Make sure that the donation processes your organization uses is flawless and frustration-free.
  • Consider running a holistic marketing campaign that uses both email marketing and social media strategy. Take advantage of the typical way the day is referred to—#GivingTuesday—and execute hashtag-centric ideas.

Need more guidance to carry out a fundraising initiative through email? Read up on how to plan an engaging Giving Tuesday campaign.

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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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