As the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact individuals, families, businesses and communities, demands for nonprofit services are on the rise. But with social distancing requirements and cancelled fundraising events, many nonprofits are struggling to survive. #GivingTuesdayNow — scheduled for May 5, 2020 — was created as a new global day of giving to help nonprofits raise emergency funds to support COVID-19 relief efforts. This day is in addition to the regularly scheduled #GivingTuesday that follows Thanksgiving each year.
How should your nonprofit participate in #GivingTuesdayNow to achieve maximum impact? These #GivingTuesdayNow tips will help you craft communications that inspire donors to support your mission now.
1. Make it about them, not you.
In the midst of a crisis, it’s easy to focus on what your organization needs to keep its lights on and continue operating. But donors don’t give because of your organizational fundraising goals or operational needs; they give because they want to help real people in your community. As you craft your #GivingTuesdayNow communications, lead with your audience, not your organization. Elevate the individuals, families and communities that depend on you and the life-changing impact your work will have on their lives and livelihoods. Ask your donors and supporters to help them. Including first-person messages and appeals directly from those who have benefitted from your organization can be particularly helpful to paint a clear picture of your impact during this time. Be transparent and detailed about how you will use COVID-19 relief funds to support your community.
2. Approach your donors and supporters as partners.
Rather than begging donors for their support, consider them essential partners in delivering your mission. Show them how their partnership and collaboration can strengthen lives and our community, and make it clear in your communications where they fit in these efforts. By treating your donors as critical collaborators, you will develop a more meaningful relationship with them that inspires continued involvement.
3. Secure a match partner.
A whopping 84% of donors say they are more likely to give to nonprofit organizations if a match is offered, according to Double the Donation. Increase the funds you raise on #GivingTuesdayNow by identifying an existing corporate partner or board member to match the donations you raise on this giving day. This offers your audiences an added incentive to give, knowing their contributions will have double or even triple the impact, up to a specific amount.
4. Give them a reason to feel hopeful.
Let’s face it. Everywhere we turn right now, we’re bombarded with grim news stories and heartbreaking accounts of what’s happening in the world around us. Approach #GivingTuesdayNow from a place of strength by giving your audiences a reason to feel positive and hopeful. Although the needs are great at this moment, connect your donors’ actions now to how their contributions will make our entire community stronger long after this crisis is behind us. While demonstrating a sense of urgency is critical for a successful appeal, so is your opportunity to infuse hope for a better future — to thrive, not just survive.
5. Offer those struggling financially with a way to support you.
Due to job disruptions and lost wages, many people who would typically love to support your nonprofit may be unable to do so right now. While it may not be possible for everyone to make a donation, everyone can use their influence to support your cause. Encouraging certain segments of your supporters to host a Facebook fundraiser on your behalf is a great way for them to make a difference when so much feels out of our control. Learn more about how to ensure your nonprofit is eligible to have supporters fundraise for you on Facebook here.
6. Don’t just ask.
While #GivingTuesdayNow is all about giving, don’t forget to surround every ask you make with authentic cultivation and engagement communications. Sharing stories and reporting back frequently with clarity and accountability is critical to fostering a lasting relationship with your supporters. Just as you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first or second date, you must consider how you communicate with your donors in the same way you would with a valued friend or family member.
7. Remember your staff.
Finally, on #GivingTuesdayNow, consider how you might give back to your staff. As we all work remotely these days, maintaining team morale can be more challenging. Use this day to give them something — an unexpected day off this month, a hand-written note or some other token of your appreciation. Your employees and team members are your greatest assets. During this profound time of challenge, make sure they know just how much you appreciate them.
Jesica D’Avanza, MPA, APR, is an award-winning communications leader who works at the intersection of brand and business strategy to make our world a better place. As owner and chief strategy officer at Round Square, she applies nearly two decades of experience in brand and communications strategy to help nonprofits and mission-driven organizations transform their communications for greater relevance, resonance and results. Her consultancy supports clients across health care, wellness, education, environmental and nonprofit arenas.
Jesica has served in a variety of national communications and marketing leadership roles for organizations like the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida State University and her Accreditation in Public Relations.