This guest post is by Jen Barth, the Founder and Principal at Big Small Brands, a Portland-based agency designed to build brands of small companies and non-profit organizations. Find out more about her fabulous work here.
With the final weeks of summer officially upon us, our minds shift to the realities of autumn ahead. For non-profit organizations, it is a critical time to finalize end-of-year fundraising plans and to consider ways to maximize year-end giving campaigns. And with #GivingTuesday less than 3 months away (December 1, 2015), August is a great month to reflect, read up, and get ready for an impactful season of donor outreach and engagement.
Are you ready for #GT? Here are 5 simple steps to get you started:
- Draft your #GT dream team
All effective campaigns begin with a passionate leader, so start by identifying someone who can lead your #GT efforts and help track your success throughout the campaign. Your #GT point person can be a staff member, volunteer, consulting partner, or intern. No matter who you choose, they will need a basic understanding of the campaign itself and a passion for using social media to share stories and messages that inspire end-of-season giving. Some terrific resources and tools exist to support your planning efforts, including the Giving Day Playbook and complete Giving Tuesday Toolkits.
In addition to your campaign leader, identify a small team of core social media ambassadors to help jump-start your campaign efforts. Start by assigning specific steps to socially-savvy staff and board members, past donors, and volunteers. This will ensure you are engaging with key influencers in your community right from the start. Planning checklists make it easy to identify discrete tasks for a diverse group of champions, who can multiply the impact of your message throughout the campaign.
- Define your goals, targets, and your overall end-of-year fundraising strategies
For many organizations, well-established plans are already in place. For others, December may not be a focal point of development efforts. If either is true, #GT can still provide an opportunity to try a new approach, test a communications channel, or target a new community of supporters. Some sample goals you might consider for your #GT campaign include:
- Targeting fundraising towards a new or emerging program area
- Reaching out to a new audience demographic you have not previously targeted
- Incenting first-time donors to share your message or increase a previous commitment
- Launching or boosting engagement on a new or emerging social media channel
- Audit and optimize your brand touchpoints
Before you go public with your #GT campaign, take some time to audit your current brand touchpoints. Your #GT campaign will drive traffic to your website to inspire engagement and donations from both existing and potential new donors so consider the following:
- Does your current creative identity align with your broader mission messaging?
- Is your website clear and usable, with easy-to-locate information about the programs and services that donated funds will support?
- Are your donation pages functioning properly?
- Are your internal systems ready to go to support timely donor recognition communications?
- Create shareable content
Today, creating compelling visual content is more critical than ever to encourage engagement and social shares. The #GT site offers many logos and graphics to start with, which you can build on to create a custom media kit for your campaign champions. Beyond the great assets in the general campaign toolkits, consider crafting blog content, sample tweets, videos, or dedicated hashtags that are specific to your mission and message. And be sure to adhere to best practices with your asset creation—check out 5 Tools to Enhance Your Nonprofit’s Visual Assets and this primer on social media image sizes, as well as this helpful infographic on social media fundamentals to get started.
- Start, share & learn
A successful campaign never rests solely on the work of one or two people. As December 1st approaches, turn to your core team, preview your content, and ask them to commit to sharing with their networks in the early days of the campaign to generate initial momentum. Consider incorporating a challenge into your #GT campaign, such as a competition among fundraising teams, offering a special prize or incentive for those who share the message socially, or setting up a time-limited matching gift campaign. And don’t forget to celebrate successes throughout the month to help donors feel recognized and part of the momentum!
You can get some additional inspiration from a series of case studies on the #GT website
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