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How to Make Each Year’s Giving Day Better Than The Last

Posted June 24, 2016 by Virginia Davidson

Participating in a 24-hour online giving day event such as #GivingTuesday or Give Local is a great opportunity for non-profits of all sizes to attract brand-new donors. While it’s important to plan ahead for your giving day to ensure its success, it’s just as important that you take time to plan beyond that twenty-four hour flurry of donations. With a great post-giving day plan in place, you can both retain those first-time donors and amplify their support for your next giving day!

Think of your giving day as the beginning of your organization’s relationship with these first-time donors. What does it take to get the relationship off to a great start? You need to help these new donors get to know your organization, keep in touch, and keep them interested! Here’s how:

Get ready to contact your donors:

If your giving day is hosted by another organization, like a community foundation, make sure you know how to download donor information. If you’re hosting your own event through a crowdfunding platform, ask how—and what—information you’ll have access to. Some companies will only provide you with name and email address, so plan accordingly. And, make sure you allot time for getting those donor and gift details into your database!

Say thanks:

Check with the hosting organization in advance to determine what communication they’ll be sending to donors. If your giving day was managed by a community foundation, the donors will receive a tax receipt from the foundation. Nonetheless, your non-profit should still send a prompt, specific thank you letter to your giving day supporters. Address the donor by name, reference their support of your giving day, and let them know how the donation will be used. Note that if they received a tax acknowledgment from the hosting organization, you should not include tax language in your letter. Donors will especially love receiving a donor-centered thank you!

If you have access to phone numbers and enough staff members or volunteers to do so, consider calling your donors to say thanks, too.

Tip: Segment your thank you mailing. For brand-new supporters, include some impact stories or a welcome packet to help them get to know your organization better. For donors who have contributed in the past, thank them for their continued support.

Report back:

Send a follow-up communication a few months later to report on how the funds have been used. Share the stories of how the giving day funds are having an impact. Make a point to collect images that can be used in your communications to illustrate the impact of the giving day support.

Get to know your donors:

Thanks to your post-event communications, you’ve given donors the opportunity to get familiar with your organization and feel great about all that their donation has made possible. Now it’s time for you to get to know them. Reach out and ask them to share what inspired them to support your organization. You can build a simple web-form for this purpose, and use the information you gather for donor spotlights in an upcoming newsletter or social media post.

Tip: Get a jumpstart for next year! You can repurpose these donor profiles and incorporate them into your promotions for your next giving day. In the weeks or months leading up to next year’s giving day, include a donor snapshot in your social media posts. Consider using a photo related to your mission and adding a donor’s message to that photo. Hearing why people support your organization’s giving day will inspire new donors to give, too!

Looking for a few more ideas? Learn how to retain donors after a giving day by following a comprehensive follow-up plan.

By taking the time to build a strong relationship with your first-time donors, you can count on their support again. Next year’s giving day will be here before you know it!

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