After what seems like an endless summer, fall is finally here! The leaves are changing color and crunch underfoot outside, the weather is getting cooler, and trick-or-treaters are getting ready for Halloween tonight. And that means #GivingTuesday is creeping up! #GivingTuesday is under a month away, on November 28th. And for some Halloween fun that will help you get ready for the big day, we’re counting down the top 5 scariest #GivingTuesday mistakes your nonprofit can make.
1. Forgetting to register
The most terrifying #GivingTuesday mistake you can make? Not registering! If you don’t register for #GivingTuesday on Mightycause, you’ll miss out on one of the biggest #GivingTuesday parties on the internet. Mightycause is also offering exclusive access to our new Premium fundraising tools that will help your nonprofit go bigger. Just a sample of the features you’ll gain free access to for #GivingTuesday:
- Data Connect. Our new data integration tools will make it easy for you to move the new donors you gain on #GivingTuesday to MailChimp, Constant Contact, Salesforce and more.
- Supporters pages. We’ll create a donor record for each and every donor who contributes through your Mightycause page on #GivingTuesday, helping your nonprofit track and engage your donors better.
- Advanced analytics. Impress your board of directors with your slick reporting … that you can pull from the advanced analytics on your Mightycause page. We’ll calculate your donor retention rate, average donation, number of unique donors and more so you can spend less time playing with spreadsheets and more time fundraising.
- Custom Donation Pages. Upgrade your dusty old widget with a slick custom donation page you can embed on your website.
Now, keep in mind that your nonprofit must register for #GivingTuesday every year … so even if you participate in last year’s event, you still need to register! Don’t get caught with egg on your face by neglecting to register!
2. “Field of Dreams” fundraising
What’s “Field of Dreams” fundraising? Well, simply put, it’s the assumption that “If you build it, they will come.“
This is one of the biggest general fundraising mistakes a nonprofit can make. But on a big day like #GivingTuesday? It can be fatal. Having a successful #GivingTuesday requires so much beyond registering and building your Mightycause page. You have to get the word out. You’ll have to engage your supporters. And you’ll need a plan to capture new supporters. And you have to commit to developing a solid campaign and marketing it.
If your nonprofit just builds a #GivingTuesday page and hopes for the best, odds are, no one will come. Because they don’t know about it. So, if you’re a little behind and want to know what you can do to put together a solid #GivingTuesday campaign on short notice, sign up for our webinar on short-term planning!
3. Not engaging peer-to-peer fundraisers
Peer-to-peer fundraising and #GivingTuesday go hand in hand. Peer-to-peer fundraising entails leveraging your existing supporters to bring new supporters into the fold. On #GivingTuesday, this is critical. You have a limited amount of time to make an impact and solicit donations … and peer-to-peer fundraising puts more boots on the ground. And it also gives you access to people you would not be able to solicit directly.
But even beyond that, peer-to-peer fundraising gives your biggest supporters a meaningful way to engage with your organization. And, for that reason, many of your supporters will be more than happy to fundraise for you on #GivingTuesday. It’s an easy, fun way for highly engaged volunteers, board members and staff to get involved.
So it’s a huge mistake not to take advantage of peer-to-peer fundraising. You’ll be missing out on new donors, new support, new email addresses to add to your list and a change to engage your existing supporters.
Need more proof of the power of peer-to-peer? Learn how one nonprofit used a peer-to-peer campaign to crush the competition during #GivingTuesday 2016.
4. Making one appeal to all of your donors
Your donors are individuals. They all came to your nonprofit in different ways. They have personal connections to the work you do for different reasons. And they engage with your nonprofit’s work differently. Some have given once, in small amounts. Other give monthly. Others are major gift donors, volunteers, board members, people who have used your services. So … why would you talk to them as if they’re all the same?
Sending out one appeal to everyone is a massive mistake. Imagine sending an appeal asking for a $25 donation to a major gift donor! Or sending an email to one of your best volunteers like you don’t even know who they are. There’s so much potential for gaffes when you’re sending out one appeal, and your supporters can tell that it isn’t a direct appeal to them. People are more likely to donate when they feel like they’re being spoken to personally. This goes beyond adding First Name fields to your subject line. Segmenting your email lists and making your appeals specific to the supporters you’re sending them to will help you see greater returns.
So, think through the different kinds of supporters your nonprofit has. Board members, volunteers, major gift donors, one-time donors, supporters who have never donated. Start splitting them up and crafting appeals (with appropriate asks) that speak directly to them. And don’t be afraid to send out personal emails or even make phone calls to those crucial major gift donors to ask them for their support.
5. Failing to follow up
#GivingTuesday is one day, but a successful campaign can lift up your nonprofit long after it’s over. Each new donor you acquire is an opportunity to create a beautiful relationship with a new supporter. And each returning donor is an opportunity to build an even deeper connection with that person. But if you fail to follow up with your supporters after #GivingTuesday, you’re squandering those opportunities. And, even worse, you run the risk of losing valuable support.
Follow up doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it does need to happen. It can be as simple as an email, a shoutout on social media, a handwritten card or a phone call. You could even create a welcome packet for new donors to welcome them to your organization (and increase the odds that they will come back to make a second donation). But rather than making the mistake of allowing #GivingTuesday to end on November 29th, you should consider it an opportunity to create lasting relationships with new donors … and keep the ones who’ve come back to support year active and engaged.