THE BLOG
11/25/2014 12:33 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2015

#GivingTuesday: A Guide for Nonprofits

It's coming up. Every Dec. 2nd, families, students, businesses, and organizations around the world come together for Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back.

All signs suggest that Giving Tuesday is here to stay -- more nonprofits are participating and more people are giving. According to the number crunchers, in 2013 donations were up 90 percent and the average gift was higher by almost $50 compared to the year before. And in terms of reach, the grassroots effort had more than 16,000 partners in the U.S.

Giving Tuesday is about community, and the movement has grown quickly in no small part because people are talking about it. Last year, #GivingTuesday amassed more mentions on social media than Cyber Monday.

For nonprofits, this day has become one of the most important days of the year. So as we approach Dec. 2, non-profit organizations and community groups should ensure that resources are focused on the most important thing: building a community of supporters who will stick with you every other day of the year.

And to accomplish this, you should be considering two things: how to make sure you can get your message out amidst the din and how to translate that momentum into consistent support and engagement every day of the year. Here are the three steps to a successful #GivingTuesday campaign:

1) Identify your crew
Hands down, peer to peer asks are more powerful than organizational asks. Success means you need to identify the supporters who 1) care about you most, 2) are willing to do outreach on your behalf, and 3) have great networks of their own to leverage.

By identifying the individuals who retweet you, recruit for your campaigns, turn people out to your events, and have a lot of influence over their peer groups, you can compose an amazing team prepared to make asks on your behalf this December.

By focusing your outreach on relationships -- real community -- you'll have a better chance to inspire, motivate, and compel people to action every day of the year.

2) Equip the troops
Amazing supporters are only as effective as the tools you give them to succeed. In advance of Giving Tuesday, share stories about your cause and the impact that you're making with your advocates and recruiters, and give them space to share their stories with each other.

Provide them with the tools to personalize their outreach (i.e. text message blasts, 1:1 outreach, social media engagement, etc.), and keep track of their progress with systems that monitor feedback and engagement.

3) Design the path
Donating on Giving Tuesday - or any day -- is more likely if an individual has engaged with you before. And even if a donation is going to be an individual's first interaction with your organization, it shouldn't be their last.

Sit down with your team and identify what an engagement ladder looks like for your organization. What kind of engagement do you want to have with folks throughout the year? Who are those people? What are you going to ask them to do? Identifying these factors is essential to building your community.

The key to success is leveraging your supporters, humanizing your outreach, and investing in purposeful relationships with the individuals that support you -- on Giving Tuesday and every day. Nonprofits that build these engaged communities also master the art of sustained donations, increased visibility, and steady growth in their reach, impact, and ability to serve.

And remember, #GivingTuesday is just another day. The movement has created inertia and motivation, but people don't decide what to support and how to give just because of the holiday, so use this as an opportunity to get to know your supporters and figure out how to compel them to take action, all year long.

To learn more about giving tuesday, check out the how to's at http://nationbuilder.com/givingtuesday or call us for #GivingTuesday office hours.

Hilary Doe
Vice President of Organizing, Nonprofits & Universities
NationBuilder