Both sides of the coin: the #GivingTuesday guide

Profile picture for user Jacqueline Fassett
By: Jacqueline Fassett | 11.29.16

Nonprofits all over the world are running #GivingTuesday campaigns today. Fueled by social media and the holiday season, Giving Tuesday started five years ago as a way to encourage giving after several consumer-based days in the U.S. (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday).

We know there is a lot of effort from nonprofits to make sure their voices are heard so the best donor relationships can be formed. To help this process along we created a quick guide to help donors and nonprofits find and speak to each other.
Donors can use our four Donor Tips on researching and donating to find a nonprofit that matches their values. On the other side, nonprofits can follow along with the Nonprofit Suggestions to see how they can speak to and attract donors.

1. Donor Tip: Ask the tough questions (about yourself).

What are your values? What are the causes you are passionate about? What type of organization could you see yourself becoming more engaged with?
Make a mental list of those values and causes when researching. Making sure you choose organizations that support your values and a cause that you feel passionate about means you’re also supporting a group of people with your same values and passions.
While listing values can feel like you’re just using inspirational words, those words should be a reflection of yourself and the organizations you’d like to align yourself with. A good example of specific values is sustainable practices and a reputation for excellence. Those values speak to the organization, their employees, and how they’ll use your money.
Nonprofit Tip: Make your values apparent. 
If you don’t have values already listed on your website and hung up in your office, do so soon. Expressing the values of your organization can go farther than just attracting the right donor. It can attract the right volunteer or employee. Your values can and should guide your organization in hiring, decision making, and everyday behaviors.


2. Donor Tip: Do your research.

A quick Google search will provide you with a long list of charities for any given cause but knowing which one will put your money to good use is difficult. Use resources like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar to choose your cause and narrow down your top picks. These sites will provide data on the organization’s contributions, expenses, program overview, and practices. Many of these sites will also include a rating system that can help you determine how you’re considering nonprofits stack up.

If you’re looking to support a local nonprofit, Charity Navigator provides advanced search tools that allow you to choose a cause and narrow down your search to by local area, rating, and expenses.

Nonprofit Tip: Take control of your online presence.
Getting your organization’s name and information online, in a way you can control, is just as important as local word of mouth. Fill out those free profiles on charity ranking websites and make sure they all reflect the same message and lead to your website.

The 2016 Nonprofit Benchmark Study showed that for every 1,000 visitors to a nonprofit website 11 visitors became donors. What’s more, for those 1,000 visitors, donations averaged at $650. With online donations and visits up in 2016, make sure to have your website and databases set up to nurture and engage donors.


3. Donor Tip: Find a story you can connect with.

Can you get behind it? Would you promote it?

While all charity ranking sites can give you a good look at the financial side of a nonprofit, social media will give you a view into the heart of a nonprofit. Read through their website, find them tagged on social sites, and browse their Facebook photos. If you can imagine yourself promoting the organization on your own social networks, attending an event they host, and, of course, donating to the cause, it’s a good fit.

Nonprofit Tip: Focus on your story.
Engaging with your donors goes a long way in promoting your organization. For a digital world, this means crafting great email subject lines, posting heartfelt stories to social media, and maintaining a database of interested donors.


4. Donor Type: Choose a giving type(s).

There’s more to being a donor than pulling out your wallet. Once you’ve found the organization that aligns with you consider other ways to help. Many organizations need not only funds but also volunteers, goods, and promoters. After the cash donation, consider signing up on their website to receive updates on their efforts, like or follow them on social media, and offer your services or time.

Nonprofit Tip: Stay connected with your donors!
Your donors believe in your mission and many of them will continue to help your cause after their first donation. Setting up forms on your website and a donor database to capture their information can help you stay in touch and keep track of how they’d like to support you. This line of thinking is referred to as “moves management”, can help you grow your relationships and organization.


Thank you for your donation!

In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, thank you for supporting organizations that work hard to better our world. If you find you can’t make a decision, in the end, you can always choose from one of the many top ten lists available on Charity Navigator or take a scientific approach with


And to our nonprofit friends, we wish you a great #GivingTuesday!

If you are looking to learn how you can increase donor engagement check out how marketing automation can help your organization in our Marketing Automation for Nonprofits whitepaper.


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