The Growing Impact of #GivingTuesday: Strategies for Success

In 2014, a collective 30,000 nonprofits, corporations, community groups and government agencies across 68 countries participated in Giving Tuesday, and that number is expected to grow this upcoming December. What started out as a social media phenomenon has transformed into a massively successful day of giving – of millions of people choosing to open their hearts, reach into their pockets and make contributions to the causes that matter to them. From a numbers standpoint, Giving Tuesday has seen double-digit year-over-year growth in donations since its inception in 2012, signaling an important trend that has guided the marketing strategies of nonprofits moving towards their big yearend push.

Giving Tuesday presents a variety of valuable opportunities for nonprofit organizations to engage their already loyal donor audience, while expanding their universe to build new relationships. From heightened brand awareness, to increased social media engagement and a general influx of potential donors into the marketing funnel, organizations have begun to utilize Giving Tuesday as an important tie in to their end of year campaigns. The most important week for shopping has had a tremendous influence on what is now, a significant opportunity for giving. In tandem with our Paid Media teams, we have identified some important retail statistics that may likely influence consumer donating, spending and engagement across the channels during 2015.

Retail: In 2014, 45% of online traffic occurred on a mobile device, and that number is expected to increase to approximately 56% this year.

Nonprofit: According to Blackbaud, approximately 17% of all #GivingTuesday donation forms were viewed via a mobile device in 2014, and Classy, a nonprofit fundraising platform, identified that 39% of all traffic from last year’s Giving Tuesday occurred on mobile.

What does this tell us?

The consumer-driven screen shift is having a substantial impact on all industries, including nonprofit. Mobile traffic continues to increase, and while actual conversions are slower in progression, marketers can have a strong influence on consumer purchase and donation decisions through consistent engagement on mobile.

Retail: Consumers started their “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” search queries much earlier in 2014 over the previous year. The steadiest increase occurred during the first weeks of November, signaling the need for marketers to ensure maximum visibility of their websites, products and campaigns early on.

Nonprofit: Much like shoppers begin their search for top holiday promotions, those looking to donate have increasingly done so between the months of October and December. Donors are on the lookout for #GivingTuesday, both on social and Google/Bing, well in advance of December 1st in order to identify the causes they’re most passionate about before Giving Tuesday arrives.

What does this tell us?

Nonprofit marketers can leverage the #GivingTuesday hashtag not only in their Twitter or Facebook campaigns, but also across traditional search. Ensuring that your organization has a strong association and clear strategy with the hashtag is critical in the important months leading up the December 1. For more established nonprofits, it will help donors to more easily identify your campaigns, and for newcomers to Giving Tuesday, it gives your organization an extra boost in visibility to new donor audiences that you might not have reached before.

Many nonprofits have already begun warming up their active and prospective donors through various channels. The #GivingTuesday hashtag has been trending over the past few weeks, and several groups have already set up a dedicated landing page for Giving Tuesday donations. With such close proximity to the most important online selling day of the year, nonprofit marketers can actually leverage a lot of similar strategies that retailers develop for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Based on the above statistics, let’s take a deeper look at some additional ideas for preparation, execution and optimization of campaigns that can help drive a more successful Giving Tuesday:

Ensure an Easy Mobile Experience:

Like any mobile shopping experience, the process of donating via a mobile device should be an easy, seamless process. With traffic surging, donors are spending increasing amounts of time on their mobile devices, learning, researching and engaging with brands. Your content, specifically information on your website, should be easily digestible on a mobile screen. Even more importantly, donors will expect the giving transaction to be as simple as just a few clicks or swipes on their smartphones. It is absolutely critical to have your organization’s site optimized for mobile, paying careful attention to the ‘checkout’ page where people opt to make their donation choices.

Compel & Connect Through Social Video:

Social media has become one of the most important venues for marketers to engage their audiences, particularly because of the unbeatable reach and hyper-personalized targeting capabilities. We have all heard the statistic that Facebook receives 4 billion video views per day, making it one of the most effective platforms for reaching people through creative, visual storytelling. It’s no secret that stories told through video form a substantial connection between people and brands, perhaps more than any text ad or word-based campaign. Though video content requires more time and resources, they are more likely to spark the emotional response that urges someone to take action. During the holidays, people are looking to connect through shared stories and experiences, and so nonprofits should tune into that holiday spirit. Now is the time to get creative with the ways you portray your message and cause. Consider getting donors involved by sharing their own videos that discuss why they’re passionate, and weave them into your story. This might be particularly effective for reaching younger donor audiences, typically the more challenging demographic for nonprofits.

Think Donors-First

Considering the unsettling trend of ad blocking, ensuring that the user (or donor) experience is both compelling and genuine is critical to maintaining relationships. Giving Tuesday and the weeks leading up the event shouldn’t focus solely on “making the ask”. Rather, this time should be focused on celebrating your donors and engaging them through relevant, targeted content. Tailoring your campaign based on what you know of your donors – like their most important causes, lifestyles, professional or personal passions – will help your audience to feel that their contributions are appreciated and that their impact is vast. As mentioned in the previous section, a strategy that involves donor-created content will also help them to feel like their voices are being heard. During the holidays, people already have their wallets open and ready, but being sincere in the approach is key.

Looking for more insight into a successful 2015 holiday strategy? Check out these posts in our Holiday Planning Series: A Look Into Holiday 2015, Tips to Ramp up Your SEO & Content Plans for Holiday 2015, Consumers Ready for Full Inboxes During This Holiday Season, Will 2015 Be The Most Social Shopping Season Yet?, Q4 Holiday Tune Up’s

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