While retailers are getting ready for Black Friday, nonprofits are prepping for Giving Tuesday. Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that nonprofits can rally around to boost donations.

Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday that follows Thanksgiving. This year, it’s November 29.

The good news for nonprofits is that Americans seem to be in a particularly giving mood. Americans set a new record for charitable giving last year. Individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations donated an estimated $373.25 billion dollars. It’s the second year in a row for record-breaking giving, according to Giving USA.

Giving Tuesday brought in an estimated $117 million dollars last year, but research suggests that the holiday hasn’t become as popular as the shopping-induced days that surround it. For instance, 93% of consumers are aware of Black Friday, but just 18% are aware of Giving Tuesday, according to the John Templeton Foundation.

How can nonprofits boost awareness of this holiday while increasing donations? The answer: email marketing.

To help nonprofits create email campaigns for Giving Tuesday, we’ll suggest four emails that you can send to encourage donations and give you some pointers to make sure the donation-encouraging day is a success.

4 emails campaigns to send for Giving Tuesday

1. The announcement email

Your donors might not know that your organization is participating in Giving Tuesday, so send an email that announces your involvement. The goal of this email is to simply let subscribers know about the upcoming holiday, and get them ready to donate soon.
Here’s a great example from MAZON:

Things to learn from this email:

  • Explain what and when Giving Tuesday is. As mentioned, awareness of Giving Tuesday isn’t universal so giving a quick definition, like this email does, is a good idea. Of course, mention the date too so donors know when to open their wallets.
  • Reveal your goals. Tell donors what your organization is hoping to accomplish on Giving Tuesday, and tell them what the money will be used for.
  • Provide next steps. Let subscribers know that they’ll receive another email on Giving Tuesday. If you’d like, you can also include a call to action button that directs subscribers to a blog post or infographic about your organization and its Giving Tuesday campaign.

2. The story email

The point of Giving Tuesday is to collect donations, but your donors are more likely to give if there’s a personal element to your campaign. Pick a client that your organization has helped, and share his or her story in an email. It puts a face to your cause, and makes giving more personal.

Here’s an example from Red Cross. The email tells the story of a woman that lost everything in a house fire. This particular email isn’t specific to Giving Tuesday, but it easily could be by adding a mention of the day to the text.

Things to learn from this email:

3. The goal-setting email from the director

To collect donations on Giving Tuesday, consider sending a letter from the director of the organization that outlines the fundraising goal for the day. A letter is another way to personalize the campaign. The director can talk about the organization, the work it does, and explain how much money the nonprofit is looking to raise.

Take a look at the example below from the Academy of American Poets. Again, this particular email isn’t specific to Giving Tuesday, but could be with a few tweaks.

Things to learn from this email:

  • Don’t go for short and snappy. For many emails, the suggestion is to keep the message short and sweet, but it’s the opposite in this case. Take some time to craft an email that explains what your nonprofit does and why donations are so vital.
  • Add a picture. The picture of the executive director in the email example above is a nice touch. Again, it provides a personal connection.
  • Add a graphic. The fundraising graphic on the right side of the email is a great way to display the nonprofit’s fundraising goals visually. Consider something similar in your email.
4. A thank you email

After Giving Tuesday, send an email thanking everyone who donated. In the email, be sure to tell donors how much money was raised, and again, show donors what their contributions will accomplish.

Here’s a thank you email that can be modified to fit Giving Tuesday from UNICEF NZ.

Things to learn from this email:

  • Be specific. This email doesn’t provide a generic thank you message like, “Thanks. Your donation helped kids in need.” Instead, it provides specific details about the use of donations. Do the same with your Giving Tuesday email.
  • Add images. Research shows 79% of readers typically scan content first, so adding images to your email is a great way to grab attention and convince subscribers to take a closer look at your message.

Tips to make Giving Tuesday a success

In addition to sending awesome emails, here are a few tips to make sure a steady stream of donations come in on Giving Tuesday.

Combine email and social

Giving Tuesday is a social holiday. Its creators say the day is “fueled by social media” and designated the hashtag, #GivingTuesday, to the special day.

So, turn to social media to generate some buzz on Giving Tuesday. You can trim down the email content that you write and use those digestible bites of information as social posts.

Use landing pages to drive more donations

Consider directing subscribers to a special landing page that’s specific to Giving Tuesday. The landing page will have a similar look and feel as the email that you created and provide a direct way to make a donation. (Here’s more on how to make emails and landing pages work together.)

Check your online donation process

Online giving is steadily increasing, up 9% from 2014 to 2015, according to Blackbaud. Check your online donation process and make sure it’s easy for donors to click a link in an email and make a donation in a few simple clicks.

Segment your emails

You might have an urge to send every email that you create for Giving Tuesday to every donor. But that’s not the best use of your time. Instead, you should segment your list and create tailored content for each group.

Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

You could vary the donation amount that you ask for if you segment your emails by past contribution activity, for example. The “Large Donor” segment could receive an email that encourages more support than the “Occasional Giver” segment.

Wrap up

Giving Tuesday allows nonprofits to create campaigns that drive awareness and donations. Many organizations see a bump in donations at the end of the year, so this global day of giving comes at a fitting time for nonprofits to market their cause.
Nonprofits that use email marketing to spread the word about their organization on Giving Tuesday can generate much-needed revenue to perform in the new year.

For additional help with email marketing, check out The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Nonprofits.

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