If you are a strong believer in “relationship fundraising,” which I have been ever since reading the classic and game-changing book written by my friend Ken Burnett decades back, then you might have been skeptical about raising money through and on #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday may sound a bit gimmick like, but has proven to be effective for many reasons.

Let’s begin by making sure everyone knows just what #GivingTuesday is. Their website defines it in the following way:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

You can learn more by watching their video below:

Why were many fundraisers skeptical?

The whole concept of a special day of giving seems to fly in the face of long term relationship building in the traditional manner. You know, where you use various communications methods and efforts to truly get to know the donor and turn them into a long-term multi-year giver. Such relationship building often has the added bonus of leading to legacy giving.

Spending a large amount of staff time on this one day of giving seems to ring of trying to usher in another special event versus staying with the tried and true relationship nurturing process.

All of us in fundraising know the concerns special events raise, such as devouring staff time, loads of last minute details and often the lack of ability to even break even when comparing dollars raised to expenses incurred. They are also the bastion of a large percentage of one-time donors.

Top of the Funnel

#GivingTuesday should be considered a large generator of new first-time donors. In the vernacular of marketing they are leads coming in at the “top of the funnel” to be converted into long-term customers.

The new donors generated from #GivingTuesday are not bidding at an auction or supporting a table captain or purchasing a raffle ticket like so often happens at most events. They are actually making an outright donation to a cause they have some sort of passion for.

Huge difference!

Because of this difference they should be treated like a special asset to be treasured. Their potential to be long-term donors is there because of how they gave. However, to be successful in retaining them it will require proper communications and follow-up. Keep two key words in mind: nurture and personalization

Every fundraiser and nonprofit executive knows what these two words entail. Now they just need to have a plan to spring them into action.

Maximizing your nonprofit’s presence

In order see the highest number of #GivingTuesday donors, you and your charity must stand out from the crowd. Spreading the word that you are embracing #GivingTuesday can be done in various ways. My three personal favorites are:

  • Become the “Go To” Person about #GivingTuesday in your community
  • Be active in Social Media about #GivingTuesday
  • Inform your current prospects and donors to reach out to others

John F. Kennedy was correct

The best summary reason I can describe for embracing #GivingTuesday is this famous idiom by Kennedy: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The more excitement and communications, in general that all of us in the nonprofit world generates, the larger the number of “top of the funnel” potential multi-year donors we will see.

It will then be those who are best prepared who turn those new donors into multi-year or even lifetime donors! All of us know what that means to our missions.

What are your #GivingTuesday plans? Let me know in the comments below!