Tag Archives: #GivingTuesday

It’s Nonprofit Fundraising Crunch Time – 17 Ideas You Can Still Do This Year

Director of Individual Giving - Temple Emanu-El
It’s Nonprofit Fundraising Crunch Time 
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

The next 7+ weeks may make up 30 to 40% of your annual revenue. Here are ideas to help this fundraising crunch time!

#GivingTuesday There are many ways to encourage giving on this day – it is the unofficial start of the giving season so don’t let it pass you by.

  • Use social media to create a campaign
  • Create a match to encourage giving
  • Use it to thank donors who have already given this year
  • Highlight impact
  • Find more ideas by clicking here or Googling #GivingTuesday ideas 2021

Make calls (From you, your board, or your development committee)

  • Call LYBUNTS who gave last year above a certain level
  • Make thank you calls. It’s never too early to start stewardship for next year

Send emails (From you, your Executive Director, CEO or board chair)

  • Solicitations
    • We are all busy during fundraising crunch time but removing donors each time is best practice. If you can’t be consistent about updates (most CRMs will help), acknowledge that if they have already given, it might not have been recorded in the system yet.
  • Updates on the organization
    • Send these to everyone – especially those who gave earlier in the year. This will help with stewardship and offer another way to donate this year (always include a way to give in any email to your list).
  • Updates on giving this year
    • List your fundraising goal.
    • List the number of days until you reach the end of your match.
    • List their previous gifts and what you hope they will give this year.
    • List anything such as what a gift of various amounts will mean or anything you think will encourage someone to hit that donate button.
  • Send reminders
    • Many people wait until the last minute to give. Don’t hold it against them – make it easy for them
  • Send Thank you videos. What you do now will impact how your donors will feel in December.

Send letters

  • You can still squeeze in 2 letters by the end of year. But start planning today.
  • Tip: Use all the ones you are receiving as a template for what you like, what you don’t like, and what yours should look like.

Fundraising crunch time will be busy, but done correctly, it can boost your results significantly.

Are you ready for #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5th?


Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile will know that I have mixed feelings about #givingtuesday. In theory it is good, but in reality, most people are not gaining new donors, stewarding current donors or raising substantial amounts. There are nonprofits who prove all of this wrong, but those are often the ones with staff that can really focus on a #GivingTuesdayNow strategy and calendar. Not just putting up a few social media posts and hoping to raise $100,000.

Maybe I sound too cynical. Why?

  1. It is a good thing to remind people that nonprofits need donations, especially during quarantine. As millions have joined the unemployment rolls, others are making the same salary and their costs have dropped significantly. They, potentially, have more to give right now, if they understand why they want to give.
  • If registered with the organization, The Firespring Foundation is providing matching funds for monies raised during #GivingTuesdayNow.
  • Some people respond to social media posts in the same way others respond to email or letters. As donors, we get to choose our preferences. As fundraisers, we meet donors where they are. Hopefully the combination provides a happy donor and a nonprofit which will be able to stay in business for the long-term.

However, #GivingTuesday and #GivingTuesdayNow are not long-term strategies that will secure your nonprofit for years to come. For that, you need a moves management strategy that takes your donors from acknowledgements to recognition and from stewardship to meaningful engagement.

Whether you participate this week or not, consider your calendar for the next month. A new reality has started to set in and while some people will be struggling financially for some time, others feel lucky that they are not and want to donate. Give these people a reason to contribute to your organization.

15 Holidays You Can Celebrate with Donor Stewardship

Donor Stewardship ImageHolidays come and go. We take days off, we celebrate with friends and family and, hopefully you express appreciation to your community through personalized donor stewardship.  At least, I hope that is what you are doing.

Any holiday can be used as a good excuse to call, send a handwritten note, send an email, highlight a beneficiary, or send a token gift.

But think of the holidays and how they align with your nonprofit.

New Year’s Day?  Talk about your hopes, dreams and resolutions for your nonprofit that you can achieve thanks to their gifts.

Groundhog’s Day?  Consider a cute gif thanking your donors that loops and references the holiday.

Valentine’s Day?  Try a short IPhone video with a beneficiary talking about how much they love the opportunity they were given thanks the donors support. Of course, handwritten valentines from children or chocolates are always nice too.

St. Patrick’s Day?  Send someone a link to a unique piece of Irish music.

Purim?  Arrange for mishloach manot – traditional food and sweets sent to friends and family

April Fool’s Day?  Send a few jokes to make people laugh.

Mother’s Day?  Why not ask a donor to make a donation, to a different organization that helps mothers, in honor of your nonprofit’s donors. Nonprofits acknowledging that the world needs help and we can help in small ways shows you know you are not the only organization in need of support.

My birthday? It should be a national holiday, shouldn’t it? Throw a huge party on May 29th.  Or, you could send a birthday card to your donors in honor of their birthdays. Whatever seems more appropriate.

Father’s Day? There are more and more organizations that focus on the positive role of fathers. Consider sending a list of organizations that you think do wonderful work and need more awareness.

Juneteenth? You may have noticed this holiday auto populate your calendars along with some others you can Google like Holi, Eid al-Adha and Diwali. You are not the only one who has to Google them. Consider giving a little information along with a way in which it connects with your organization. It could be as simple as sending an email that shows your nonprofit prides itself on helping others learn about the world or support people of all faiths.

Halloween? Send images of the things that scare your organization or just send a note thanking them for making every day less scary in your world.

Thanksgiving? Thank your donors. Or offer them ways to be thankful.

#GivingTuesday? This nonprofit celebration can be very useful if you know how to celebrate. Sending emails asking can help. But thanking donors for their giving can go a long way too.

Chanukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa? Each holiday has special traditions that talk about giving, miracles, and supporting each other. Think about how you can do more ask at this time of year. But, make sure you are also asking.

Determine what is right for your organization. If you would like to talk about ways Mersky, Jaffe & Associates can help your nonprofit, email me today.

#GivingTuesday Update – Development is Not Just Fundraising

#GivingTuesday UpdateOn #GivingTuesday I received 20+ solicitations.

On Wednesday, the following day, I received only 2 #GivingTuesday updates.

Only 2 organizations thought I would care about the results?

Here is a list of excuses I have heard from friends, clients, colleagues, and nonprofits around the world as to why they did not send an email letting donors know how much they raised from something like #GivingTuesday or an event:

  • We only reached 70% of our goal (let me know that and why this effort was important- maybe I will still give)
  • I don’t think anyone would notice if we did or didn’t send a #GivingTuesday update (wrong attitude)
  • We are busy writing our end-of-year letter and that has to be the priority (if #GivingTuesday is not important enough to do well, don’t do it)
  • It didn’t occur to us to do that. (that is no longer a good excuse)
  • We don’t really know exactly how much we raised yet (not confidence boosting)
  • _____your excuse here______

While I admit that I do notice details like follow up because of professional curiosity, I also take note because it shows me which organizations understand development is not just fundraising.

Please, please, please keep in mind:

  1. Development is a year-round process that includes asking, acknowledging, thanking, and stewarding donors.
  2. You should not send out a solicitation until you know how you will acknowledge donations, thank donors 7+ times and whether or not you will follow up with non-respondents.
  3. Number 2 includes online and social media solicitations. Basic development rules still apply.
  4. 7+ ways to thank a donor can include an email to everyone with an update
  5. Development is not brain surgery. In fact, most of it is common sense with a bit of creativity to make it applicable to your nonprofit. Sometimes you are not doing it because you just don’t know that it should be done, but if you have read this far, you now know. Follow up with a #GivingTuesday update (it’s not too late!). Follow up for everything. People can hit delete and they can unsubscribe, but the people who care about you won’t. The people who left you were not going to give to you anyway so let them go and focus on your real prospects and donors.

If you want to learn how Mersky, Jaffe & Associates can improve your development plan and stewardship ideas, email me

Maybe I can start a #GivingTuesdayUpdate as a trend for next year.

Want to read more about #GivingTuesday Results? The Chronicle of Philanthropy has a great article about the amounts raised.

Last Minute Ideas for #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday Ideas

I think this #GivingTuesday will look different than previous years.

Many nonprofits will be asking for money and often forgetting basic fundraising rules – you know, like making it about the donor or telling a story.

Instead, consider some ways to up your game during a crowded time period and excite your donors.

  1. Lead up to #GivingTuesday as an event. Remembering that the goal is still to make the day about the donor – not just your nonprofit. What would interest them in a trickle campaign? – How about a “Have a poll/naming game” for a mascot, new lounge or title for a new program? Silliness, creativity, and/or something useless that intrigues people will play well because they know that you are trying to engage them and have fun – not just ask them for money. Announcing the results on #GivingTuesday with an ask will give people a reason to open your email (instead of the 50 other emails and social media asks).
  2. Ask people to give something besides money on #GivingTuesday. Whether you need volunteers to fill backpacks with winter necessities or people to work at an event during the holiday season – asking for something besides donations can be a strong strategy for deepening your donor relationships.
  3. Use peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising. The easiest way for you to get people’s attention might be to ask others to help. Facebook will help by matching donations and eliminating fees, so make a plan to creatively encourage your donors to fundraise on your behalf.
  4. Don’t have your act together for this year? See if you can figure out a giving event in December or even January, that you can promote on #GivingTuesday.
  5. Team up with another nonprofit for a challenge. While in theory, you are all competing for donations, in reality, there is more money being donated than either of you are getting. Embrace the giving season by working together to create something fun, engaging and somewhat connected. It can be a contest to see who can get more people to like a picture, donate a pair of socks (or some other small but valuable to your organization donation that can be given in person or online), or write something nice on an online “wall.” And, you guessed it, the winning organization and the results will be announced on #GivingTuesday.
  6. Thank donors before #GivingTuesday. I worry that nonprofits will have low open rates on the actual day. This is not based on fact, only on the huge number of organizations that will send me emails, social media messages and posts. – Because it’s hard to break through the clutter, you have to be different if you want to stand out. If you are not geared up to do a huge campaign, consider that you can use the time to steward donors and encourage giving during December – when a disproportionate amount of giving takes place. Whether you thank them with a creative email, a small gift or phone call, the point will come across that you are giving on that day and not asking.  While it may be tempting to send that on #GivingTuesday, remember that they will only see the thank you if they open the email and don’t automatically hit delete.

And please let me know what you discover!

Is #GivingTuesday Worth the Effort?


#GivingTuesday gets a lot of hype.

During the first year or two, it seemed like the ideal way for nonprofits to remind the world that giving should be a priority. Creative campaigns were tweeted, emailed, and posted receiving great results.

Then, everyone joined on the bandwagon.

After ten #GivingTuesday emails in an hour, no one organization is standing out and most people are hitting delete before they even see the ask.  Or are they?  The statistics prove that there is a slight surge on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, though only a small increase.

According to Network for Good’s, 2015 Online Giving Trends, 4% of December giving takes place on that Tuesday.  However, there are 5 other days that each represent 4% of year-end giving (or more).  December 1st, 28th, 29th 30th and 31st all fall into that category. In fact, #GivingTuesday is the 6th lowest day of average giving for the month. This year, #GivingTuesday will be in November. One can only wonder if that will offer more opportunities for year-end giving or simply spread it out over a longer period of time.

What does this mean for you? 

  1. Online giving is continuing to have a positive impact on nonprofits.
  2. Email drip campaigns that start in November and continue into December will probably have better results than focusing your efforts on the one competitive day that is #GivingTuesday.
  3. Make sure you are offering a year-end email (or two) during the last 3 days of the month when close to 40% of all gifts are given and the average gift is between $81 to $167 greater than #GivingTuesday.
  4. While the average gift did not vary greatly between mobile and desktop, 97% of people gave on their desktop.
  5. Request recurring gifts in every email. Monthly giving is continuing to rise (see the benefits by reading David’s recent series) so always offer the opportunity and don’t forget to track your results.

And most importantly, make a plan now–some might say you are already late. Create a calendar, write the emails, and schedule them ASAP.  This is too important to leave until last minute; your year-end fundraising success depends on it.

Read previous articles on #GivingTuesday

Follow Up and Acknowledgements for #GivingTuesday Gifts

Making The Most Of #GivingTuesday

A Few Post-Thanksgiving/Pre-Holiday Season Thoughts On Food Waste

dirty dishMost of the readers of this blog celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend – at least the majority of us in the United States. I have faith that most of us shared grateful expressions for the riches in our lives – we are, after all, a community of people who support nonprofits and understand the inequalities of society.

Along with millions of others, I spent weeks reading recipes and ideas about how to make the turkey moist, the multitude of side dishes interesting and the conversation meaningful. However, this year, our conversation changed, thanks to a recent series from one of my favorite nonprofits, WBUR, one of my local NPR stations.

While WBUR offered many sweet (and savory) stories about this holiday, they also produced a series about food waste. As far as I know, the connection between our annual festival of overindulgence and excess and this series concerning the 30% of food wasted up and down the food chain was never clearly stated, but the timing can’t be a coincidence.

I love Thanksgiving and celebrating the holidays with family and friends. But, I think it’s important that we sometimes take a closer look at whether our actions match our ideals. For me, this means examining my waste, sharing the links below to the WBUR pieces about food waste, and offering a reminder that Tuesday is #GivingTuesday and December is, well, the nonprofit’s favorite month of the year.

If you have not yet chosen your charity(s) of choice for your 2014 donations, consider that 1 in 7 families in America are food insecure. There are many worthy organizations in your area that accept food (including those extra cans of cranberry sauce or pumpkin), financial contributions as well as much needed volunteers.

Here are the articles from the series:

To End Food Waste, Change Needs To Begin At Home

Supermarkets Waste Tons Of Food As They Woo Shoppers

Everything But The Squeal: How The Hog Industry Cuts Food Waste *I know that many of our readers keep Kosher and may think this article is not for them but the efficiency in the system is remarkable.

To Stop Picky Eaters From Tossing The Broccoli, Give Them Choices

And, lastly, if you would like to read more about how to take advantage of #GivingTuesday you can find my recent article by clicking here.


Making The Most Of #GivingTuesday

Exactly one month from today – December 2nd – is #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday started in 2012 when a group of visionary nonprofit leaders at the 92Y and the UN Foundation had an idea: to take back the giving season after the shopping binge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. From a couple hundred nonprofits in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown into an international day of giving.  And it has been a boon to nonprofits that know what to do with the opportunity. Now is the time to learn how you can be making the most of #GivingTuesday.

You, and your nonprofit, have the ideal opening to remind donors that the season of giving should be more than flat screen TVs and UGG boots.

Here are 3 ways you can take advantage of the day:

  • Send out emails. Send one on Black Friday with a follow up on #GivingTuesday reminding everyone how their generosity can help you achieve X, Y & Z.
  • Have a phoneathon. A Tuesday night in December is a great night to call previous donors and ask them to consider another gift to your organization. Board members may be more willing to help since it is, in theory, the day to ask. And, if donors don’t want to give over the phone you still have plenty of time to follow up with a letter, an email to ensure an end-of-year gift.
  • Social media blast. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – pick your favorite(s) and start sharing reasons why your organization should be on the top of the donor’s list for Giving Tuesday. You will be competing with a lot of other nonprofits on the same platforms using #GivingTuesday so be sure to give clear, concise reasons why they should support your organization.

The reasons to give to your nonprofit must still be compelling. If not, someone else will be profiting from your reminders that this is the season to give.