True confessions. I’m not a huge fan of #GivingTuesday. I know. I know. Hear me out, though. I have two main issues. First, why do nonprofits have to go last … after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Chances are good (or bad) your donors have already blown their discretionary income on tablets, TVs, sheets, children’s apparel, and video gaming! Second, I don’t like the idea of #GivingTuesday cannibalizing the end-of-year fundraising campaign into which you’ve poured your heart and soul for the past few months.

That said, #GivingTuesday has grown into a force to be reckoned with – one nonprofits simply can’t ignore. Last year alone, 1.64 million gifts were bestowed upon nonprofits on #GivingTuesday, totaling $177 million in online donations. So, like me, you probably ought to jump on the #GivingTuesday bandwagon, and enjoy the ride.

Granted, there’s nothing you can do to change the date. However, you can keep it from eating away at your end-of-year campaign by making it part of your overall EOY plans. Kick off end-of-year fundraising with #GivingTuesday, and keep the theme/messaging/branding consistent from Tuesday, November 28 through the end of December. And, you can also do a few things right now to ensure your donors have a positive giving experience, throughout.

Take a Walk in Your Donors’ Shoes

What better way to understand the donor journey than to take it yourself? Conduct a technology audit, and ask your board members, dedicated volunteers, staff, family members, friends, etc., to conduct one, as well, and then gather their honest feedback.

Journey, just as your donors do, from email and snail mail content through your website, online donation form, thank you, and follow-up.  As you conduct your audit, ask yourself:

  1. Is my nonprofit’s communication focused on the donor?
  2. Is the branding engaging and cohesive? Are offline and online aligned?
  3. Was it easy to give offline and online alike?
  4. What were my gut reactions to the donation form?
  5. How quickly is a tax-deductible receipt and/or thank you note received?
  6. Was the donation more like the start of a courtship or an uninspiring first date? Why?

Once you gather feedback, identify where changes can be made, and then make them. Don’t forget to perform a post-test once improvements are in place.

Optimize Your Forms

If you discover during your tech audit that your online forms are a bit clunky, you’re not alone! In fact, its reported that nearly half of donors give up before they’ve made a donation, because the process isn’t intuitive or engaging.

Taking these simple steps will go miles toward a positive donor experience:

  • Reduce the number of necessary clicks to donate. (You lose 7+ percent of donors with each click.)
  • Keep your donation form short – the shorter the better.
  • Provide suggested giving amounts ($50, $100, $250, $500), so your donors can simply check a box.
  • Offer not only various donation levels, but also show the impact of each amount (for example, provides school supplies for five children; rescues three animals from crisis situations).
  • Create a strong, single call to action. (Complete this form – don’t ask for anything else!)
  • Create a unique experience for each campaign (branding, language, photos, etc.)

#GivingTuesday is here to stay! So, do everything you can to ensure your donors stay for this year’s event, and beyond. How are you preparing for #GivingTuesday? Would love to hear from you!