Wed, November 26 2014

We’re Giving Thanks…For You

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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For the past several months, we’ve been focused on the fourth quarter, getting ready for year-end, and #GivingTuesday. The fourth quarter is a pivotal time of year for organizations that depend on year-end generosity to scale their impact.

Today, we want to take a step back from the coffee-fueled, I’ll-exercise-tomorrow, fourth-quarter craziness, and acknowledge you.

Every day, you dedicate yourself to serving others. Your activities as a fundraiser, service provider, advocate, or researcher are changing lives – and the world is a better place because of you.

At Network for Good, your mission is our passion and, in this week of giving thanks, we want to express our gratitude for your unrelenting passion to improve people’s lives. Thanks for your commitment, and thanks for letting us play a small role in your good work.

Today, we’re thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Network for Good!

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Mon, November 24 2014

Steal this pre-#GivingTuesday Email

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Giving Days •

I know it’s a short week, and we’re all busy prepping for December campaigns so I’ll keep this short: Have you let your donors know that your participating in #GivingTuesday? If not, now is the time to send them a short message. Use this email template as a starting point, include your specific campaign plans, tailor it to your audience, and send it before Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to follow up with a day-of ask on December 2nd!

donor email pre-GivingTuesday

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Thu, November 20 2014

Rallying the Troops: the Staff Plan for #GivingTuesday

Jamie McDonald's avatar

Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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Filed under:   Events • Fun stuff • Giving Days •

Make #GivingTuesday an event for your team, and a win for those you serve.

giving tuesday

In less than 2 weeks it will be December 2nd, and #GivingTuesday will be here. Whether you’ve planned for months or just for a week or two, there’s one more thing you can do to make it a great day for your nonprofit.

Organizations large and small can put their campaigns over the top on #GivingTuesday by creating a “day of generosity” that involves your staff, board, and volunteers. Plan a day of hard-working fun that involves your team in outreach and celebration as you hit milestones toward your goal.

The recommendations below are targeted at a mid-sized organization, so scale the plan for your day up or down to fit your organization’s capacity.

Make it a party!

Set up a #Givingtuesday ‘war room’ so the team is all together in one place. There will be hard work to do and a party atmosphere will make a long day more fun.

Consider these suggestions to elevate the excitement and spur the efforts of your staff and volunteers:

  • Provide special t-shirts, wristbands, hats or other swag if you have it. If you don’t, consider asking each team member to wear something in the colors of your organization’s logo to create that spirit of a team.

  • Have food throughout the day.

  • Have a first gift ceremony, where the team members contribute whatever they can to the campaign and put that total on the board as the “founders” gifts for the campaign.

  • Take an UNselfie of each team member and one of the whole team together and post on social media.

  • Have a visible tally board so everyone can see when you are getting close to key milestones

  • Covering the day

    Your #GivingTuesday staff plan should cover a time period from about 8am to 10pm. The busiest donation periods are likely to be from 9am to 3pm and 7pm to 10pm, and these are the windows when you’ll want the most coverage.

    Suggested staff roles

    Leader Appoint a leader so campaign staff have a single point of contact for questions throughout the day. The leader should have a list of contact information for all staff and partners (include cell phone numbers and email addresses). He or she should be ready to address technology issues should there be problems with your online giving site. Have the phone number of your software provider handy in the event there is an issue. He or she may also be assigned as designated representative to talk with the media if there is press interest in your campaign. The leader (or a designee) should be ready with talking points highlighting the key aspects of the campaign.

  • Thank key partners and sponsors

  • Alert the community to Day-of challenges and contests (especially if they change hourly)

  • Inspire the community with Day-of rewards or incentives

  • Ask the community to GIVE and SHARE

  • Mention the Campaign Hashtag and URL

  • Phone outreach team

    Your phones can be the most powerful weapon on #GivingTuesday. You can organize an actual phone-a-thon of sorts, reaching out to supporters to thank them for past generosity and invite them to join your #GivingTuesday campaign. At a minimum, you should reach out to board members, key friends of your organization, and active volunteers to enlist their participation as givers or sharers.

    Donor support

    Assign one or more people to be available to answer questions from donors should they arise.

    Social outreach staff

    The social team will be the ambassadors of excitement for the campaign. They will focus on:

  • · Building excitement by posting content to social media channels.

  • Engaging with followers, fans, tweets.

  • Promoting key milestone content such as Goal Updates, Prize winners, media coverage.

  • Alerting other staff to any social postings related to issues or questions.

  • Forwarding any social postings from the media to the team leader.

  • Volunteer Event coordinator

    If your nonprofit is hosting a hands-on service event for #GivingTuesday, the volunteer service coordinator should be part of the war room team. Ask them to provide photos, quotes, and results from the volunteer activity that can be shared with potential supporters online and in email.

    Work hard, have fun, focus on your goals, and it will be a great #GivingTuesday!


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    Wed, November 19 2014

    How Did You Handle…? 3 Examples of Change Ups for 2014 Year-End Campaigns

    Nancy Schwartz's avatar

    Nonprofit Marketing Expert

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    Filed under:   Giving Days • How to improve emails and newsletters • Marketing essentials •

    This post is the first in our new How Did You Handle…? Series—specific how-tos based on YOUR experiences.Please watch for our requests to share your wins, challenges and recommendations. YOU are the best trainers there are!

    Year-End fundraising tops most organizations’ “must do, every year” list, but it’s challenging both to figure out how to do it differently but better and to get approval for a fresh approach for a campaign that’s so vital.

    But case studies from colleague organizations commonly work as a calming balm for anxious decision-makers afraid to deviate from the norm (even when that norm isn’t working so well). Here’s what some of your peers are trying this year, with early results where available:

    1. Change Up: Revising campaign tone and content—to be more direct, frank and engaging. For example, we’re showing results of donor generosity (rather than talking about them) and sharing organizational changes in progress as a result of grant guidelines.

    Goal: We’re hoping to open up an active conversation with donors and prospects by inviting them into our organization! Our goal is to have these folks contact us with questions or suggestions.

    Results to Date: Many donors have already contacted me to share appreciation for the more friendly and inclusive messaging. Several of them requested permission to share content from our year-end newsletter in their own communities (thus increasing our reach).

    Others got in touch to share ideas or offer their assistance to tackle some of our organization’s concerns. That’s exactly the kind of response we’re looking for—stronger, closer relationships!

    Source: Todd McPherson, Inter-Faith Community Services

    2. Change Up: Participating in #GivingTuesday for the first time plus, beefing up our online and monthly giving options.

    Goal: I (the Executive Director) introduced these changes to my board. I became aware of #GivingTuesday last year at the last moment, so investigated and proposed to our board that we make an effort this year to use this to kick off our December campaign this year.

    I also hoped to motivate other charities in the area to participate in #GivingTuesday, so we’d all get more attention.

    Results to Date: I’m still trying to persuade other local charities to participate in #GivingTuesday with us but have not been able to get them to understand the significance. We have decided to lead by example and hope they join us next year.

    TBD on the campaign itself.

    Source: Bob Stephenson, Executive Director The Literacy Coalition

    3. Change Up: Personalizing our year-end content (and segmenting our list accordingly)

    We’ll feature the story of one of our beneficiaries in the same state as the donor or prospect receiving the direct mail letter, to strengthen the connection between that donor/prospect and our impact.

    Goal: We have read that relevancy/segmentation will increase the number and dollar value of gifts.

    NOTE from Nancy: Personalization/segmentation is powerful when you can connect with what’s top of mind for your prospect or donor. If you can discuss state specific challenges likely to be known of and/or experienced by your prospects and your featured beneficiary, that’s golden!

    Results to Date: Drops the first week of December!

    Source: Emily Behan, Development Coordinator Community Solutions

    What are YOU changing in this year’s year-end campaign? Please share your new approach with us!

    With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at

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    Tue, November 18 2014

    7 Steps to Social Success on #GivingTuesday

    Jamie McDonald's avatar

    Chief Giving Officer, Network for Good

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    Filed under:  

    Your #GivingTuesday campaign will depend on SHARING.

    Sharing can happen through many channels: email, in person events, volunteer activities, and phone outreach. But today we are focusing on social media sharing.

    #GivingTuesday is an inherently social event – a big, exciting, international party for generosity – and you’re invited! Now is the time to take a look at each of your social channels and get them ready for #GivingTuesday.


    7 steps you can get done today:

    1. Brand your channels. If you have created special visuals for your #GivingTuesday campaign, be sure that the images are used as backgrounds or cover photos for your various social channels.

    2. Engage social followers. Begin to communicate regularly with your social followers with #GivingTuesday focused posts. Posts with images perform better, so either post with your own campaign images, or tap into the rich resources at the national #GivingTuesday campaign.

    3. Provide ready resources. Provide cut-and-paste posts, tweets and images to your board, staff, clients and volunteers so they can amplify your messages and build excitement through their channels. Their personal sharing is the most effective way to reach new and lapsed supporters.

    4. Get people involved with #UNSelfies. Ask supporters to post a “unselfie” naming your organization. You can print out the template here and other #GivingTuesday graphic resources here.

    5. Plan for the big day. Improve your chances of driving social sharing by creating a simple communication plan for Monday, December 1st and #GivingTuesday, December 2nd. At a minimum, we recommend:

    · A plan to arm ambassadors with pre-prepared posts, Tweets and visuals on Monday and hourly on #GivingTuesday.

    · On #GivingTuesday, send at least one email (a second email could be sent after you reach your goal). Share updates on social channels as you reach key milestones, such as 30%, 60%, 80%, 90%, and 100% of goal.

    · Plan 2-3 Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram posts throughout the day, and 8-10 Twitter posts.

    · Prepare thermometers and other visual elements in advance so you will have them ready to share.

    6. Activate volunteers. If you are having a volunteer event, be sure to take ask participants to tweet and post pictures from the activity and a link to your donation page. In addition to a volunteer service day, phone-a-thons and tweet-a-thons are popular ways to incorporate volunteers into your #GivingTuesday.

    7. Thank and celebrate. Thanks, appreciation and celebration go a long way on a big day like #GivingTuesday. Thank those who donate, volunteer, and spread the word for you throughout the day with shoutouts that tag supporters. (Please be careful not to name a supporter that has asked to remain anonymous.)

    BONUS: Grab a copy of our sample social media messages for #GivingTuesday. You can use these to update your followers leading up to and during your campaign.


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