November 12, 2021

Giving Tuesday Tips

This content was previously published by iModules, now part of Anthology. Product and/or solution names may have changed

This year’s Giving Tuesday will be unlike any other; however, Giving Tuesday will still provide an opportunity to encourage graduates to support your institution.

Below are some quick tips for this year’s Giving Tuesday!

1. Focus on students and show impact

This year, more than any other, putting the emphasis on support of students is critical. In a recent survey, 63% of donors indicated that they are interested in supporting a student emergency fund, while 48% expressed interest in supporting the annual fund to help offset institutional costs related to the pandemic. This highlights the strong interest in supporting current students. Be sure to show the impact of support in your communications and on social media leading up to and on Giving Tuesday.

2. Make giving as easy as possible

Review your giving process and remove any extraneous steps or fields from the giving form for Giving Tuesday and similar short-term focused campaigns. The longer a form, the less likely donors will be to complete their gift. Also, take advantage of integration with email systems to populate donor information on the giving form, including address information, as well as gift amount and potentially designation based on their preferences.

3. Consider gamification, but avoid goals

There is still an opportunity to build excitement for your Giving Tuesday campaign. Using indicators to show progress is a great way to encourage participation as donors can see the impact that they are having. In addition, other features like a state map that fills in as donors make a gift from the various states adds an additional visual component to the page while also encouraging participation. While in other years, showing progress toward a goal may have led to more gifts, this could be a double-edged sword this year. First, there is uncertainty about how much support higher education institutions will receive making it challenging to set a goal, and perhaps more importantly, setting a goal in the current environment may cause frustration among potential donors.

4. Review communication strategy

Institutions have seen success with Days of Giving throughout the pandemic, often exceeding previous year totals. However, the pandemic has impacted many graduates – nearly 30% of recent graduates reported that they or someone in their household has been laid off or lost their job during the pandemic in a recent survey. Messaging should take that into consideration, focusing on giving any amount makes a difference. Additionally, institutions should review the number of communications being sent on Giving Tuesday, with a goal of potentially reducing volume. Segmentation will be the key to success for Giving Tuesday this year – the more personal the message can be, the more likely donors will support the institution. Moreover, institutions should determine whether there are graduates to exclude from solicitations, such as individuals who have never given, the most recent class of graduates, or individuals who have not engaged within the institution over the past several years. Finally, social media is a key element of any successful Giving Tuesday push. Lead up to Giving Tuesday by promoting participation in social channels and building engagement.

5. Assess data and adjust approach

As mentioned, Giving Tuesday this year will be different. It’s going to be more important than ever to review data quickly and adjust communication strategies. By looking at open rates, click-to-open rates and conversions on emails, you can assess what populations are responding to the campaign (by class year, decade, or other demographic) and refine follow-up communications going out later in the day. The data may also indicate a group to segment communications to more specifically.

6. Recruit ambassadors

Perhaps more important than ever are ambassadors to help you spread the word about Giving Tuesday on social media. Peer-to-peer messaging should be a key part of your Giving Tuesday approach, so spend time now recruiting alumni to help spread the word. Include the ask in the next newsletter, look at who’s active on social, or use engagement data to identify those already highly engaged with your institution to help with ambassador identification.

7. Plan ahead

Know who on the team is doing what well in advance of Giving Tuesday, especially given that many of us will be working remotely. Set up checkpoints throughout the day with the broader team to share information with each other. Map out as much as possible in advance so everyone is on the same page and knows how they can help Giving Tuesday be successful!

With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful Giving Tuesday this year.

Headshot of Mirko Widenhorn, Ed.D.

Mirko Widenhorn, Ed.D.

Senior Director of Engagement Strategy

Mirko Widenhorn, Ed.D., is senior director of engagement strategy at Anthology. Widenhorn joined the Anthology team in 2013, bringing more than 11 years of higher education experience to the organization. Prior to Anthology, he was the director of alumni relations and annual giving at Wilkes University. Now serving as the senior director of engagement strategy, he works closely with clients on engagement scoring, while also focused on thought leadership for higher education. Widenhorn is a Drew University graduate and completed his Ed.D. in higher education administration at Wilkes University, focusing on whether giving differs based on participation in different types of alumni programming.