With the holidays on the horizon, it’s a busy season for churches. Your leadership and staff are planning for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2017 pledge and giving campaigns. However, another charitable movement you may want to plan for is Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday), which is November 29, 2016.
Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following the shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Powered by social media, collaboration, and generosity, Giving Tuesday is a great way to kick off your church’s charitable giving season.
Why Giving Tuesday
Founded in 2012, Giving Tuesday has gained steam in the last four years as online giving, text giving, and social media permeate our culture. According to GivingTuesday.org, 2015’s Giving Tuesday raised over 116.7 million dollars, reaching around 700,000 online donors who contributed an average online gift of $107.
Even if your church encourages and promotes online giving throughout the year, Giving Tuesday can jumpstart your holiday giving season. In 2016, both November and December have four Sundays. Christmas and New Year’s Day both occur on Sunday, which may affect church service attendance and in-person gifts. Giving Tuesday is a way to potentially meet yearly gift goals, and you could even look at it as a “fifth Sunday” during the holiday season.
Planning for Giving Tuesday
Since Giving Tuesday’s momentum is online, focus your efforts on email, texts, and your church’s social media accounts. The easiest way to do this is by creating content that you can share across each social media outlet. Here are some tips for developing calls to action for Giving Tuesday:
- Share unique and engaging stories to inspire donors. When prospective donors see how their dollars make a difference, they are more likely to give. Consider enlisting church leaders to share how donations have helped fund programs within your church, improve facilities, or provide aid to the needy.
- Take photos and videos. Facebook and Twitter posts with photos and videos are viewed and shared 2-3 times more than posts without them. You can also post short videos on Instagram and SnapChat. When someone shares your content on social media, their social network sees it, increasing your church’s visibility to potential visitors and donors.
- Use the #GivingTuesday hashtag in every post. When you include the hashtag, anyone who follows, searches for, or clicks on that hashtag can see your posts. This lets donors know you’re part of the movement and may help you acquire new donors.
- Think outside of the box and include a link to give as many places as possible. Create a Donate button on your church’s Facebook page. Instagram allows you to place one link in your biography, so use it to link directly to your church’s online giving website. Twitter limits users to 140 characters per tweet, but you can use URL shorteners like bit.ly to place links in your tweets.
Even if you expect most donations to come through mobile or online giving, don’t ignore the old-fashioned calls to action. You can promote Giving Tuesday several weeks before in your church’s bulletin or email newsletter, and remember to remind everyone on Sunday morning.
After Giving Tuesday
It’s a good idea to reflect on how your Giving Tuesday campaign went (as well as any other giving campaign). Meet with your leadership team and financial administrators to discuss how much you raised on Giving Tuesday, identify strengths and weaknesses, and plan for next year. You can use the reports in ACS for Windows, Access ACS, PDS, and Realm to present your data to the team.
Most importantly, tell your donors how much they’re appreciated. Post a message thanking donors on every social media platform you used on Giving Tuesday and use the #GivingTuesday hashtag. You can also thank donors individually on social media, but thank them as a whole from the pulpit and in your church’s bulletin, blog, or newsletter. Let donors know how much money was raised and how their contributions made a difference in your church.
To learn more about Giving Tuesday and sign up to join the movement, visit https://www.givingtuesday.org/.