After Giving Tuesday: To Year-End And Beyond

You’ve wrapped Giving Tuesday, now what?

Giving Tuesday is the global day of giving, kicking off the giving season. This week on The Responsive Weekly, Katie Golland of Classy joined us to share top tips for transitioning into your year-end campaign.

Watch the Full Recording Here

Top Takeaways

  • Giving Tuesday brings in new donors, make sure you thank and welcome them before dropping them into your regular campaign communications.
  • Consider offering launching a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign as the next suggestion for Giving Tuesday donors. A donor acquired on Giving Tuesday is three to four times more likely to fundraise on behalf of your organization!
  • Update your Giving Tuesday donation and landing pages to be more in line with your year-end branding, but keep the original source codes on your URL, so you can track where donors came from.
  • Streamline your payment processing by accepting many kinds of digital payments

Episode Transcript

Megan Donahue:

Hello everyone and welcome to the Response of Weekly. I’m Megan Donahue from Virtuous. Congratulations on being done with Giving Tuesday.

Katie Golland is here from Classy. Hey.

Katie Golland:

Hi Megan. How’s it going?

Megan Donahue:

All right. Glad to have you.

Katie Golland:

Thanks. Good to be here.

Megan Donahue:

Let’s jump in. Katie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Katie Golland:

Sure. My name’s Katie Goland. I’ve been at Classy for about five years now. Classy is a software organization helping nonprofits raise money online. My specific role has kind of changed over the course of the five years, but I’ve been doing product marketing the entire time. So I was most recently focused on our events in peer-to-peer product lines and am transitioning into a role where I’m actually working on joint initiatives between Classy and GoFundMe. But I’m really excited to talk about giving season with you today. Very curious about how everyone’s Giving Tuesdays went as well. I know that was the question that was brought up initially, so if you have any feedback, feel free to put it in the chat.

Megan Donahue:

Yes, we’d love to hear. So we’re going to talk today about kind of going beyond giving Tuesday into that year-end, giving sent season, talking about some strategies for donor retention throughout the season and beyond. We’ve got a lot to cover, but let’s start off with giving season. What do we mean by it? What is giving season and why is it so important?

Katie Golland 

Yeah, that’s a good question, Megan. Giving season really starts with Giving Tuesday. So this past Tuesday really kicked off the season of giving and we define giving season between Giving Tuesday and December 31st, which is the last day of the year. We actually see about 30% of donations on the Classy platform come through that period of time. We’re really excited to see the results of Giving Tuesday for Classy this year was about over $44 million raised for non-profit organizations. We have about 5,000 non-profit customers. So amongst all those there was about $44 million raised. And even on Giving Tuesday holistically, there’s about $3.1 billion raised. Now typically Giving Tuesday is second to December 31st. We see more small and many more gifts on Giving Tuesday, but then when we get to December 31st, we tend to see some of those larger gifts most commonly because, you know, it’s the last day to get your tax-deductible donations in before the year-end closes.

Megan Donahue:

Absolutely. And how does Classy support nonprofits during this season?

Katie Golland:

So we actually kick off our Giving Tuesday campaign in June. And what we do is we typically help nonprofits by providing them with resources, templates, anything from email templates to social media templates, to how to actually structure your campaign for Giving Tuesday and year-end. And what I mean by campaign, just the definition there, is really your online presence for how you are actually converting someone who is visiting your site to actually being a donor. 

So that is typically what we recommend for our nonprofit customers is a direct giving option. So that could be a donation form or a crowdfunding campaign. A crowdfunding campaign really just gives you that extra ability to tell your story and then allows that donor to click in and then go to the donation form or donation page from there. We’ve also actually introduced a new option, which I can get into a little bit more later on, but it’s an embedded giving option.

Megan Donahue:

Cool. So Giving Tuesday, we’ve got it, it’s gone, it’s launched, it’s over. How should people be thinking about transitioning into the rest of the year-end giving season, do you think?

Katie Golland:

Yeah, I would even love comments and chat to if there are any tips and tricks anyone else has thought about. One of the tips we recommend for organizations is if you have a Giving Tuesday campaign already, if you’ve created a crowdfunding campaign or a donation form one easy thing to consider is actually just switching out the creative and content to be more in line with your year-end appeal. So you can reach out if you have imagery on there that’s specific to Giving Tuesday, maybe you put Giving Tuesday branding on there, you could switch it out with something more year-end focused. If you have content in your campaign specific to Giving Tuesday, you could consider switching that to more of a year-end type appeal. And then also we have something called impact blocks on our campaigns where you typically tie direct donations.

So say, “$100 can help buy food for a family”  or “$200 can help buy food for two families.” Thinking about changing out the creative and content on those impact blocks as well. That tends to be an option that helps save time if you are kind of stressed and strapped for time. 

One way to make sure that you are still tracking that attribution correctly from Giving Tuesday to year-end is by using source codes for your URL. So that way you’re knowing what’s coming from your Giving Tuesday campaign specifically, what’s converting from that campaign. And then if you’re using that same campaign for year-end, but changing up the source codes to denote that it’s for your year-end campaign, then you can see that attribution for your year-end. Another benefit of that too is just if you have emails that go out for Giving Tuesday or social media that goes out for Giving Tuesday by  keeping that URL the same, but just switching out content and creative, it actually helps if someone goes and accesses that email from Giving Tuesday to consistency and driving them to that kind of same experience.

Megan Donahue:

That makes sense.

Katie Golland:

Yeah.

Megan Donahue:

Wonderful.

Katie Golland:

Another option too, I would say is, I mentioned earlier, kind of teed it up, but we introduced an option called embedded giving. So what that means is if you go to a nonprofit’s website and it can actually pop up this modal where you’re actually just on the website still with this mobile donation experience that overlays right over the website. We’ve actually seen really high conversion rates on this embedded giving option before Giving Tuesday. We were seeing that nonprofits who have incorporated this embedded giving option, were raising 28% more per website visit. And then it actually exceeded our expectations on Giving Tuesday. We saw that organizations who incorporated the embedded giving option raised 44% more per website visit vs. those who did not. Which is really important just because it is a very mobile-first approach when an organization, or sorry, when a supporter lands on your website and they see that kind of embedded giving option and a really easy way to just convert and give their gift. It’s actually really increasing conversion rates across the board.

Megan Donahue: 

Yeah. And I think that speaks to a general year-end best practice of making that giving as simple as possible, of reducing the number of steps, however you do it. So it’s not like 40 clicks to make a donation.

Katie Golland:

Absolutely.

Megan Donahue:

Everyone’s busy, not just nonprofit folks. Everybody’s busy this time of year and making it fast and easy and seamless is important.

Katie Golland:

Yeah, absolutely. And I would say another thing to consider is that on Giving Tuesday, you’re about 10 times more likely to secure new donors than any other day. So consider thanking, well, don’t consider, you should thank those donors that gave on Giving Tuesday, enter them into a welcome email series and then introduce that you are also raising money in your year-end campaign. So definitely don’t hesitate to reach out to those donors that gave on Giving Tuesday to give again. Another kind of consideration too would be we’ve seen through our State of Modern Philanthropy Report from 2022 that a donor acquired on Giving Tuesday is three to four times more likely to fundraise on behalf of your organization. So that could be another option for you too, is actually tapping into those donors that gave on Giving Tuesday and encouraging them to fundraise on your behalf. So that would be incorporating a peer-to-peer campaign type. and that could be an option for you to consider to kind of engage those Giving Tuesday donors you just acquired.

Megan Donahue:

Yeah. And I think that’s such a good point to think about. In responsive fundraising we say Suggest instead of Ask. And very often the next best suggestion for a donor is another gift, but there are these other options like running a peer-to-peer campaign when you start considering how did they come in? What has their journey been with us so far? What are their interests? How do they want to be involved? And making sure you’re not leaving out [options]. I only have one ask, I only have one tool in my toolbox, and that is “Please make a donation.” Because people wear out on that pretty fast if that’s all you ever offer them. But [offer] fundraising, volunteer opportunities, educational opportunities, a new donor welcome series so that you are making suggestions continually that continue to bring them along. And a peer-to-peer campaign is great for that, especially with the data you’ve shared of Giving Tuesday donors being so likely to want to engage in that way.

Katie Golland:

Yeah. And one data point that I really love around peer-to-peer giving is from our platform data, we were able to analyze all individuals who fundraise on behalf of nonprofits. And we saw that four out of five of the donors that gave to their campaign were brand new to the organization. So thinking about that as an acquisition lever for your nonprofit, tapping into those donors who gave to you, and if they’re prideful in the fact that they gave to you, they’re passionate about the fact that they gave to you. Giving them that opportunity to spread that message by creating their own fundraising page and sharing that with their network on social media through their friends and family and really helping to kind of templatize how they can do that and allowing them, really empowering them, to fundraise on your behalf.

Megan Donahue:

Absolutely. And then making a plan for what you’re going to do with those donors who came in through that peer-to-peer fundraiser. So they have the primary relationship and making a plan for how you’re going to transition that relationship to the organization so that you can start building that relationship and making them actually your donors and supporters rather than “Sarah’s campaign supporters” is an important step too.

Katie Golland:

Absolutely. And that, you’re putting the power in the hands of the fundraisers to thank and nurture their friends and family, but it doesn’t stop there. It really should be on us on the nonprofit as well to consider how you’re thanking those donors that came in fresh from Katie’s campaign. Right. And thanking them and acknowledging that they came through from Katie’s campaign and then finding ways to continue to get them involved as well.

Megan Donahue:

Absolutely. So any other tips or best practices for year-end that you would like to share with our audience from your experience?

Katie Golland:

Yeah. I would say, you know, a lot of the tips and best practices that we give for Giving Tuesday also apply for your year-end campaign. I would start by making sure you set an attainable goal, something that’s a bit of a stretch, but something that is absolutely attainable. You want to make sure that you are straightforward and specific with your ask. So if you’re raising $10,000, what do you want that individual to donate? I know I got a great campaign on Giving Tuesday. I got a ton of emails and it was a very specific ask to give $25 and that $25 went to something very specific. And so that kind of attribution of, “Okay, I only have to donate $25 and I can give X” is very helpful in breaking down that tangibility for me as a donor versus just seeing $10,000, “Oh I’m going to be a drop in the bucket.” 

So being very specific and very straightforward with where that impact is going to go for that specific donation. And then, afterward sharing that impact.I would say even with those Giving Tuesday donors between the time between Giving Tuesday and year-end, if you were able to make an impact with those dollars raised, always share that back out. So think about how you can share that impact back, whether it’s through an individual beneficiary that received the funds or it was a specific thing that you were able to do. Maybe you were able to build a school or you’re in progress of being able to build a school. Make sure you’re delivering that impact back to that donor and letting them know that kinda that tangible impact that they had on your organization. I would say also, you know, Megan, you mentioned there’s other ways to get involved.

If you are able to have opportunities for your supporters to volunteer, that’s a great opportunity to get them engaged for year-end. Or we mentioned peer-to-peer, set up a peer-to-peer campaign for them to create their own fundraising page off of, and allow them to fundraise on behalf of your organization. Really rally that community. You could even tap into your community if you don’t have a matching corporate sponsor, which is also a great way to increase your revenue for year-end giving by allowing say, you know, your goal is $10,000, but for every dollar raised you have a corporate sponsor who will match that dollar. If you don’t yet have one secured, consider reaching out to your supporter base to see if they work for a corporation that wouldn’t mind matching or there are network opportunities there to figure out if there is more that you can do from a corporate matching perspective. And I would say, we kind of talked about this before, but don’t be afraid to ask those Giving Tuesday donors for a gift again in your year-end time. We actually saw that of the donors that do return from Giving Tuesday, because this is a pretty big first donation acquisition channel, 31% of them are apt to make a gift within the first six months after their initial gift. Okay. So it’s time to ask again and share that impact.

Megan Donahue:

Mm-hmm, as long as your thank yous for Giving Tuesday are already out.

Katie Golland:

Yeah. Right. It’s very important to get those out quickly, but you don’t end with a thank you. That’s really the introduction to your organization and thanking them and then getting them on that welcome series and then figuring out how you introduce whether it’s a soft ask in your welcome series or it is a hard ask as you’re getting closer to year-end to give that gift again or other ways that you can consider getting them involved.

Megan Donahue:

That’s great. So Classy has a new report out called Why America Gives: Finding Resilience Through Donor Loyalty. Are there any data points or learnings that you think would be helpful for nonprofit folks to know about from that report?

Katie Golland:

Yeah, for sure. I’ll start by just giving a little bit of background on the report. So we’ve been doing Why America Gives, we’ve been conducting this survey for, I think it’s four years now. And this survey is it goes out to a thousand donors. And so it is a donor sentiment report. We are understanding why America wants to give, what is motivating them. And this year we took a lens of looking at the economic uncertainty and also donor loyalty and how that really plays into donors’ propensity to give. And I’d say the first key theme we took out of the Why America Gives report was that while the economic uncertainty is impacting the lives of US donors, America is still activated to make a difference. So nearly half of US donors are pessimistic about the economy and 77% of US donors made financial changes in response to the economy. 

So there are definitely impacts financially from the recession that we are in. But however, the intent to give remains high. So 90% of donors expect to give the same or more this year than they did last year which is promising. And I think also we’ve seen how they give has changed a bit too in terms of really opening up their kind of giving to also giving to individuals. So you see the rise of like GoFundMe type of campaigns or peer-to-peer type of campaigns where they’re giving to friends or family member, whether it’s on behalf of a nonprofit or to an individual you know, of individual interest. We’re seeing a trend in that regard as well.

So that’s kind of trend number one or key message number one. While, you know, the economy’s not doing so great, we are still seeing people want to give. And then I would say the second key message is really making sure to tap into those loyal donors. So of the individuals we surveyed, we defined a loyal donor as someone who has given three or more times to the same organization. And so we’re seeing that tapping into that donor loyalty results in higher donation amounts and increased likelihood of returning to the same causes and organizations in 2023. So loyal donors are expected to give four times the amount of passive donors and they’re also more likely to give more this year compared to last year. So we’re seeing that these loyal donors want to deepen their relationships with non-profit organizations.

And it may not just be through donations. It may be they want to find ways to volunteer with your organization, they want to attend events for your organization, they want to, you know, really sign up and understand how the impact the donations that they’re having are impacting your organization by signing up for your newsletters and getting more information that way. 

Megan Donahue:

So really a holistic approach is merited here. 

Katie Golland:

Yeah, exactly. And I would say the third theme is that young generations are the future of giving. We are seeing that 41% of US millennial donors gave via recurring donations, which is the most of any age group, which is pretty incredible to see. We actually saw a huge increase in recurring donations for Giving Tuesday on the Classy platform this year. And it’s definitely something we are prioritizing in terms of how you consider, not only nurturing those Giving Tuesday donors for year-end, but into next year, how do you consider creating a recurring giving program for your donors?

So kind of think about what that program looks like. What could they get out of a recurring program besides just, you know, feeling good and donating to your organization on a monthly basis? Are you giving them impact rewards that you give monthly? Are you inviting them to special events that you host throughout the year? Are there volunteer opportunities that are kind of special for your recurring donors? Or maybe you have some sort of gift that you provide to them, like a blanket or a mug or something like that. Consider creating that recurring program specifically for your younger donors because there is an appetite there to give on a recurring basis.

Megan Donahue:

That’s really interesting. If people want to learn more about this report, where can they find it?

Katie Golland:

You can actually go online. It’s a web-based report. So you can just type in Why America Gives 2022 and you can find it right online. 

Megan Donahue:

Fantastic. Great. I saw we had a question. What is an average length or number of emails for a welcome series? So if someone’s starting one after Giving Tuesday, what seems like a good length to you?

Katie Golland:

Yeah, we recommend three to four in your welcome series. and I would say consider introducing your organization in ways that they can get involved beyond just that initial gift. You could even consider having a soft ask at the bottom of your emails. So might not be the front and center call to action, but you still have that “here’s how you can donate” at the bottom of your email. But I would say about three to four emails, one a week, as part of your welcome series.

Megan Donahue:

That sounds good. And think about content you already have if you’re thinking creating a whole welcome series is intense. You probably already have some stories, some things you can share, video content, any number of things already that you can work into that series. So don’t get overwhelmed. You’ve got three to four emails worth of stuff. I know you do.

Katie Golland:

Yeah. And I see the question coming in from Jack too around the benefit of a welcome series when we already send out a lot of emails to our audience. It’s a really good question, Jack,  and I would say, you know, segmentation is really important for donors. I would say a donor whose first interaction with you is on Giving Tuesday, they’re brand new to your organization, they may only know what’s on that Giving Tuesday campaign. They might not know everything else that you do as an organization or other ways to get involved with your organization. So introducing them with a three or four-email welcome series and suppressing them from your other emails that you send out regularly is a great way to really feel like you are bringing them into your nonprofit organization without just blasting them with new opportunities to donate. And not saying that their emails are all opportunities to donate, but I think just considering that relationship-forming experience versus just pumping them into your funnel of email communications is something to consider as part of your strategy.

Megan Donahue:

Yeah. Because if you do drop people in cold to your normal communications, you really do run the risk of them never quite exactly knowing who you are or what you’re about. And then that’s a missed engagement opportunity, I think. And I will say if you already send a lot of emails, this is probably going off on a little bit of a rabbit trail, but if you’re sending a lot of emails and they’re all relevant to the audience that’s receiving them, it’s probably fine. If you’re sending a mass email to every person on your list, everybody gets every single thing, then as Katie said, continue really considering and digging into that segmentation so that you’re not overwhelming the audience is going to be an important step.

Katie Golland:

Yeah, absolutely Megan. And I think, you know, segmentation is going to be a big key going into 2023 as well in terms of how you communicate to your donors and your loyal donors, right? So your major givers, you may want to have a different email for them that maybe you want to invite them to more of like a VIP event versus your recurring donors. If there’s another opportunity throughout the year to give, that’s great, but you might not want to tap them every month for another gift because they’re already giving to you on a recurring basis. So definitely important to think about how you segment and communicate to your donors and opportunities for those segments throughout the year coming up in 2023.

Megan Donahue:

Absolutely. So speaking of 2023, how do we keep this year-end momentum going?

Katie Golland:

Yeah, it’s a great question. I would say some of the tips and best practices that we already discussed around welcoming, thanking those donors that came in through Giving Tuesday through your year-end campaign will be really important. And I think even adding a personal touch, right? Whether that email, that welcome email, that thank you series comes from someone from the executive leadership level welcoming them, maybe a handwritten card of some sort. I know that can be expensive, but those kind of personal touches are ones that definitely go a long way in terms of kind of making donors feel appreciated and appreciation and gratitude definitely help from a donor loyalty perspective. And then we’re actually seeing a pretty big trend in events for 2023 in terms of kind of tapping into those loyal donors or donors that are already part of your ecosystem and giving them ways to kind of engage with each other. 

I feel like the trend is going back to in-person events versus virtual events, but if you don’t have the means to do in-person, virtual is always a great option. And even hybrid if you wanted to create an experience where you have both options where you kind of live stream some elements of our product Classy Live actually help acilitate all three of those, in-person, virtual and hybrid. We talked a little bit about those other opportunities to get involved for 2023, I would say volunteering. If you have options for having your donors get involved in volunteering initiatives that is definitely kind of on the rise in terms of the appetite for donors to get involved with volunteering.

We hear it very commonly with corporate relationships as well, having employees of corporate partnerships get involved with volunteering. That also could be a great way to build on those corporate relationships and get those employees involved with fundraising on behalf of your organization. So we talked about peer-to-peer. It’s a great way to consider for 2023, tapping into those loyal donors and converting them to become fundraisers. If you don’t already have that in your strategy, I would highly consider taking a look at how you can convert those donors to become fundraisers for your organizations.

Megan Donahue:

Absolutely. I think people are always asking for “How do we engage mid-level donors? How do we? Peer-to- peer is a great, great way.

Katie Golland:

Yeah, definitely. I completely agree and I just like love that stat of four out of five donors that give to a individual fundraiser are brand new to the organization. Yeah. Just because I think that it’s an untapped potential opportunity to acquire new donors just by asking your current donors to create a fundraising page and send it out to their friends and family.

Megan Donahue:

Right. I think so often we think of acquisition as we have to go out cold and just find people somewhere and really there are people in your sphere already and that’s a great way to connect with them.

Katie Golland:

Absolutely. Yeah. And , these days with social media, it’s pretty easy for people to create a campaign and then post it on Facebook, post it on Instagram. And you know, even if you get a couple hundred dollars from each fundraiser, that’s more than you would’ve gotten if you just asked them directly potentially, because they’re tapped out for their gifts at that point. 

Megan Donahue:

Absolutely. I know as a peer-to-peer fundraiser, when I’ve been invited to do that, particularly when I was a college student who could make a $10 donation to an organization, I felt so great about being able to raise $500, because I didn’t have $500. But it was great to be able to help an organization in that way and I still feel very connected with the organizations that I had that kind of interaction with.

Katie Golland: 

Absolutely. Yeah. If not even more, you feel so prideful, the fact that you can raise, you know, individually, you may only be able to raise to donate a hundred dollars or you know, $10, but collectively by asking your friends and family, you may be able to raise a thousand, $2,000, which makes you even feel more loyal to the organization. And I would say last tip too, just to plug payment options. We are seeing the rise in younger demographics very interested in giving via Venmo, PayPal, digital wallets. So if you don’t have that as part of your strategy, consider that. It makes it so much easier when you’re giving on your phone or giving on your laptop to have that all pre-saved and to really help with the conversion process of completing that

Megan Donahue:

Reducing friction, and making it easy. That’s great. Well, Katie, this has been lovely.

Katie Golland:

Thank you Megan.

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