GiveBIG is coming on Tuesday, May 3. But you knew that already, right?
You’ve already registered your nonprofit to participate. You’ve seen the GiveBIG blog. You’ve seen The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG FAQ. You’re signed up for the next webinar on April 14. You’re salivating over this year’s big innovations: real-time leaderboards, scheduling donations early, and giving donors the option to cover the credit card processing fees for their own gifts.
It’s ChrismaHannuKwanzikuh for fundraisers! And it’s easy to get lost in the slew of hyper-specific tactical campaign tricks and tips on display. But after 5 years of helping many nonprofits grow their GiveBIG results, we want to remind you of 3 key strategies that every nonprofit can use and adapt to maximize their GiveBIG haul – no matter your mission space or how many development staff you have.
These are focused not just on helping you raise money on May 3, but on helping you create and maintain long-term relationships with your GiveBIG donors.
1. Provide your own matching funds to inspire and incentivize donors.
Yes, GiveBIG has its own proportional stretch pool. Whatever percentage of the overall contributions given on May 3 your organization takes, it will receive the same percentage of The Seattle Foundation’s stretch pool. But the stretch pool amount changes every year, and can grow right up until the day of GiveBIG. It’s a moving target.
So, this all means it can be tricky to message to donors – it’s a tough concept to explain in a single tweet or Facebook post. Here’s why securing a 1:1 match from a major donor or a group of donors on top of your stretch pool allocation will help your campaign.
2. Fundraise for a specific project, not just for your organization.
Most organizations use GiveBIG as an opportunity to raise sorely needed unrestricted dollars. But, like most fundraising opportunities, the more specific your ask, the more likely donors are to give – and give more. Everyone wants to know their dollars accomplish something real and meaningful. At its heart, fundraising is giving your donors a problem to solve. When you focus on a specific problem, it makes it easy to crystallize your outcomes for donors.
This is true in every type of fundraising scenario – events, major gifts, capital campaigns, grants, you name it. And it can be especially hard to connect donors to the specific outcomes for a general operations ask in a rapid-fire, competitive communication moment like GiveBIG.
But with smart planning that connects the dots between your budget needs, what matters to your donors, and realistic assumptions about how much you can raise that day, you can have your restricted giving cake and eat it too. For example, you can ask your GiveBIG donors to:
It’s also much easier to tell the story of your need through effective email communications and social media when you can focus on something specific. Another upside to a specific project-based approach to GiveBIG: it’s easier to create excellent donor stewardship efforts. Which leads us to…
3. Create a great stewardship plan for your GiveBiG donors.
Fundraising isn’t just the coaxing, the convincing, the asking, and then the sigh of relief. Once your donors give, you have to follow up with them, tell them how awesome they are, and show them that you’ve put their money to good use. That’s how you get a second gift – or a bigger one.
If you don’t have a stewardship plan that defines when and how you thank and report back to different types of donors as part of your annual development plan, make sure you develop one for next fiscal year. Creating one for this year’s GiveBIG donors will help ease you in.
There are two types of donor stewardship: love stewardship, which shows how grateful you and the people you serve are to the donor; and impact stewardship, which shows the donor what their funds accomplished. Volunteer opportunities can be an especially effective type of impact stewardship – you can literally put your donors in the mix with your programs and service recipients. Every effective stewardship plan involves both kinds of outreach.
Here’s an easy path to effective GiveBIG donor stewardship:
Now go forth and raise big!