Getting the most out of #GivingTuesday

The end of 2017 is rapidly approaching, and with that comes holidays, shopping, and something that’s likely on a lot of fundraisers’ minds right now: giving season. Giving Tuesday (November 28th), the official kickoff to giving season, has become a prominent, global day of generosity, falling immediately after big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s the start to an end-of-year period when people are driven to give back. In 2016 on Giving Tuesday alone, nonprofits raised over $168 million globally, up a whopping 44% from 2015. And the giving won’t stop there — 30% (!!) of all nonprofit giving happens from Giving Tuesday through the end of the year. That adds up to a whole lot of groups making appeals for support on the same day, and a crowded marketplace as you work to hit your fundraising goals.

Folks tend to be feeling generous as the year comes to a close, and some have likely even planned ahead to make charitable contributions in the last month of the year. That’s why nonprofit fundraising teams should plan ahead as well, so you can have a strategy in place to reach those excited supporters multiple times during giving season, when they’re already inclined to chip in.

The more prepared your organization is, the better. If you’re a nonprofit fundraiser, you’ll find our top tips below for preparing your giving season fundraising campaign. As you make progress on your plans, we’re available to answer questions or talk strategy at AB Charities, so let us know how we can help. And if you’re not set up to use our tools yet, there’s still time — most organizations can get set up within a day or two!

  • Decide on a goal and make your donors feel like they’re invested in helping you hit it. You should focus on a measurable, realistic goal that you know your supporters can help you reach — and you should let your donors know about it! When there’s a tangible goal in mind, donors feel more motivated to give and help you succeed.

  • Outline, write, and prepare your content ahead of time. You’ll want to be prepared for both Giving Tuesday and the larger end-of-year push that comes afterwards. Having one or two emails prepared likely won’t be enough content to help you hit your goal. Take some time to brainstorm with your team and think through the different stories you want to tell and what fundraising emails, graphics, social media content, or blog posts you’ll need to get those messages across. And remember that above all, you want to tell a compelling story and incorporate urgency and emotion. Let your donors know why they should care about your work right now, why you need their contribution, and what you’ll be able to do with their donation if they give. You can also prepare thank-you text to send out to donors. AB Charities will send out a receipt automatically when people donate, but you can easily customize that language to thank your donors and add it to your fundraising page ahead of time, so every time a donor contributes they’ll receive your note.

  • Brand your contribution forms for Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday has become a way for supporters to feel like they’re a part of an incredibly large, global movement for positive change. When you brand your contribution forms to show donors that you’re asking for their support as a part of your Giving Tuesday campaign, it can help donors feel even more motivated to make a contribution that will help you reach your goals. Using AB Charities, it’s quick and easy to add a branding to your forms that fits in with the look and feel of your Giving Tuesday campaign. If you have questions about creating a branding find more info here or contact Kiersten from our advocacy team at arnoni [at] actblue [dot] com.

  • Connect with folks in your organization’s community ahead of time and invite them to participate in peer-to-peer fundraising. If you have supporters who are willing to put in a little work for your cause, you can make them an AB Charities contribution form and encourage them to organize their networks by emailing or posting on social media to help broaden your reach. Those folks who are already engaged in your organization’s work can offer compelling appeals for support by telling their personal stories or offering unique perspectives as to why your organization needs their donation. You can also get board members involved and make them their own fundraising pages, so they can keep track of fundraising goals and help you hit them. Your organization’s staffers can log in and check on the progress of the peer-to-peer and board fundraising pages, saving your team a ton of time!

  • Include a pop-up donation ask on your website. With so many donors planning on giving and researching causes they want to support, it’s common for charitable groups to experience high traffic on their websites from Giving Tuesday through the end of the year. Building a pop-up ask into your giving season campaign is a great way to meet your donors where they already are. Using AB Charities, ActBlue Express users can give easily with a single click on your pop-up. This will make it especially simple for donors who access your website via their phone or tablet — no typing in their credit card number to complete a donation.

  • Make a recurring ask to seize the momentum of Giving Tuesday and keep supporters engaged long-term. Many groups focus on bringing in one-time contributions to hit their goals, but we recommend asking for weekly or monthly recurring contributions. Recurring contributions are a great way to capture the excitement of giving season and turn it into long-term success. When you know you have a certain amount of money coming in each week or month from recurring donations, you can budget and plan ahead for the future. With AB Charities, you can set a deadline at the end of the year so donors can contribute a small amount each week from Giving Tuesday on, or you can set recurring contributions to run indefinitely every month, so you can keep the momentum going into the new year. Donors will feel invested in your work and you’ll be able to rely on a steady stream of donations even as giving season comes to a close.

Taking the steps above will help you have a solid plan in place and will set you and your team up for success. AB Charities allows you to track the performance of your contribution forms and how donors are responding to different content, social media asks, or email pitches in real time.

If you’re interested in learning more about our tools, have questions about preparing for Giving Tuesday, or want to run a test between AB Charities and your current platform, just let us know. You can drop Kiersten a line at arnoni [at] actblue [dot] com. We wish you good luck during giving season, and can’t wait to see your fundraising campaigns in action!

ActBlue Charities is HERE

*drumroll please* We’re excited to announce that charitable organizations can now fundraise using the same great platform that ActBlue has built over the last 11 years!

Organizations with a 501(c)3 designation are now able to get set up with our tools in just minutes. Contributions will be run through ActBlue Charities, the newest arm of the ActBlue family, but everything else stays the same. Charities both big and small, national and local, will be able to take advantage of our entire set of industry-leading fundraising tools, including the existing (and growing) 2.4M-strong Express user universe — that’s people who have saved their donor and credit card information and can give in an instant. By bringing our innovative tools to a whole new set of organizations, we’re hoping to add to revenue models for charitable organizations by working with them to build a new stream of small-dollar donors.

If you’re interested, you can start the setup process here.

So, why did we spend years (yes, years) working to make it possible for charities to use our fundraising tools?

ActBlue’s mission has always been to help connect grassroots donors with the causes and campaigns that they support, so they can effect change in the world. Through technology, we help break down barriers, and make it easier for Americans to chip in what they can afford to fuel change in this country. Just think of what can be accomplished if we can help thousands of charitable organizations build their grassroots fundraising base, much like we’ve done with political giving.

We’ve seen firsthand how powerful grassroots, people-powered movements can be, and we want to help charities create those kinds of movements and bring in more donations, so they can expand their capacity to do good works. And as a nonprofit, ActBlue is committed to offering those tools for free, so organizations at every level have access to the best technology possible.

There are certainly already a lot of platforms charities can use to fundraise online. Here’s what makes ActBlue a better choice:

ActBlue isn’t just a way to take in money. We’re a platform built specifically to support grassroots fundraising and the organizations doing that work. From our tools to our Express universe to our trainings, we draw from the experiences of thousands of groups fundraising with us.

How does that happen? Well, the huge volume of contributions we handle enables us to constantly improve our contribution forms with tiny optimizations that benefit the entire platform at once and immediately bring in more dollars. Donors are at the core of what we do, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make it easier and faster for them to give. The design of buttons, small layout changes, and user experience alterations can make big differences when it comes to conversion rates.

We do one thing — build grassroots fundraising software that raises organizations more money and helps them increase their capacity to do powerful work — and we do it really well. We’ve never lost a head-to-head A/B test against another donation platform.

ActBlue’s toolset is designed to scale for organizations both big and small. Everyone has access to the same features, data visualizations, and tools no matter their size. That means your small (but mighty) charity has access to the same fundraising tools as presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders.

And the other important thing to know is that we’re a mission-driven nonprofit. We partner with our clients, working together to help them reach their fundraising goals. We’re not just another vendor looking to profit off of you. We’ve been around for 11 years, helped raise over $960 million in grassroots contributions for thousands of campaigns and organizations, and built a reputation for being helpful, reliable, and innovative. There are some huge charities that are doing cutting-edge work right now, and we can’t wait to partner with them to make charitable grassroots fundraising even better.

We’re excited to be working with organizations in a space where there is room for small-dollar donor growth, and the potential to build powerful movements of all kinds. ActBlue Charities is open to any c3 organization that is willing to engage in grassroots fundraising, and whose activity doesn’t contradict ActBlue Charities’ policies and values. Those values include (but aren’t limited to) social equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, diversity, freedom of speech, and respect for scientific inquiry, discovery, and data.

Charitable organizations will pay our standard 3.95% processing fee on contributions, but other than that, every single one of our tools — including training and support — is free. We’re usually able to set charities up in a single day. No contracts, no hidden costs.

If you’re an organization that meets the criteria above, and are interested in getting set up, let us know here. If you have questions, or want to learn more about our tools you can email us at info@actblue.com.

This launch is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long learning process, and we’re excited to start working with some amazing new organizations. Together, we can make big things happen.