#GivingTuesdayNow: Is Your Nonprofit Ready?
As we all have heard, #GivingTuesdayNow is taking place on May 5, 2020. While #GivingTuesday traditionally takes place once a year during the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, this year is remarkably different.
COVID-19 has deeply impacted everyone across the globe, nonprofit organizations included. In light of this, #GivingTuesdayNow is an effort to raise emergency funds due to the unprecedented need caused by the pandemic. This giving day is completely separate from #GivingTuesday, as #GivingTuesday is still scheduled for December 1, 2020.
2020 has thus far shown us that we are living in unusual times. In this critical time of need, #GivingTuesdayNow offers a way for nonprofits affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 to drive philanthropic support and citizen engagement on a global scale.
“Along with many other nonprofits around the world, [Save the Children is] joining in this global day of unity to engage with the community; to celebrate those true heroes, the frontline health workers, those folks who are sacrificing day in and day out to fight the pandemic; and to give them thanks,” Ettore Rossetti, senior advisor of digital, marketing and fundraising for Save the Children, said in an exclusive interview with NonProfit PRO. “It's about gratitude, giving back and showing generosity. It's about volunteering. It's about inspiring others to do the same.”
Who Will Participate?
As this day of giving was announced less than a month ago, nonprofits have had little time to prepare and strategize for #GivingTuesdayNow. Many nonprofits are even voicing their concerns and hesitations about asking their supporters for donations in a time when they themselves may be experiencing a financial burden — especially when #GivingTuesday is seven months away.
If COVID-19 has impacted the way your organization does business, it may be worthwhile to consider participating in this giving day — whether it’s providing support for frontline workers, providing food and shelter to the homeless, or even finding homes for abandoned animals. But keep in mind that nonprofits should not jump into this day with the thought that just slapping #GivingTuesdayNow on messaging will reap big rewards. If nonprofits are participating in this giving day, there needs to be a strategy in place and countless hours in preparation.
Your supporters need to be prepped ahead of time and be made aware that #GivingTuesdayNow is coming up. And they also need to know how COVID-19 has impacted your organization and what your organization is doing to combat that impact and serve your mission.
How to Frame Your #GivingTuesdayNow Marketing and Communications
COVID-19 has presented a huge challenge for nonprofits: the ask. Many organizations are nervous about asking their supporters for money during this time, and for good reason. The economic impact of COVID-19 has spared no person, company or organization, and nonprofits understand that and are wary of asking supporters to donate when they may be forced into a tighter budget or have even lost their jobs.
For messaging around #GivingTuesdayNow, Abby Caschetta, senior technical customer success manager at Classy, recommends for nonprofits to look at the severity of the situation and make sure the tone of the messaging is appropriate. During a time when emotions are running high and people are worried about what’s to come, be sure that your communication has a level of empathy — really try to understand how your supporter is feeling.
Starting two weeks before #GivingTuesdayNow, Save the Children has been sharing stories on its website and on its social platforms about the children who are benefitting from its work.
For example, #SAVEWITHSTORIES is an initiative launched by Jennifer Gardner and Amy Adams in which they offer stories on Instagram and Facebook to provide fun and education for kids and parents. To date, more than 130 #SAVEWITHSTORIES have been shared, and those stories have been viewed over 50 million times.
The pandemic has impacted 30 million children in the U.S. who rely on school for education and meals. With the support #SAVEWITHSTORIES, Save the Children has delivered food and educational resources to nearly 90,000 children and No Kid Hungry is helping to provide up to 800,000 meals a day to children affected by school closures.
Through its stories and messaging, Save the Children is getting the word out about #GivingTuesdayNow so that people are aware and know the date is fast approaching.
“We are [communicating this giving day] in a way that not only builds anticipation and awareness, but, again, talks about the stories of kids that have benefited from our programs and those that still need help,” Ettore said. “The inflection point of that help message will occur on May 5 when we ask for generosity, activism and volunteerism — if people can afford it and have the means, we will gladly accept contributions for those kids and families around the world that are affected by COVID-19.”
He continued, “But it isn't our first message because we're sensitive to the fact that individuals and companies are [being affected financially by this pandemic]. Giving is important, but it could also be giving thanks, in addition to giving your time, giving your talent and giving your money if you have it.”
While #GivingTuesdayNow was created with the idea of raising funds in mind, the giving day can be a day dedicated to your supporters, a day of giving thanks for being loyal supporters. When communicating with your supporter base, be transparent with them on how COVID-19 has impacted your organization, Abby said. And make it meaningful — thank them for their ongoing support, and let them know you appreciate everything they have done for your organization.
“Our strategy is to start communicating to our constituencies that there is a #GivingTuesdayNow, it's a lot earlier than November or December, mark the calendar and be ready to celebrate and give gratitude to the health workers. Be ready to listen to the stories of folks who are receiving aid and those who aren't fortunate yet to receive the aid,” Ettore said. “The message is: We're all in this together. And in fact, that is the spirit of why #GivingTuesday created this day and accelerated it. Because we really need to come together and do something big.”