5 Simple Steps to Participate in Giving Tuesday Now

Nora Niesen

Prior to CVNL, Nora developed a wealth of experience on both the giving and asking sides of philanthropy. Most recently, she managed institutional fundraising at Guide Dogs for the Blind, and previously she worked in fundraising and business development at the Foundation Center and in grants management for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York City.

Every year, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, nonprofit organizations and donors connect through Giving Tuesday, a way to give back and support communities following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This coming May 5, 2020, the Giving Tuesday organization is hosting Giving Tuesday Now, to help causes unite and spread awareness for their missions and help donors around the world respond to the emergency needs caused by COVID-19. Because, as they say, “Giving back isn’t cancelled.”

So many of us are sheltering-in-place and not able to fulfill our regular volunteer duties. While some of us have lost our jobs or been furloughed and are looking for ways to put our extra time to use by helping in our communities. At CVNL, we are focused on supporting you and we want to help you manage your organizations in this trying time. So, what does getting involved with Giving Tuesday Now look like to you, when you may be short-staffed, lacking regular volunteers, and yet being called upon – in many cases even more so now – to assist in the midst of a pandemic with far-reaching consequences? We hope this brief guide will help you determine if undertaking a Giving Tuesday Now campaign is right for you, and if, so, help determine the basic steps to conduct one.

Giving Tuesday benefits organizations large and small. Large organizations often have teams of staff from marketing and development departments that can implement a creative campaign, often taking months to plan and build. Smaller organizations can often be more nimble and more innovative with their Giving Tuesday campaigns, but if they lack the staff time to make sure it’s done well, they can spend a lot of resources without a lot of reward. So, how should you conduct a campaign, and what should you do? First and foremost, this is a great opportunity to educate the community on what you do during a crisis, and as part of your regular operations.

So the first step in participating in Giving Tuesday Now is to determine:

  1. Is it doable? Do only what you have the capacity to do. It may seem overwhelming to think about conducting a campaign on May 5 – it’s right around the corner! But with just a little creativity, you can take part in this special event. Only do it if it’s doable for your organization and staff time!

Then decide what you want to do; what’s your special call to action?

  1. You can promote a kindness initiative and ask supporters to help their neighbors. Or start a recognition event for frontline workers – a clapping or howling event for those who are putting their lives on the line is an easy way to show support and people feel good about participating. Depending on your mission this is a great opportunity to keep it simple and ask for donations – monetary or supplies – to better serve your clients.

How to get the word out?

  1. Use social media – Giving Tuesday Now is a “moment within a movement.” Start using your social media outlets now to build momentum. Ask your followers to share your information with their friends, recruit new followers, and simply get the word out about the day.
  2. Make a short video or invite people to a virtual online meeting. We’ve learned in the last month that it doesn’t have to be polished and professional. It just has to be from the heart. Remind people of what you do, share a client or donor story. Or share stories from your staff and what their new “normal” is while they still meet their missions every day. Post it on your website, your social media, or in an email to everyone in your mailing list.

Lastly, use this as a chance to simply communicate with your donors, clients, and friends.

  1. If nothing else, this is a great opportunity to connect meaningfully with current donors. Share with them what you’re doing, and ask them what they’re doing. They want to be helpful. They like you. Chances are, they will support you through this, you just have to ask. Remind them that you value them and want them to be a part of this with you.

What Giving Tuesday Now comes down to is this: be sure you’re communicating, because it’s all we can do right now. For more resources and information on what CVNL is doing during COVID-19, please visit us at https://cvnl.org/covid-landing-page/ and for more on Giving Tuesday Now, please visit https://now.givingtuesday.org/

We’re in this together, and we are #strongertogether.