I know, I know – it’s only September. You have loads of time before #GivingTuesday and you have a ton on your plate right now. It can wait, right?

Wrong. If you really want to make the most of the influx of philanthropy that comes with #GivingTuesday (which falls on November 28th this year), then the time to start planning is now.

First, a little background for the uninitiated.

What is #GivingTuesday?

Giving Tuesday is a massive movement of giving. It falls on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday – a day of gratitude, collaboration, and generosity to follow all the crazed consumption of the days before.

More importantly, it’s a time when the act of giving will have a ton of media pick-up. Donors will have philanthropy on the brain (and in the Newsfeed, inbox, TV screen, search engine, and just about everywhere else). That means it’s a prime opportunity for charities like yours to jump on the bandwagon, raise some serious revenues, and acquire some brand-new donors!

The catch? Sure, you’re on the bandwagon – but so is every other non-profit. How do you make sure you stand out from the #GivingTuesday crowd, rather than getting lost in the noise? That’s where we can help.

Here are the 6 steps you can take to get the most out of #GivingTuesday this year.

Set some goals.

Decide what you want to get out of #GivingTuesday before it gets here, and start planning using those goals as success metrics. Is the goal to bring on a certain number of new donors, or even new low-level monthlies that you can leverage? To generate a certain amount of engagement online? Are you aiming to earn an extra gift from your active donors? More likely than not, it’s some combination of the above.

Depending on your goals, you’ll want to design an offer and pick tactics accordingly. Lay out, in advance, what #GivingTuesday success will look like to your organization this year – which means setting some concrete, achievable objectives – and then plan accordingly to get there.

Start stewarding right now.

The best way to make sure your non-profit is top-of-mind when donors are making #GivingTuesday gifts is simple: get there first. And the best way to do that is to start stewarding your donors and supporters today, then keep up the donor love until the end of November.

Send gratitude-filled emails that report back on the power of past kindness. Post on your social networks that demonstrate the power of a gift. Make the connection between the work you do and the donors who enable it crystal clear – and make them feel awesome for what they’ve accomplished.

Have the infrastructure in place.

Before you get into the fancy marketing aspects of your campaign, take a step back and make sure the foundations are sturdy. What’s your giving process like? Is it mobile-friendly? Are your analytics integrated and firing properly? Where can you feature the campaign on your homepage? What kind of landing page support do you have available?

These are the little things that have a funny way of getting overlooked until it’s far too late. Take the time well in advance to make sure things are working the way you want them to, so you can provide a totally seamless experience to your donors. If you don’t, someone else certainly will.

Build the most compelling offer you possibly can

When just about every non-profit and charity out there is asking for a gift at the same time, donors are going to be especially choosy about where they put their money. If you want your #GivingTuesday campaign to take off, you need to make an exceptionally persuasive offer to your donors.

What makes a good #GivingTuesday campaign? Our experience has given us a few ideas (although none are cut-and-dry, and every org is a little different!):

  • Be tangible. A direct connection between gift and outcome – for example, feeding a kid for $1 a day or sending a girl to school for $100 – works well here. More generalized asks – like supporting research without speaking to the expected outcomes – tend to underperform.
  • Be authentic. Now is not the time for org-speak. Use plain language, be concise, and be direct. We like the problem-credibility-solution-ask formula to help keep the message framed around what the donor needs to hear.
  • Bring it to life. If you’ve been a Good Works blog reader for a while, it shouldn’t surprise you that our recommendation is to communicate that offer with a powerful, emotional, human story.
  • Use rich media. Far and away, your most powerful #GivingTuesday tool is probably a killer video. Images and GIFs can be effective, too.

Go multi-channel – but go wisely.

As with just about every fundraising campaign, gone are the days of the single-channel campaign. We suggest using a mix of channels – from email to paid advertising to organic social to search and beyond – to meet donors where they are and make your message super-sticky.

A word to the wise: going multi-channel doesn’t mean going omni-channel. Don’t be a jack of all trades and master of none. Pick and choose the channels that are going to be the most effective at achieving your specific goals and reaching your specific audiences – then execute them flawlessly and authentically!

Report back right away.

This is where so many organizations fall off. It’s particularly key if your goal is new donor acquisition, but it’s true all the way around. If a donor made the choice to give to you, especially on #GivingTuesday when the market is so crowded, it is absolutely vital that you thank them properly.

Make sure that part of your plan includes how you’re going to steward donors, and make sure those processes are in place in advance.

Some ideas: Check to make sure any auto-sent emails (like the tax receipt) are up-to-date and speak to your campaign. Design a new welcome series for folks who come on board on #GivingTuesday. Plan cool events (physical or digital) to show donors what they achieved. Send prompt, genuine, gratitude-filled thank-you letters. Report back on the outcomes of the gift.

I hope this helps you build a #GivingTuesday that drives some powerful change this year! We’d love to hear how it goes – or help you bring it to life!