2020 has certainly been a wild ride thus far. While the passing of time has ebbed and flowed, end-of-year deadlines are approaching at a frenzied pace. Believe it or not, Giving Tuesday 2020 is less than two months away. With so much happening this year, many organizations that would normally be well into preparations are suddenly scrambling to get started.
Maybe you’re just jumping into the fray, or perhaps you are mid-preparation. Either way, Giving Tuesday will be here soon, and nonprofits need to be ready. With the added complexity of an election year and the economic impact of the pandemic, it is more important than ever to end the year on a high note.
At the best of times, none of us know what will happen two months from now—and 2020 hasn’t been a year to try to predict—but there is still time to prepare and be ready to take full advantage of Giving Tuesday. To help make sure that your organization is ready, here is my 2020 preparation checklist:
Elections Matter – Win or Lose, Be Ready
If your organization is involved in politics, political issues, or social causes, you understand the significant impact a major election can have on your fundraising. If donors think of your mission as an outlet for their political ideals—or the challenges you address will be resolved by a shift in power—the election may impact their attitude toward giving in the weeks following the election.
While crafting your strategy and content, take the different potential outcomes of the election into account. Create different versions that you can revise and refine based on the events as they are unfolding. Just because you don’t know today what will happen, doesn’t mean you cannot plan ahead by creating a version of events that feels like a win for your audience and a second that feels like a loss. Remember that what feels like a political win may be a revenue loss if you don’t emphasize the ongoing importance of your work in the new year. If your target audience is divided, you still need to understand how their opinions about the election may impact their feelings toward you and what you say three weeks later.
Data Matters – Stop Putting Off the Cleanup
Start by looking at last year’s data and setting metrics and goals for success this year. Break last year’s giving information down hour-by-hour and set hourly goals that allow you to track your progress over the course of the day.
Next, make sure your email lists are organized and ready to go. Depending on your email tool and strategy, the details here can vary. Regardless, data owners and stewards should be working now to make sure that they have all the data they need, that audience segmentations are set up correctly, and that your organization can quickly and reliably execute on the delivery plan.
Filtering out email addresses known to be undeliverable and removing the stale contacts that never open or click on your messages will improve deliverability and give you a more accurate view of what is happening in the moment. The first time I removed inactive addresses it felt like my list was shrinking, but in truth we had already lost people’s attention. After the cleanup, we had a much better picture of what was really happening, and we began to see our open and click-through rates improve.
Practice Matters – Giving Tuesday is NOT the Day to Break in a New Tool
The current generation of email tools and CRM databases is varied and immensely powerful. While Attain Partners’ Salesforce Services Group focuses primarily on the implementation and enhancement of Salesforce-specific marketing automation products such as Pardot and Marketing Cloud, we do not recommend sending your first message using these tools on Giving Tuesday. During the high-stress giving time at the end of the year, it’s better to be reliable than to be perfect.
Even with tools you already know well, you’ll want to find ways to practice and test your plans. Create lists of your colleagues and friends that you can segment and target to send your trial messages. Test all the options on your giving page well in advance. If you have backup plans and tools to use, make sure you thoroughly test those as well.
It is also critical that you are prepared to monitor the health of the system in real time so you will know quickly if something is going wrong. Validate that your data passes all the way through your various systems—including your main accounting ledgers—smoothly and reliably.
How can I get help preparing for Giving Tuesday?
The team and I would be happy to help you prepare for Giving Tuesday. Attain Partners offers easy-to-access support and expert services, including assessments and implementation efforts, to help your development teams realize the best giving year yet. Contact us at [email protected] with any questions, to get additional details, or to discover how we can support your fundraising efforts leveraging Salesforce.
About the Author
Aaron Crosman is a Senior Specialist in Attain Partners’ Salesforce Services Group. After a decade working IT and Digital Communications for a nonprofit, Aaron moved to consulting to help organizations create first-class online communications systems. He specializes in Drupal development and Salesforce integrations for our nonprofit and higher education clients.