Image used with permission. Copyright: Smith

  Image used with permission. Copyright: Smith

Giving Tuesday Sheriff—It’s Time to Start Passing Out the Deputies’ Badges

If your #GivingTuesday plan includes a crowd funding campaign GREAT! Peer-to-Peer fundraising is an effective way to enlist volunteers, board members, and staff in fundraising.

As Allison Gauss of Classy says, one of the awesome things about P2P fundraising is that it allows you to reach beyond your circle of supporters to make new friends through the introduction of your existing donors and fans.

I think one of the things that people new to P2P fundraising don’t realize, however, is that it doesn’t happen automatically. You don’t set up a webpage and hit a “go” button. Your site doesn’t immediately go viral. Thousands of people don’t sign up and immediately donate and then ask their friends and family to donate. It just doesn’t work that way (Maybe ice-bucket challenge aside).

It takes some planning and some effort behind the scenes and throughout the campaign to start the engine and fan the flames.  Here are a few things you need to do to before #GivingTuesday:

  1. Make sure that your website is ready to accept donations. If your site isn’t and you don’t want to go to the trouble of securing your site and setting up a merchant services account, sign up with one of the many crowdfunding platforms that are out there. Here are just a few: Firstgiving, Crowdrise, ImpactFlow, and Classy—to name a few.
  2. Prepare digital assets for the campaign. Have your logo and at least one good picture for your fundraisers to use for their personal web pages (in case they don’t have a picture of their own).
  3. Prepare a stock message for their personal web pages (in case they don’t personalize them), a sample email message asking for support, and a thank you message to go out to all donors. You really want your participants to customize their message and personalize their page with their picture, of course, but if they don’t have time, some message is better than no message.

After those set-up steps, the real work begins. You have to actually recruit people to participate, ask them to give, and encourage them in their fundraising efforts. Yes, you can do some of this through email and social media, but to really do it well—like all things in fundraising—it takes a personal touch. Call, write personal emails, go visit people face-to-face. That’s why, in an earlier post, I wrote that P2P campaigns are “old school.” At their core, despite the technology, they rely on tried and true fundamentals—mobilizing relationships.  They may mobilize those relationships faster and in different ways than we fundraisers used to do this, but it’s still, at the heart of it, about mobilizing relationships.

If you’re the development director or the Executive Director, you can’t do it all. You need a team. Before #GivingTuesday, build your team. Deputize others on the staff, key volunteers, and board members you can count on to assist you with participant recruitment, donor solicitation, and participant encouragement.

Try to get as many people signed up before the day of #GivingTuesday as possible. You want to come out of the gate strong as if your people couldn’t wait to get started fundraising. This will be great for morale for your people. People love to be on winning teams. Others will jump on board a successful effort.

Finally, don’t forget the post-game effort. You want and need funds for your cause. Do you really care if the money comes in on #GivingTuesday or the Day after? I didn’t think so.

So send a wrap-up message. Thank everyone for the awesome support. Thank your volunteers and fundraisers. Thank your donors. Let them know how their support will be used. But also, tell your constituents that it’s not too late, that if they didn’t have a chance to give on #GivingTuesday, they can still do it today (the day after). You welcome their participation in your program anytime. Give them the link again.

Some of your fans may have been tied up in meetings all day on #GivingTuesday. You don’t want them to feel like “Oh, darn. I missed it.”  You want them to feel “Great. It’s not too late. I can still give!”

Even though #GivingTuesday and P2P campaigns are a lot of work, you can distribute the work. You can enlist help if you plan ahead. You don’t have to do it all yourself. In fact, the only way to succeed is to distribute the work. If you alone are pushing out the message, you’re not likely to have good results. You need to deputize social media ambassadors and fundraisers for #GivingTuesday to work. So Sheriff, start passing out badges.


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