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Look Back at '18

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The final months of the calendar year can often feel like a sprint to the finish line. If you’re a fundraiser, you’re completely focused on end-of-year giving, a time when, on average, nearly one-third of annual giving occurs. If you’re a small-business owner, you’re thinking about year-end sales during the gift-giving season. And everyone is thinking about celebrating the holidays.

We’re taking a look back at some of the work we did with clients in the last few months of 2018. Bookmark it for summer when you’re stumped for end of year ideas. Break out of your routine and try something new! We hope you find inspiration…maybe even throughout the year.

Show, Don’t Tell

We love “going live” on Facebook or Instagram – wherever your audience is most engaged. And there’s no better time to do it when you’re gearing up to ask for a donation or purchase. It’s a wonderful way to demonstrate your brand and work in action.

Ahead of #GivingTuesday in November 2018, we worked with Levine Music to curate four Facebook live events – a virtual tour of the organization’s work, which included dropping in on a music class, a private lesson, and a rehearsal. Led by Alisa Ben-Ami, Levine’s Director of Engagement, the #lifeatlevine series was viewed by over 3,300 people on Facebook. And the best part? Levine can now reuse that valuable content - sharing it again on other social channels, via email, and on the web!

Julia Pimsleur of Daring Women went live along with a graduate of the organization’s training program for women of color entrepreneurs to explain the program’s value to followers. Their short Facebook interview included success stories and background information, then concluded with a donate ask. The presence of a program graduate really helped to bring this organization’s mission to life!

Give a Gift

Everyone’s inbox is flooded with nonprofit organizations and companies asking for something during the holiday season… Donate now! Buy this!

But you know the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive?” How about applying that to your end-of-year campaign? Last year, we implemented this approach with two of our clients and, well, the saying might be right.

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On #GivingTuesday, just after the tragedy at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA, Matan was inspired. Instead of asking for donations the organization donated five copies of a children’s book designed to cope with loss to every Jewish Federation in North America. Matan then asked their followers to join them and cover the cost of shipping… making it the organization’s most successful #GivingTuesday, yet!

Levine Music asked their community of professional musicians to share some of their favorite holiday songs and curated a Spotify playlist which was then shared with their email and social audiences. What a great way to keep you at top-of-mind while your constituents are going about their holiday chores and celebrations… This gift then built up to Levine’s final email series of the year with a strong fundraising ask.

Speaking of gifts, check out the #GivingTuesday Guide we helped to create with Salesforce.org. The resource is full of end of year specific tips and best practices for use all year long.

Start a Conversation

So many online interactions feel one-sided and this is the exact opposite of how we suggest our clients position themselves digital space. Your donors, clients, constituents, and fans should feel engaged with your brand, like they are part of your work and your team.

In October 2018, we worked with Salesforce.org to plan and execute a Twitter chat designed to debunk some myths about #GivingTuesday and help jumpstart great ideas for nonprofit organizations of all stripes. Digital fundraising experts Beth Kanter and Allison Fine took questions live and users could follow along at #GivingTuesdayMyths.

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On #GivingTuesday, Sefaria asked for stories, not donations. They asked those on their email list to share the ways in which the organization’s online library had impacted their lives. It’s such a win-win: You’ll remind your audience why they support your organization and you’ll build a great library of testimonials and warm anecdotes for when you need them.

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Make It Easy…and Fun

As your donors and customers get busier and busier with their own holiday plans and errands, anything you can do to help check some of those items off their list will help you stand out.

We worked with Calvert Woodley Wine & Spirits to curate a “12 Days” gift guide based on some of the shop’s most popular items. The gifts were available in-store or online. We reused similar content on CW’s social media and in email channels - both as a full guide and each stand-alone item. Building out 12+ days of content in one fell swoop is a bonus gift to yourself, honestly.

You’ll notice a common theme here, among all of these ideas: a focus on audience and addressing their needs, wants, and common questions during a chaotic time of year. Take the time to think about what your specific audience segments are doing at the end of the year and use these successful efforts to spark new ideas come November (or earlier!). Keep us posted - we can all find inspiration in each other’s work!

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