Three years ago, Gravyty CEO Adam Martel and VP of Customer Success Lisa Alvezi rang the Nasdaq opening bell on the most high profile day of giving on the entire calendar: Giving Tuesday. Adam and Lisa started their day from Nasdaq's trading floor in New York to spread the message that giving initiatives should be supported year-round to further organizations' missions set on improving our world.
In 2021, the objective of Giving Tuesday remains essentially the same. Donors are still being encouraged to participate in the world's largest giving event. However, the landscape in which this takes place has changed drastically. The pandemic has rocked the institutions we hold dear, and the economy has not yet fully rebounded despite market gains. Unemployment remains high, inflation has impacted households across the country, and new variants prove we are not out of this pandemic yet. And, after a record year of philanthropic giving in 2020, many experts expect to see a natural dip in donor dollars this year, putting a premium on gifts in 2021.
However, for many nonprofits, Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity to connect with donors who otherwise would not have been on a fundraiser's radar. So how can you adapt and ensure you personally steward new donors while existing donors continue to feel appreciated for their support?
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Due to the massive number of gifts organizations see on Giving Tuesday, thanking all those donors provides a challenge in itself. And during another year of economic turmoil and increased need for services, those donation dollars go even further than before. Of course, donors still want to know that their gift is making a difference. But this influx of gifts can make personalized stewardship a challenge.
In the past, donors giving for the first time on Giving Tuesday flew under the radar for gift officers. With year-end giving now in full swing, fundraisers focus on their appeals to existing major donors rather than stewardship for new gifts that did not carry the weight as a major gift. However, as some major donors cannot give at the same level as previous years due to economic uncertainty, many organizations must strengthen the major gift pipeline. Ultimately, this starts with donors that gave for the first time on Giving Tuesday.
Major gifts do not appear out of the blue - they are the result of years of cultivation.
Although these donors probably will not become major donors right away, their gift, no matter how small, shows their affinity for your mission and their willingness to support it. This acknowledgment, no matter how small, is the first step in strengthening the giving pipeline. The second step is ensuring timely and personalized stewardship for that gift. Major gifts do not appear out of the blue - they are the result of years of cultivation.
As we think about how we can meet the moment on Giving Tuesday, ask yourself: what role does today play in this donor's journey? Someone who donates $5 will not get out their checkbooks for a more significant gift just because you ask. But a personal thank you after that smaller gift is a simple touchpoint that helps build a deeper relationship providing a pathway to that higher giving level.
Getting the most out of Giving Tuesday doesn't require reinventing the wheel. Many strategies you likely apply to your Days of Giving transfer to Giving Tuesday as well. So make sure you check out Gravyty's playbook for Days of Giving to learn best practices you can apply today to meet the moment now and for years to come.