Giving Tuesday is set for November 27 this year. Giving days have become a popular way for colleges and universities, as well as other groups, to raise money and engage alumni. According to a 2015 study, 42 percent of schools surveyed employed days of giving as fundraising tools.
Whether they are held on Giving Tuesday or another date, the 24-hour giving challenges offer schools, colleges and universities a way to engage alumni and raise money to support various areas of need. Some institutions choose to have financial goals and others set participation goals, often to increase alumni support.
Notre Dame, Purdue University, the University of California, Santa Barbara and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville have conducted giving day campaigns that resulted in gifts to their institutions and buzz among alumni. Here are five tips that contributed to their success:
- Use a vendor: “Don’t try to build your own platform,” says Chris Pizzinat, deputy director, Office of Development at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “If you try to create this on your own without going through a vendor platform who has a lot of experience doing this stuff, you’re setting yourself up for failure, I think.”
- Make it easy for departments to help: “Create a toolkit with all the branding and messaging and literally every element,” says Kate Jolly, director of digital fundraising at Purdue University. “If it’s less work for the departments, they are more likely to promote it. And if they promote it, it only helps us, so give them all the tools they need.”
- Recruit volunteer fundraisers: “Our model really is [to] activate leaders who can influence different networks,” says Pablo Martinez, associate director of development at Notre Dame. “We rely heavily on peer-to-peer research and how that’s more successful than an institution making an ask.”
- Include challenges. “Challenges and matches make all the difference in the world so be sure you spend time lining [them] up,” says Lauren Herbstritt, director of new media fundraising for annual giving at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
- Give yourself time to plan: “Start early and be organized,” says Herbstritt. “It’s a tremendous amount of planning.”
Though this advice is targeted at educational institutions, much of it is applicable to any organization hoping to create a day of giving campaign
Evangeline W. Robinson is an assistant professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She teaches a course on nonprofit marketing communications.