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Campaign kickoff tips from GAgives vets

As part of our GAgives on #GivingTuesday kickoff event, held at GCN headquarters for a crowd of nonprofit pros, we discussed campaign preparation with a panel of seasoned GAgives veterans. At the top of the agenda: engaging supporters and netting new donors through social media and Max My Gift matching funds. Below, we’ve gathered a few of the takeaways (edited for brevity), but you can also check out the entire discussion on our peer-learning Facebook group.

Moderated by GCN President and CEO Karen Beavor, the panel featured:

  • Andrew Moon, Digital Strategist at Edelman Public Relations, one of our very first GAgives partners.

  • Ankur Chaterjee, outgoing ED and ongoing Board President of Enduring Hearts, which took home more than $400,000 on GAgives day 2016.

  • Lynn Moyer, founder and CEO of Luminate Marketing, which specializes in marketing and fundraising services for nonprofits.

  • Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, Community Engagement Associate at Global Village Project, which has made GAgives their second-largest fundraiser of the year.

Understanding social media channels

Andrew Moon: Your triad of major social media platforms is Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each serves its own distinct purpose.

Facebook is highly shareable. It’s perfect for telling your story through videos and photos, and also great for driving people to your website or an article about you: Put a link into your status update box, and it renders a preview that really helps drive traffic. And everyone is on Facebook these days, not just one particular demographic.

Twitter is a great way to engage local, or even national, media. Tweet at local reporters and news stations: they are always looking for local stories.

LinkedIn is perfect for building relationships with anyone in the corporate space. Any time you push out content, make sure to share it through LinkedIn as well, so it’s visible to potential corporate partners who are researching you.

Lynn Moyer: Take advantage of the tools that social media outlets are releasing to boost giving and outreach. Rebrand your social media channels for GAgives, at least for the day, if not for the whole week. When posting, be sure to include both #GAgives and #GivingTuesday hashtags: You want the exposure of the global #GivingTuesday movement.

Moon: Plug into ongoing conversations by using hashtags that authentically align with your organization. Hashtags are important on Twitter and Instagram, which both skew younger. When using Instagram, make sure that you have your visuals together, and a plan for gathering more.

Moyer: For Millennials and even younger, I’d recommend making a big push toward Instagram.

Rolling out your online campaign

Moon: Don’t be scared, don’t overthink it, and don’t overdo it – just get started. Snap a quick photo of your work and tell people how great it is. Start with three Facebook posts a week, three tweets a week, one LinkedIn post a week, and you’re off.

Teni-Ola Ogunjobi: I started by thinking about what kind of story I wanted to tell, the demographics of our supporters, and what would get them engaged. I created a simple calendar in Word. For each date, I wrote down what I wanted to say through Facebook, Twitter, and email, thinking about which message works best with each platform. Every week, I made sure I had at least three posts on each channel, reminding people what was coming and that we want them to get involved.

Karen Beavor: I call that the drumbeat – you start a drumbeat, and find ways to keep it going.

Moyer: Write out your goals. They might not be about money – because social media is great for exposure, you might use GAgives to get new people into your cultivation funnel. You can still go after the big gifts through more targeted means – a phone call, lunch, event, or email – aimed at existing donors.

Securing Max My Gift Challenge  funds

Ankur Chaterjee: We solicit board members to reach out to their business contacts and our stalwart donors to ask for matching gifts. We start prepping in June, so we have enough to use as marketing tools to get other donors excited – I’ve actually used the exact words, “Don’t let us leave money on the table!” People like the idea of magnifying their dollars, making smaller gifts really important.

Beavor: That’s a great tactic: If you have donors who you know are going to give anyway, why not make a matching grant out of their gifts? Ask them to challenge other donors.

Chaterjee: For each GAgives day, I add a “project” card on my LinkedIn profile highlighting what we did and how much we raised. Refer potential matching gift-makers to that: If they see how successful those efforts have been in the past, it’s easier for them to commit.

Beavor: People have also used social media mentions as a challenge: “I’ll give a dollar for everyone who uses this organization’s hashtag.”

Make easier asks

Chaterjee: We give scripts to our board members, but we tweak them every year so donors aren’t hearing the same thing. And when board members personalize them, they can activate their networks much more easily.

Ogunjobi: We leveraged our fall event, a community-building walk, as a GAgives day kickoff. Ahead of the walk, following a performance from our girls and a message from Clarkston’s mayor, we announce GAgives and explain what it is. We put GAgives signs up throughout the walk, and at the end we have an “Unselfie” photo booth where people can write down what they love about our organization and take a photo of themselves with their message. We ask them to post their selfies to social media, and provide sample tweets and Facebook posts.

Beavor: Another way to leverage events is through mingling. I’ll bring it up casually: “Did you hear about GAgives on #GivingTuesday? We’re all doing it!” You could even arm your people with business cards that have all the relevant links.

Videos, photos, and the image-challenged

Moyer: Authentic-feeling videos are the ones going further now, as opposed to scripted or composed videos. All you need is a phone and a few best practices: Make sure the phone is propped up and not shaky, and make sure the lighting is good.

Ogunjobi: We don’t use any special apps for videos. We record using an iPhone, and we edit it in Instagram or Facebook using the tools that those platforms provide.

Chaterjee: If you need to modify video, add overlay, or other specific things, Canva is a really good app for that.

Moon: If images are a challenge because of confidentiality requirements, think about using quotes pulled from testimony or interviews. Using Canva, you can input text and export it as an image. Keeping quotes short make them a perfect fit for social media sharing.

Moyer: Statistics work too. If you make them look great, people will want to share them. However, keep in mind that Facebook has rules that requiring that text take up no more than a certain percentage of an image.

Beavor: Another way to get around confidentiality concerns in images is with clever framing: Maybe you show one hand holding another, an artfully blurred face, a silhouette, or shots of people from behind.

Moyer: You can also outsource motion graphics videos, those animated clips that everybody loves. Just google “cheap motion graphics videos” and you’ll find sourcing options. You can get a 30- to 120-second video, using your script and graphics standards, for about $100.

Beavor: At our WSB-TV event, there was a presentation on an array of visual and other communications apps, most of them free. You can see the complete list on our website.


Is your nonprofit participating in our first-ever GAgives on #GivingTuesday? Visit GAgives.org to create a profile on GAgives.org. And whether or not you choose to run your campaign on GAgives.org or another platform, we invite you to leverage our free on-demand webinars, toolkit, articles, and other resources. (learn more here.) And be sure to join us on social, tagging #GAgives and #GivingTuesday!

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