Home > Articles > Wisdom from the GAgives Kickoff archive: A pre-event roundup

Wisdom from the GAgives Kickoff archive: A pre-event roundup

Our 2019 GAgives Kickoff & Rally is right around the corner, promising a wealth of insight on what goes into a successful GAgives on #GivingTuesday campaign.

If you’re still undecided about joining us for a morning of inspiration and advice – complete with a keynote speech from #GivingTuesday Digital Strategy and Community Engagement Director Kathleen Murphy Toms, and two panel discussions with top GAgives campaigners – we’ve put together this sampler of practical takeaways from past years’ events. (Further takeaways can be found here, here, and here.)

On setting a goal

Jamie McDonald, Community Lead at #GivingTuesday: A goal is not just about what you want to accomplish on that day, a goal is like a theme for a party: If you’re throwing a Cinco de Mayo party, you’re not going to decorate with leprechauns and shamrocks. Setting a goal is one of the most effective ways to frame a campaign.

On preparing supporters

Megan Rock, Executive Director of Girl Talk: We come up with the “creative” in advance, and then we produce toolkits specific to those using them – our board, our partners, our chapters. The toolkit philosophy is to make campaigning as easy as possible: They have to be able to copy-and-paste the material, otherwise you don’t know what you’ll get.

Ankur Chaterjee, Board President of Enduring Hearts: 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.

On securing matching gifts

Grace Murphy, Director of Development at Canine Assistants: We work with not just one foundation or donor, but with multiple donors to see if they can increase their gifts just a little bit to help us incentivize giving from others. With that strategy, we’re able to match typically up to $50,000.

Rock: We partner with a local family foundation that generally gives their gift at the end of the year, so now they time it with #GivingTuesday to match what people give. We also get a lot of in-kind donations from various partners, and we’ve been able to use some of those items to encourage outreach. For instance, if you refer two friends who donate, you get a prize.

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!”

On campaigning online

McDonald: If you're telling a strong story in an effective way to an audience who cares, you can tell them that story every day. The problem is not donor fatigue: The problem is crappy marketing. You need to be proud of the work that you do, and put that out there: “What we do is changing lives,” not, “Please give me money.”

Andrew Moon, Digital Strategist at Edelman Public Relations: 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.

Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, Community Engagement Associate at Global Village Project: 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.

Lynn Moyer, founder and CEO of Luminate Marketing: 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.

On keeping up the momentum

Melissa Brogdon, Director of Development and Communications at Emmaus House: We try to make the board members feel appreciated: We put them in the newsletter and put in thank-you calls. I clear my schedule on #GivingTuesday so I can just monitor the internet, and when a board member gets their first donation I’ll shoot them a quick email: “Oh my god, you’re rocking it.” Thanking your workers also helps make sure you won’t have lost them as a resource next year.

Looking for more insight? Be sure to sign up for the 2019 GAgives Rally & Kickoff, taking place Sept. 19 at the Woodruff Arts Center.

Marc Schultz is communications editor at GCN.

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