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Hubbub’s Top Six Ways to Ensure Giving Day Success

Giving Days

Giving Days are a brilliant way to engage donors from a variety of different segments - they create a buzz like no other and they help establish a culture of giving that can be built upon year on year. But when it comes to actually running a Giving Day, there are a few key areas that teams should concentrate on to ensure their Day is a success. Here are our top six suggestions based on running more than 200 Giving Days worldwide. 

For these and other tips, make sure to attend our upcoming webinar "Giving Day - Are you Ready" - Subscribe here.

Gather Buy-In Early On 

While a Giving Day can be seen as an activity that’s led by the regular or annual giving team, it actually requires everyone in the institution to be on board with the Day in order for it to be a success. Ideally, you’ll want to start increasing buy-in 9 months in advance of your Giving Day. 

Starting at the top, CEOs, heads of the institution, Vice-Chancellors, Boards, Governors and Trustees all need to be engaged in a way that publicly endorses the campaign. Without the involvement of leadership, potential donors may not feel the campaign is a priority, which is especially true if you hope to engage internal stakeholders, such as teachers and staff, in your campaign.

Aside from those in leadership roles, who else should be on board with your Giving Day?

  • Major and Leadership Giving Colleagues - The opportunity for donors to have their gift matched on the day or for that gift to be counted towards a particular challenge goal, plays a big role in the success of your Giving Day. For this reason, it’s important that those in the team who manage relationships with major donors are involved early on so that the gifts they solicit for Giving Day can be used to help to lead the way.
  • Communications Colleagues - Whether they are those who manage alumni/fundraising communications or those responsible for managing wider institutional communications, these colleagues are integral to ensuring your messaging is effective and that it reaches the widest possible audience via email and social media. 
  • Data and Gift Processing Colleagues - Good communications require good data and good segmentation. Ensure colleagues who manage this process are involved in discussions early on so that you can collaborate throughout the planning process. Your Giving Day will (hopefully) also accumulate a large number of donations - so it’s important that Gift Processing team members are consulted on how a sudden increase in gifts may affect their workload and what processes might need to be in place to ensure this goes as smoothly as possible.
  • Alumni Relations or Donor Engagement Colleagues - While Giving Day is primarily an opportunity to raise funds, there are also ways for your community to get involved outside of donating by becoming a Giving Day Ambassador. Asking team members involved with Alumni Relations and/or Donor Engagement to lead this area of the Giving Day can provide the additional resource needed to make an Ambassadors Programme a Success. Read last month's blog to learn more about how to engage with Ambassadors to increase the results of your Giving Day.
  • Internal Champions - The opportunity to encourage pupils and staff to participate in your Giving Day can be a major benefit - but you might need to enlist the influence of those who are already champions of giving to use their voices to get others on board. 

Set Realistic Targets

It’s great to be ambitious with your Giving Day targets, but you also want to make sure that targets are realistic and are based on both benchmarks and your own data. A ‘finger in the air’ approach can be dangerous - especially if you’re running your first ever Giving Day. These campaigns are very public so you want them to be seen as successful and this success is invaluable to creating a sustainable Giving Day programme that runs, ideally, every year.

Ideally, for Giving Days a donor target that is centred around participation is best. Focusing on participation allows every donor to take part - no matter how much they might be able to give. It also creates a feeling of community and that everyone is ‘in it together’ to reach one common goal. 

When it comes to setting targets, you’ll firstly want to take a look at the results of other Giving Days from institutions that are similar to yours. Get in touch with those teams to speak with them about their experience. ‘Similar’ may mean those institutions have a comparable case for support, database size, communications strategy, audience affinity, team capacity or the available pot of match and challenge funding (read more below). It is important to note the similarities and differences between your institution and those you're benchmarking against so that you can set realistic targets and expectations. 

Secondly, use your own data to understand what you might be able to achieve from your Giving Day. Even a rough estimate based on audience size, average response rate (preferably based on other digital campaigns) and most common gift size can give you a good idea of what your baseline targets for participation and income might be.

Interested in what your results might be for your first or next Giving Day? Use our Giving Day Simulator to find out more.  

Incentivise Giving with Matches and Challenges

As mentioned in tip 1, one of the best ways to encourage donors to get involved in your Giving Day is to encourage their participation through the use of match and challenge gifts. The more match and challenge funding you have, the longer this incentive lasts. Here’s our take on some of the most common questions we get about matches and challenges.

  • What’s the difference between matches and challenges? The overall match can be any amount and is used to double every donation until the amount of available matched funding has been reached. Challenges are funds that are released when a certain milestone is reached. For example - once 100 donors have made a gift, £1,000 will be unlocked and added to the overall total. 
  • How much match and challenge funding should you have? Our rule of thumb is to have 50% of the overall value that you want to raise from Giving Day committed by match and challenge donors before the day starts. For example if you want to raise £100,000 in total - £50,000 should be from your match and challenge donors
  • What if our pool of match and challenge donors isn’t very large? You don’t just need one big gift - your matches and challenges can come from a wider range of donors that are pooled together to increase the value of the pot. Anyone with the capacity to give £1,000 or more should be considered a potential match and challenge donor.

Focus on Email

For most Hubbub Giving Days, donations prompted by an email will account for 90% of all Giving Day donations. For this reason, it is important that your emails inspire donors to get involved. Here are a few of our top tips.

  • Focus on the ‘Why’ - giving is emotional and should be influenced by creating people to people connections.
  • Use a variety of storytellers to help provide a variety of reasons as to why donors should get involved and to attract a wider audience of donors.
  • Send emails before the day to warm up your audience as well as 8 to 10 emails on the day itself to keep momentum going.
  • Communicate progress of the day and key milestones towards unlocking challenges to create a journey that donors can engage and follow along with.
  • Know that people will unsubscribe - Giving Day may not be for them, and that’s okay. Set clear expectations with your audience so they know that email communications will increase during the event itself. And for those who wish to opt-out of Giving Day emails, offer them a simple and easy way to do this.
  • Use an email sending service that allows you to create well designed emails (on both mobile and desktop) that doesn’t give you a maximum send limit per day. Send In Blue is our preferred option for sending emails.

Other channels such as social media should also be used to supplement what’s being communicated via email, however, social media is mostly used for creating a buzz rather than converting donors.

For more information on creating effective email communications, watch our webinar “Tips for Creating Engaging Emails” on demand now.

Conversion, conversion, conversion

Not all Giving Day platforms are created equal. You want to make sure that your Giving Day platform is going to create the best experience for your donors so that you can convert as many donors as possible. 

According to M+R Benchmarks, the standard conversion rate for online giving forms in 2021 was 17%. Conversion of our Giving Day platform is 70% - a metric we’re very proud of because it means our platform, along with the best practice advice we give to our customers, is helping to increase conversion at every available opportunity. 

From our platform’s totalisers and activity feeds to features like the leaderboards, challenges and the donor wall - every part of our Giving Day platform is designed to help you communicate the impact of your Giving Day.

Celebrate your success and evaluate your results

Finally, once Giving Day has finished, celebrate your success and thank everyone who was involved. While this seems obvious - publicly celebrating the results of your Giving Day can reinforce the activity with those who may have been more sceptical about its potential - encouraging them to participate in the next Giving Day.

As the dust settles on your Giving Day, also find time to review the campaign. Evaluate the planning and execution of your Giving Day to celebrate the achievements of your team, while also pinpointing things that could be opportunities for next year. And take a look at your data - noting how your audience participated and what you can learn from their engagement for future years.

In Conclusion

As you can see - Giving Days require a certain amount of readiness and execution to ensure their success but knowing where to focus your efforts is half the battle. In our next Hubbub Webinar, we’ll be taking time to talk more about each of these topics to dig even deeper on each one. Make sure to attend our next webinar on Thursday, 20th April at 3pm BST. Subscribe here.

Written by a real life human - not a chat bot.

Kat Carter

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