Give to the Max Day 2012 is coming up next month, and online giving of all sorts becomes more important every year. Jeff Achen, digital strategist at GiveMN.org, shares some tips with us here on making the most of a Give to the Max Day campaign. Many of these tips can be put to good use in many other online giving campaigns!
During 2012’s Give to the Max Day, Nov. 15, Minnesotans will donate millions of dollars to thousands of their favorite nonprofits, schools and community foundations. Ensure your GiveMN pages are ready with these best practices for online giving.
Do an image audit
It’s a good idea to do an audit of your organization’s online pages and profiles at least every six months. And, it is especially important to clean house prior to Give to the Max Day when tens of thousands of visitors will visit the fundraising site “shopping” for a cause.
Start with your GiveMN organization page. Is there a more recent photo or video you could add, or perhaps even create? Is your language up-to-date? Do you need to delete any old fundraising or project pages? Do whatever you can to make sure your nonprofit is represented well on Give to the Max Day.
Create a communication plan
Having a game plan as you head into the big day will help your nonprofit capitalize on the publicity and prizes Give to the Max Day provides. Communications planning is one of the most important areas on which to focus, so take a fresh look at your website, social media properties, blog, e-newsletter and print communications.
Use your communications to let supporters know about Give to the Max Day, why it’s important to back you on this day in particular, how to make a donation and what that donation will accomplish. Strategize about message frequency, channel and tone of communications.
Find or offer a match on donations
Offering matching dollars on donations is a great incentive to donors who enjoy making their donations go further, and if a nonprofit creates a matching grant for Give to the Max Day, it will be highlighted with other matches on the Give to the Max Day homepage.
For nonprofits: Once you’ve found a donor to match contributions, setting up the match on GiveMN is easy. Determine the dollar amount, name of the grantor (or anonymous), time period, and whether it will be created as a dollar-for-dollar match or as a challenge grant (met when a specified number of donors contribute).
For foundations: The first step is finding a nonprofit with which to partner. Then, once the match amount is determined, the nonprofit should set it up as outlined above. When the match time frame is complete, the nonprofit should report how much of the match was met and the foundation will arrange payment to the nonprofit. Foundation matching dollars do not need to be donated through GiveMN.org.
Engage your advocates
Amplify your appeals by reaching out to those in your network who already know and support your organization’s work. Ask for their help and provide them with messages they can easily customize and pass along to their email contacts and social networks.
Thank your donors
GiveMN allows nonprofits to customize the automatic email donors receive after making a donation. Take the time to update that message through the GiveMN administrative dashboard, but realize that it serves primarily as a tax receipt and acknowledgement of a donation. It shouldn’t be the only thank you message donors receive from your organization.
Using GiveMN, your organization could add a thank you video to its page. And then consider other avenues to follow-up and thank each of your donors appropriately.
Join the conversation: What are your best practices for a successful online giving campaign?