(Photo by Flickr user Blondinrikard Fröberg, used under a Creative Commons license)
“How to Give” is a monthly column by local philanthropy wizard Lansie Sylvia. In it, Lansie answers readers’ questions about millennials, philanthropy and engaging the next generation of givers. To ask her a question, tweet @FancyLansie.
THIS MONTH’S QUESTION:
At this month’s board meeting, an older board member asked me to head up our (all-volunteer) organization’s #GivingTuesday effort, presumably because my 9-to-5 is in digital content creation. Everything I’ve read indicates that to make any sort of effort impactful, we should have started planning months ago. Is it too late to plan for, and execute, a small but successful #GivingTuesday effort in Philadelphia?
As the poster child for one-day fundraising drives, #GivingTuesday — this year happening on Tuesday, Nov. 28 — inspires its fair share of advocates and detractors that make lots of pronouncements on why it’s the best, or worst, way to raise money at the beginning of the giving season. Like Googling a medical condition, you’re asking for trouble when you query the internet, “Should I do this?”
In brief, the pros to #GivingTuesday include national momentum, media opportunities and when done right, a strong kick-off to your year-end fundraising. The cons include getting drowned out in a noisy media landscape, too much effort for too little return and donor fatigue.
I’ve written and presented before about how it is 100 percent okay to sit #GivingTuesday out. You and your board shouldn’t feel obligated to participate any more than you would for a Valentine’s Day or National Donut Day push (Friday, June 1, in 2018, if you were curious).
If you do decide it’s the right move for your organization, then planning is key. So, I think you’re already ahead of the curve by thinking about it two months in advance! My professional opinion is you have enough time to plan for, and execute, a successful #GivingTuesday … as long as your fellow board members are going to step up and help you to do so.
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There are lots and lots of great ideas about how to use #GivingTuesday as a way to increase monthly donors, share gratitude for existing supporters, and more. I’m going to focus on helping you build the right team to execute whatever wonderful plan your board dreams up.
- The Leader — This one sounds like you. You’ll need to be the person keeping up on everyone and ensuring tasks are accomplished. You’ll lead the meetings and set the deadlines. Make it clear from the start that this is a team effort — ducks fly together!
- The Enforcer — When you have the numbers, it’s helpful for the Leader to have a #2 to help keep on top of tasks and personally reach out to other team members and offer support when things aren’t getting done. The Enforcer doesn’t have any tasks of their own other than to make sure the leader is getting what they need, and that no one else is feeling too slammed to get their own tasks done, too.
- The Content Creator — This could also be you … in which case someone else should be the Leader. Don’t take on too much! The Content Creator needs to create the gifs, Boomerangs, ‘grams, tweets, Facebook updates and email blasts that accompany the campaign. It’s a big job! I recommend getting a great brunch with a carafe of mimosas and bangin’ out the majority of this content early on. It’s much easier to edit later than create from scratch when you’re in the thick of things. Depending on numbers, this can also be split between two people — a Copywriter and a Designer.
- The Socialite — This person should thrive from creating new connections. They’ll be inviting people to the “event” on Facebook, sending personal emails to friends, calling and texting on the day-of to remind people and helping your team create new and important connections to the necessary local businesses, influencers and media contacts that will help make this effort successful.
- The Researcher — Working closely with the Socialite, the Researcher can help your organization understand what partnership opportunities are out there, who the key media contacts might be, where you can get coverage of your effort, and what other nonprofits are participating in #GivingTuesdayPHL. The Researcher discovers the leads, and then the Socialite activates them. This is a great role for someone detail-oriented who knows their way around a spreadsheet.
Depending on the size of your volunteer board, there are definitely more support positions that can be created. I highly recommend “The Seven Faces of Philanthropy” as a primer on using the natural talents of your board members to maximize their service. It’s one of my favorite philanthropy books.
Good luck. You got this! Quack, quack, quack!-30-
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