Somewhere along the way, the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday became as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey and pumpkin pie. So, six years ago, the bright minds at Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at 92Y in New York City launched #GivingTuesday as a counterbalance to the rampant consumerism that now surrounds a holiday founded on gratitude and community.
Through a massive social media effort, #GivingTuesday brings together individuals and families, businesses and corporations, nonprofits and civic organizations, and countries across the world to engage in small acts of kindness that show how much we care for one another. Held the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday has gained wide recognition and, for companies, become an important tool to kick off the charitable season of employee giving.
Why is #GivingTuesday so appealing to businesses? Simple: it offers a built-in marketing opportunity to promote a company’s values internally and externally, a one-day jolt of inspiration that’s trumpeted globally and connects employees to the power of philanthropy. We all need reminders about how our charitable efforts translate into social impact; #GivingTuesday offers a viral platform that brings purpose into focus.
But you know all of this.
Now it’s November, and the clock is ticking until this year’s #GivingTuesday on November 28th. You’ve been meaning to organize a campaign as a part of your company’s corporate volunteer and giving program, but with everything else on your plate you haven’t had a moment to get anything going.
Can your company participate in #GivingTuesday if you haven’t started planning a campaign yet?
Yes. We’ve abbreviated the 50-day planning campaign suggested by #GivingTuesday into a shorter cheat-sheet. Even if you have days to prepare, you can still fast-track a #GivingTuesday campaign that will engage your employees in this fun, seasonal philanthropy party.
How do your employees want to participate in #GivingTuesday (fundraising, volunteering, donating goods/items, an event, etc)? Get suggestions and find out how you can plug into existing relationships and efforts.
Is there a local organization/ nonprofit that you can easily collaborate with on your campaign?
Does your city have a civic campaign that you can be a part of? Check out the #GivingTuesday map to see which communities are organizing on #GivingTuesday.
2. Spread the word
Send out an email and social media messages to your community with a Save the Date for #GivingTuesday. Even if you don’t have your campaign plans finalized, get the date on their calendars so they’re primed to give. (Tip: you can use #GivingTuesday’s Save the Date graphic in your messages or create your own).
Think more about your goals. Make sure they’re ambitious but also within reach to achieve. You can use #GivingTuesday’s goalsetting ebook for tips.
How can #GivingTuesday highlight your organization’s work and impact? Think about rebranding #GivingTuesday as your own - e.g., #GivingZooDay, #GivingShoesDay, etc. Get creative and make your campaign speak to your community.
Line up your ambassadors or the members of your community who can really help amplify your campaign. Send them a note asking for their help and include some sample social media messages to send.
Share a story on why you’re participating on the #GivingTuesday blog so that they can share across their channels and get your company extra visibility.
Send out at least 2 Facebook and Instagram posts, along with 2 Tweets per week about your campaign. You can read more tips and ideas for social media in this toolkit. Remember to use hashtag #GivingTuesday so that they can retweet you.
3. Prepare to measure.
What tools will you use to track your campaign? How will you measure donations, volunteer hours, social media reach, etc? (If you’re using the Causecast platform, you’re already one step ahead.)
As you get closer to Nov. 28th, ramp up your social media campaign. Best practices are to share 1-2 posts on Facebook and Instagram, with 3+ Tweets a day.
4. Go big on #GivingTuesday
Don’t be shy about sharing and updating progress throughout the day. Aim to post 4-5 times on Facebook and Instagram, and every 2 hours on Twitter. Make sure to send updates about your goal and how your community can get involved.
Use lots of images and videos to help your messages stand out. #GivingTuesday has trended every year - be creative to get extra visibility and have fun with your campaign.
5. Say thanks
Send your employees and community a big thank you for their contributions and support, with pictures if you have them.
If you have initial results on your progress, share them.
If this is the kickoff to your holiday campaign, remind your community that the giving has only just begun.
Post a recap of your campaign highlights and results on the #GivingTuesday blog.
As you wrap up your overall holiday campaign, consider how you can plan for next year’s #GivingTuesday and fold it into your end of year philanthropy plans. With proper planning, #GivingTuesday is an easy way to boost your holiday campaign and create high visibility and excitement around your company’s giving goals.
This article originally appeared on the Causecast blog.