Giving Tuesday 2021 is around the corner, but does anyone know what’s in store for us this year? Will we see a surge similar to the pandemic-related giving of 2020? Will arts organizations and small nonprofits–many of whom saw steep declines last year–rebound? Will the increasing cost of living in many areas result in smaller gifts?
While the world has changed quite a bit since Giving Tuesday 2020, one thing that hasn’t changed is the uncertainty of navigating our new normal. That said, the same qualities that brought organizations record-breaking contributions in 2020 ($2.47 billion in the U.S. alone) will be essential once more in 2021: knowledge, preparedness, creativity, and a keen eye for opportunity. Luckily, these are qualities that nonprofit professionals have in spades!
So in the interest of helping you prepare for November 30, let’s take a look at the predictions for this year, and how they were informed by data from 2020. Then we’ll provide some specific recommendations on how digital engagement tools can help you make the most of Giving Tuesday 2021.
As you put your Giving Tuesday 2021 plans in motion, I highly recommend GivingTuesday Data Commons’ excellent analysis of last year, “Giving in Unprecedented Times: A Lookback at 2020 U.S. Giving Data & Trends” for insightful and actionable takeaways. For a quick overview, here are some metrics supplemented by insights from Engaging Networks:
One of the most common predictions for this year is that the surge in giving will settle, and that fundraising will more closely resemble pre-2020 giving. In 2020, new donors, high value retained donors, and recaptured donors were largely responsible for increases in overall fundraising dollars (+5.2%) and number of donors (+1.3%). These new donors drove an 11% increase in small donations between $101-$500 and reversed a five-year trend for donations under $100, which increased by .5%. At the same time, however, donor retention dropped significantly (-38%), indicating a high level of donor mobility. In other words, last year donors changed not only how much they gave, but also who they chose to receive their donations. In a year of great need, donors shifted their giving to the causes they felt were most important, and those causes were not, in many cases, the same as those they supported in 2019 and before.
What does that mean for this year? It means that many organizations will enter this year’s Giving Tuesday with large numbers of lapsed donors who contributed elsewhere in 2020 as well as new donors that they hope to retain. As a result, organizations should prioritize retention strategies (for new 2020 donors), and recapture strategies (for donors who stagnated in 2020). It also means that organizations who acquired large numbers of new donors have an opportunity to upgrade them this year and convert one-time gifts to recurring support.
Let’s take a look at some of the most helpful tools to accomplish these goals!
Given the circumstances, Giving Tuesday 2021 may sound like a tough needle to thread: you want to retain and upgrade new donors gained last year, but you also want to recapture donors who may not have had the interest or resources to contribute in 2020. While it certainly isn’t easy, I like to think that a few guiding principles can help keep us on track. For me, those are: make it personal, make it easy, and make it the first of many. Luckily, there are a number of digital tools to help you, all of which can be utilized with the Engaging Networks platform.
When it comes to retention and recapture strategies, the strongest tool at your disposal will be making use of your established relationship with a donor. You know who they are and what they care about, so use that in your outreach! Consider the following digital engagement tools to help:
Let’s be clear: a smooth and simple donor experience is always the goal, but on a day where the public is being appealed to from the entire nonprofit community, it’s absolutely essential. Here are a few ways to help your donors make the most of their day.
So far I’ve focused on tools to help you retain first-time donors from 2020 and recapture donors from previous years, but one of the most exciting opportunities offered by Giving Tuesday is of course the chance to find new people who are passionate about your mission. As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so be sure you’re putting your best organizational foot forward, especially on Giving Tuesday.
For more information on preparing for Giving Tuesday 2021, download our Giving Tuesday Checklist!
Looking for more Giving Tuesday ideas and case studies? Check out tips and tricks from year’s past:
We’ve just wrapped up a successful ENCC in Boulder, CO, USA. Time is running out to grab your seat at the upcoming ENCC UK – hybrid and in person in London starting on 25 May 2022!