Tweaks and pivots to consider for GivingTuesday and EOY Fundraising season

About this webinar on EOY fundraising and GivingTuesday tips

The third in our series of 30 minutes EOY fundraising webinars. Henri Makembe, CEO of Do Big Things, joins our own Eric Rubin to discuss the “tweaks and pivots to consider for GivingTuesday and EOY Fundraising season.”

This is the conclusion of a series of three EOY fundraising webinars led by nonprofit pros from across the industry. “The Quick Pivot” series offers pithy advice, tactics and tricks for making changes mid-stream with your EOY fundraising strategy.

Check out the first webinar of the series led by Yoonhyung Lee of M+R and second webinar led by Brenna Holmes of Chapman Cubine Allen + Hussey and Molly Kelly of Zuri Group.

This event took place on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 @ 12 PM EST.

Thank You

A special thanks to Henri Makembe of Do Big Things for his time and expertise in presenting this informative webinar.

The webinar presentation slides can be accessed here.

do big things eoy fundraising

But let’s go ahead and dig in without further ado as folks continue to join in, because we’re here for half an hour, the quick pivot, right? So just welcome everybody. Super excited to have Henry with us. Do big things. I’ve known Henry going back over ten years in the industry, not to date myself in nonprofit tech, but it’s really great to have him here and his expertise. Henry, do you want to do an intro to yourself and then I’ll intro and we’ll dig in?

Yeah, for sure. Hey, folks, thank you so much for joining us. Very excited for those of us who are not Canadians and the day after Thanksgiving, the day before Thanksgiving to join us. I am Henry Makembe. I am the CEO of two big things. I’ve been working in the advisory space for the better part of 20 years. And, yeah, had this thing at Blue State Digital Beekeeper Group, DCI Group, and currently two big things. Very excited to be here to talk about Giving Tuesday and do your fundraising.


Briefly engaging networks. What is it? It’s a fully integrated set of digital tools. We’ve been around 22 years. Email marketing, SMS automation events, fundraising, peer to peer advocacy, all in one space. And then with an open set of APIs that integrate with your salesforce razor’s, BBC, and Microsoft Dynamics. So full set of tools for building, growing, and engaging your list of supporters.

Most folks know that they’re on the call. And a little bit about DBT. We are progressive organizations, like I said, communication firm Digital Force.


We work typically with progressive causes and campaigns right. To use the power of the Internet to help them tell stories.


And when we are 50% people of color, right. We’re women owned and women led.


And really, again, focused on really building human centered digital programs. We’re about 35 folks spread throughout the country, right? Even though I do think the East Coast is the best coast, some of my colleagues based out in California will disagree with that statement. We’re kind of full service stop.


We do advertising, strategy mobilization. We do some content creation for your fundraising, specifically this year. And we also have an inhouse tech team that is pretty American gas. So we’re one stop shop for folks. Love it.


Thanks, Henry. All right, so we’re going to dig in now into some content. We’re going to talk about. So giving. Tuesday is one week away. So if folks might be ready to throw up thinking about the idea of tweaking their strategy with one week to go sorry if that wasn’t too visual, but the idea here is small tweaks. What can we do? It’s not a foregone conclusion. Giving Tuesday. There’s still little tweaks we can do. And then what do we do? Looking ahead to end of year, right? We don’t want to be so laser focused on Giving Tuesday that we forget that so much of our gifts come in end of year. So we’re going to talk a little bit more about some of the quick Pivots that we can do and Henry.

Is going to lead the way. Thank you. Thank you for that, Eric. I think a couple of things. We kind of divided the webinar into two large sections, one on Giving Tuesday and one on the fundraising. And I really try to build on some of the previous webinars that folks have covered.


So if you haven’t had a chance to watch the two previous webinar in this series, I encourage you to check those out when you have a moment. Right, so as Eric pointed out, we’re one week away.


So what are some of the things that we should really be focusing on and kind of trying to do in that spinning time?


So I think from a messaging standpoint, we should really try to connect the dots between kind of like the mission of the organization that you’re working for and the headlines and even if your issues are not covered that well. Because I think what that does is address some familiarity to both the supporters that are currently with you and any new supporters that want to be joining your cause. Right. And I think when people are familiar with something and say, hey, I’ve heard of this, they’re more likely to take action on your behalf. The second thing from a messaging perspective is acknowledged that it’s been a few tough years for folks. We had COVID and now we have the recession, we have inflation.


Whatever’s been going on in your personal life in terms of just like being a tough year, it’s probably been going on in our supporters life as well. So there are people behind the screens. So I think it’s okay to acknowledge that.


Also remind folks that supporting your organization is really about the long game. Giving Tuesday is a day, but really as far as we’re concerned, giving Tuesday should be every day for your organization and you’ve likely been around for quite a while and you’re going to be around after that. So let’s make sure to point that out to folks. And lastly, Giving Tuesday is one day, but it’s always remember to kind of thank our donors and our supporters after Giving Tuesday.


And I think that acknowledgement goes a long way in terms of keeping folks interested in what we do. Any questions there, folks, please drop them in the chat if anything comes to mind.

Yeah, please guys, as we go, drop questions and I’ll introduce them as we go. We can hit them in Q and A at the end.

Sure. In terms of tactics, again, we’re one week away, so I’m not going to tell you should have a plan and all of those things.


I think I’m just trying to offer a couple of tweaks that you can make between now and next week, right? Don’t reinvent a will. Like, I think at this stage of the game, don’t reinvent a will. Let’s kind of focus on what it’s worth in the past. So one idea of things that you may do is go revisit content that has performed well for you, whether it’s something that had high open rates, high click through rate, high conversion rate, and then see if you can repurpose those messaging for Giving Tuesday, right. Whether it’s on social media, email, etc. I think go back and look at some of your posts, perform well, and see if you can kind of tweak them and reuse them off the butt. Focus on one goal, right? Whether it’s raising as much as you can or reengaging folks or just getting folks to give a little bit more in terms of where they are, I think focusing on one goal allows you to really put all your resources in one place. I’m not going to tell you what that goal is. I think it varies based on the organization, right. But I think focusing on one goal really helps you there.

Next slide. Retargeting your messaging.


I think trying to appeal to everyone and everything, especially in this short time frame, will be very difficult. Are you focusing on donors versus donors? Are you focusing on recurring donors versus one time donors? And for organizations that are local, are you focusing on local supporters versus national versus international? What is kind of we’re doing? And if you’re doing all three or all two, what is going to kind of be the messaging and the tweets that you’re going to make to make sure that it is relevant to the reader right, to the folks that you’re engaging. And a lot has been made about kind of ads and social content and organic content, but don’t forget about ads. I think ads are a great way to also reach your audience. With most of the ad platforms, you can upload your email list and and create a custom audience so you make sure that you’re only serving the folks that you actually want to serve, too, and not going to the right audience. And if you’re looking to go to that broader audience right, you can create lookalike audiences and that can help you reach folks that are similar to the folks that you already have in your supporters list.

So you can be more efficient in terms of when it comes to donor acquisition and donor engagement and just for.

Some of the smaller orgs that might be on the call or listening. Henry so obviously it’s like your email game, right? Your distinct messaging games with one week of Giving Tuesday, in a month to end of year, what’s the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to ads? If I’m not doing a ton with ads, where do I start?

Yeah, I think the lowest fruit is probably Meta, right? Because you’re going to have the broadest reach there of your audience and they have about 30% to 35% matching rate, depending on how clean your data is.


And I think that’s a good place to start getting. And you can drive traffic right to your donation page.


Next slide. So something again is like you can test something but don’t test everything.


I think we’ve been made a lot of testing.


But I think given the timeline, it’s really much like a goal. Very good to focus on wanting to test. Donation form would obviously be the highest priority. Their content format, long email versus short email, video versus text with the images and the donation page. Test personalization. I think a lot of folks have been doing high name in the top of the email, but throughout the email you can also test personalization in terms of like action history, donation history, location, and this is something I think Engagement Works is perfectly set up to help you do. The more you can personalize the email, the better folks are going to be engaging with that. So personalization is something for you to test.

And Henry, we got a big question coming in from April. So April says our email clicks are significantly lower, especially on our buttons within the email this time around. We have two campaigns going on in Canada and the US. And it’s repetitive right now asking for donations almost every day. So I don’t know if you have any thoughts or suggestions there around that specific use case.

Yeah, for sure. I think it does get repetitive. Right. And I think the key there is to broaden, and I’ll go to this in the year fundraising, is to kind of broaden the stories that you’re telling. Right. Can you tell stories from another perspective? Either somebody who’s infected by the patient or somebody who’s giving to the organization or anything of that sort. So one of the things I see there is really trying to run the type of stories that we tell is where I would start to kind of address this.

Sorry, go ahead.


And I say last time giving to you, I think the one thing you want to do is also report back right. Both to your supporters and internally in terms of how you’ve done and share thank you. As well as the impact that the donation have had or will have. Any questions on Giving Tuesday before I kind of shift to end the year.

All right.

Again, giving Tuesday for most folks is part of end of year giving. So I think anything that I say moving on forward can be on top of what I’ve just said.


It’s not instead of, it’s more in addition to. And I think that that’s really important because I think a good end of your giving programs start maybe before Giving Tuesday uses Giving Tuesday as a milestone that continues throughout the remainder of the time.


And so that’s just something that to keep in mind. In addition to the kind of other items I’ve mentioned, I would say focus on impact.


In terms of ending your giving in April, this is something that as you go back through your emails, maybe you can see, are we sharing enough about the story of impact that we’ve done throughout the year when we’re asking for these donations?


One of the things that you want to do is also settle on the role of video. Folks have seen that we live in a more video friendly world these days, but are you going to use your videos for awareness or are you going to use it from conversion? Because how you decide how you’re going to use video will impact the type of script and type of writing and the type of videos that you produce, right. And so it is really important to kind of settle on that and so you have that. Lastly, create a sense of urgency. I think everybody on this call understands why we need a sense of urgency to kind of motivate people to give. So I won’t dive too deep into that. Another thing I would encourage folks to do is when diving into a tactic is really defining your team, right. And the reason why that is, is I think we’ve all talked about, hey, your fundraising should be integrated and that approach should be really across the department. Well, when you define a team structure and you bring in different departments, that automatically lends itself to being integrated.


So I think an easier way to make your donations and your fundraising more integrated is to bring various folks to the table and have those voices at the table from the beginning and they could bring their perspective and help make your program more integrated from the get go, right? The other thing I’d encourage you to do is revisit previous year’s performance, right? I think we’re all very focused on like, hey, what’s going to happen this year, what are the goals and all of that. But I think revisiting some of the paint points, some of the stuff that work, some of the stuff that didn’t work, really help us kind of build towards the future and make sure that we are not repeating some of the mistakes right. That we’ve made and we’re solving some of the pain points that we’ve experienced in the past proactively, right. So we can have a smoother time, just go around, really. And then I think that’s something if your organization did and do your fundraising back the previous years, if they have any sort of report that can help anchor some of your vision towards the future, it would also be helpful.

I think that enough folks do that. Lastly, it’s tire of your digital infrastructure. What can your platform do? If you have an engagement platform, they can do a lot for you. Do you understand how that if you have something else? I kind of understand what’s possible, what’s not possible. So you’re not kind of trying to do things that the platform cannot do and you find yourself in the find a little bit down the road.

I love it. April added to comment. Thank you so much, April. That their emails were like novels last year. We do have an impactful video for Giving Tuesday. All our stories are set, so we always focus on the connection. That’s very interesting.


I don’t know if you have any thoughts about length of emails, length of content, how to integrate video into campaigns and such.

Yeah, I think we’ve seen that a length of emails. We’ve actually seen that some longer emails end up performing better. Right. That’s really interesting. It’s really about the story and the narrative storytelling and the structure of the story that we’re telling.


And I think a lot of folks would do that. So in terms of video, again, going back to what is the is it to kind of raise awareness and create that connective tissue that then allows you to follow up with an oscillator down the road?


Is always great. Like, right. People remember videos and stories more than they remember kind of stats upfront. So I think the fact that you’re doing a video is already great.

Love it.

We connect families with flights of compassion to reunite them with a family member who is at the end of life.


Those are powerful stories to tell, I’m sure.

Yeah, very much so.

And so I love to open it up to the audience. I think I think that we reached the end of our core content. Is that right, Henry?

I think I have a couple more.

Oh, you have more? Never mind.

Yeah. Full of content.

I love it. Ms. Free, one question just to the audience, folks. What’s one way that you have pivoted? So as you’ve approached Giving Tuesday, as you’re moving towards end of year, please drop into the chat. What’s one thing that you guys noticed midstream or was an easy tweak that you’ve made that’s either helped you refocus your campaigns, alter results that weren’t showing up the way you wanted to. So go ahead. As we come towards the Q and A here, drop those into the panel for us.

Yeah, that’s a great. I would definitely love to learn from folks what they’ve tried that’s working and what’s not working. So that knowledge sharing in the communities, I think very important in terms of additional tactics at the end of the year here, optimizing your landing pages and your donation pages. I think a lot of folks feel like they need to have one landing page or one donation page. You can actually have multiple you can have multiple different audience. And so really thinking through what that is and really removing kind of any friction that the user, my experience, and making sure that you have multiple ways folks can donate there and then track everything so you can be able to go back and say, okay, this work, this didn’t work, right? Because it’s really important. You don’t want to be doing that too fast in advance. Try new channels. COVID I think, forced people to try things like virtual events, virtual auctions. There is no reason why these things should go away this year. Maybe rethink how they’re done, but they should be continuing to be part of kind of like the end of your package.

Peer to peer fundraising is something that you could also tap into, right? If you have folks that have been supporters for a very long time, maybe this is how and they’ve given the same amount kind of every year, maybe this is another way to get them engaged. If we haven’t been able to help the kind of thing they’re giving. SMS, again, if you haven’t thought about it, is another way to go into it. Another thing that I’m seeing a lot of organizations do and help some folks do it is influencer engagement. And in this case, we’re not talking about your A list from Hollywood, but the really folks who have built an online community that care about an issue, whether they love going camping, whether they go, anything like that, you can kind of figure out what they are into, find them and get them to tell you stories as well. Again, building Ambassador and then think about longitudinal testing. I think Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday makes it so you can test things right in a moment. But end the year allows you to set up different tests, whether it’s multi channel testing, whether it’s really and if you have a small list, repeating the same test over and over right.

Allows you to also kind of build a greater data set that makes your result more meaningful, so you can set up longer testing periods and that can also be helpful and for your learner as well. And lastly, after Giving, I think really thank your donors, right? Take some time to do some post analysis. One thing I like to encourage folks to do is really identify one or two items that they would like to continue trying and testing throughout the year, right? What is one thing that you’ve learned from this period that that would be something that you like to continue?


And then revisit the onboarding series. I think a lot of us have welcome series and onboarding series that oftentimes we don’t go back to, right? So I think those first couple of weeks in January is the time to say, hey, what can we tweak here based on kind of what we’ve learned during a fundraising period both in Giving Tuesday and End the year, and that Eric, is all the content that we have for today.

I love it. Yeah.

And thanks a couple thank you properly. In a second, I want to get into some of the folks that shared Kelsey. And folks, if you could drop in also what organization you’re with, I think it’s really interesting for folks to see who else on the call with us. Kelsey wrote that shortening emails to include less reading and more visuals and keeping asks up top so donors before it see it before they have to scroll. We know just how many emails folks are getting both from us and we can assume from other nonprofits that they’re excited about last year. Michael Ragdale says last year we saw a lot of comments along with gifts noting they were happy to have their gift matched. So we made that messaging more prominent with bolding.


Simple step, just bolding up the language and around match, we know how well matches work. The numbers are there. And let’s see, mine says that the trust. We’ve added a pledge to give on Giving Tuesday with a calendar link that we’ve teased out. That’s really interesting. So keeping that focus on the sort of deadline of the day.


Welcome Kelsey from at the table.

Oh, cool.

Lots of exciting folks. Yeah. Any other bits or tidbits that folks want to share about things that they’re doing that they’re excited about in the comments? We’ve got about five minutes left, so please, any questions for Henry that we have take advantage of his extensive expertise to answer any questions about any problems tweaks that you need to make in your current moment.


And I know Henry’s got a couple of case studies in there which we will be sharing the slide deck as a follow on resource. But yeah, this is really the emphasis. OK, April, got a great question. How do you manage multiple matches on Giving Tuesday? We have board match miles, match etc.

Yes, I think that is a very good question. I think there’s a case to be made to try to figure out what the most advantageous one would be to promote on Giving Tuesday and maybe use a tactic like a pledge.


For folks I can’t give on Giving Tuesday and follow up with those folks with the other matches between sometimes after giving Tuesday. So really, maybe using one for giving Tuesday and then teasing it towards the end that others are coming right. And asking folks to pledge.


Either the day after, right after, or something like that. That way I think if you have too many matching options, folks might get confused.


And then I think we want to, again, simplify things.

I love it.

That’s a great question. That’s a good problem to have.


And then April adds, we have a pledge form for those who don’t have United or Aeroplanes miles. So that’s really interesting. It sounds like there’s an opportunity to give in kind. April, that’s specifically miles. That’s a very interesting sort of unique. So it sounds like people are doing stuff with pledges, with inkind, giving jan ads. Last year we used one gift match to market our sustainer program, saying the first two gifts would be matched for every commitment. That’s really cool. That’s really unique. Obviously, we know sustainer giving is the sort of holy grail of making that ongoing commitments and not just that one time end of your gift. And so that’s really cool to tie matching gifts with your sustainable giving, which is sort of seems almost counterintuitive based on everyone has that one thought that oh, it’s got to make this $100 match this one time. But I really love that they got 26 new monthly donors. Awesome. That sounds like a great win.


Well, we have just to go ahead, do you have anything else to add about Inkind pledges, alternative ways of setting up?

Yeah, I think again, two things I would mention here is for those folks that have sustained donors, maybe try to get some of those stories and then try to have them be senders of the emails because I think folks want to see people like them as part of their organization and that foster that community. Right again. So if you have a sustained journal that’s been given for a while that has the great story, have them be the sender of an email. For example, I think this is something that NPR does very well about why do I give to NPR, right? So something like that. I think it is worth using that as well. And you have other things, I think you have Facebook encouraging folks to give their birthday to fundraise for you, right. Even asking them to pledge. That is something that you can do as part of the end of your given as folks have already given. So totally things that make sense as well, things to try.

I love it.

And April says we have past sponsors become flight heroes during campaigns to encourage their staff to donate.

I love it. I love it.

So, employee giving, obviously we work with double the donation as a plug in and engaging networks. So lots of ways to bring in employing giving employee matches and that’s with sponsors specifically. So awesome. Couple minutes left, any other thoughts? Henry, do you have any thoughts about employee giving and how that can be brought in to end of year?

I think employees are the best investors for any brands. I think they work to believe in the cause. And I think that’s folks in terms of the organization itself, but I think when there’s a lot of organizations that match employee giving so reminding folks that that’s possible, making it very easy for folks to find out if the company matches a gift, especially some of the larger companies, would also help a long way.


And that’d be great.

And Henry, actually as an outcome of this webinar has agreed to match anyone’s gift to any organization that’s on the call. So it’s really generous of him.

I kid.

Awesome. Well, we’re at the thank you so much, everybody.

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