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65% of Fortune 500 Companies offer corporate matching gift programs and about 10% of the US workforce are eligible for corporate matching gifts. Yet $4-7 billion in potential corporate matching gift revenue goes unclaimed annually and the average fundraising institution receives just 1.31% of individual contributions in corporate matching gifts.

This means that you might be able to exceed your annual fundraising target with a little extra effort on donor relationship management. But claiming matching gifts must become a crucial fundraising tactic.

Because not all employers offer matching gift programs and many donors who are eligible for matching gifts don't know what the process will entail. In fact, according to Double the Donation, 78% of match-eligible donors aren't aware that their employer offers a matching gift program and only 7% of match-eligible donors submit a matching gift request. Also, you'll need to gather and measure a lot of data from many sources.

In this blog post, we'll discuss these issues and show you how to solve them.

1. Most Donors Don't Know That They're Eligible

Do you know that 84% of donors say they're more likely to donate if their gift will be matched? And one-third of donors are likely to give a larger gift if matching will be applied to their donation?

But 78% of donors don't know about the existence of matching gift programs within their company. And this hurts fundraising.

Solving this problem is not as simple as asking donors to submit requests for their gifts to be matched.

This is because many match-eligible donors are unfamiliar with the process. They won't know where to start, which departments they should consult and how long the process might take. Some might be concerned that their employers won't have matching gift programs. All these concerns are valid because not all organizations match employee donations. And those that do have restrictions.

In most cases, these restrictions cover certain types of nonprofits, the ratio of corporate gifts per employee donation, types of employees, the gifts amount and time frames for when donations can no longer be matched. Because of these restrictions, it isn't smart to expect donors to find all these answers themselves. The process might be slow, discouraging and confusing.

You must help them discover whether their employer offers a matching gifts program, if they are eligible and answers to related questions.

But you don't need to hire a research team to unearth matching gift information about a donor's employer. With a reliable matching gift software, you can solve this problem effortlessly. Learn more about how to use a good software for claiming matching gifts in our free webinar.

2. Analyzing Data Can Become Complicated

Finding, measuring and interpreting data from multiple sources is integral to claiming corporate matching gifts. Because you must advertise and market your matching gifts campaign. You'll need matching gifts data on donors and their employers when planning an effective fundraising and marketing plan.

But it can quickly become a massive library. After all, you'll need lots of information on your donor, his online and offline behavior, his employer, the organization size, its matching gifts program, etc. That you'll also be using multiple sources to get the information - like your website analytics, social media analytics, live auction, etc. - complicates this further.

But since data affects high-level marketing and fundraising decisions, you must find a way to handle this quickly and in real-time. Or your efforts will be slow and ineffective.

Letting online fundraising programs collect and analyze your data is the best option. Since they're custom-made for Nonprofits, you'll find them easy to use. A reliable software for gathering and analyzing data is DoubletheDonation's 360MatchPro which can be integrated with Arreva's All-in-One, Fundraising and Donor Relationship Management Software, ExceedFurther.

 

You've probably spent months planning; sending out invites, meeting with ecstatic board members and inspiring your exhausted team. You felt hopeful.

But you didn't plan for a pandemic. Nobody did.

Yet COVID-19 happened. And now, the possibility of canceling your event seems to be the only logical next step.

Unsurprisingly, your nonprofit won't be the first to cancel an upcoming event. Earlier this month, the Global Healthy Living Foundation announced the cancellation of its medical conference. Also, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) just canceled its The 31st Dream Gala which raised around $3.5 million last year.

But canceling your event may not be the right decision for your nonprofit. Rather, it may stagnate your progress and jeopardize your overall mission.

For many nonprofits, hiding behind closed doors won't solve their motivating problems. For example, victims of sexual predators will still need emotional support even during a lockdown. And orphans will still need to be catered to. If your nonprofit stops raising the needed funds to help its target beneficiaries, who will?

That's why you may need to explore other options instead of canceling your event. Like hosting a virtual fundraising event instead.

What is a Virtual Event?

A virtual event is an online event that's usually presented through webinars or webcasts. Its participants must use the web to interact, network or engage in any transactions.

Virtual events take many forms. They can happen in realtime or they might be pre-recorded; meaning participants can join after the event has ended. They can also be organized as virtual auctions, seminars or conferences.

 

1. Get Clear on the Costs

Although it won't be as costly as a cancellation, changing your event to a virtual one on short notice will still attract losses. For example, your event center might not refund you due to a cancellation. And you might incur losses on logistics, marketing, or accommodation spaces that you've already paid for in advance.

And there are also costs that you'll incur when trying to set up a virtual event. For example, if you're lifestreaming, there'll be expenses related to transmitting the live video/audio. There'll be costs of hiring virtual event consultants, buying new software, or beefing up your staff with freelancers.

Before planning a virtual event, meet with all the concerned departments and vendors. Ensure that you're clear on the costs and budget.

2. Adapt Your Message to Fit the Demands of the Virtual World

Since attention spans on the internet are short, your message must be apparent and engaging to participants. If you've invited speakers, advise them to make their speeches more concise and relatable. Encourage participants to interact through quizzes, online contests, or comment sections during or after the event.

You can also leverage the power of social media influencers to improve your event's engagement. Embrace influencers who lead meaningful conversations around small communities in your niche. They're less expensive and very authentic.

Another essential factor to note is the form that your virtual event should take. Will it be a virtual auction or a virtual conference? Will it be streamed live? You should be creative here, especially if your physical event would be difficult to duplicate on the web.

3. Harness the Analytical Power of the Web

With a virtual event, you can track and measure your stakeholders' attitudes and behaviors, even in real-time. The ability to measure results is a critical advantage that virtual events have over physical ones. The information you collect from the web could improve your fundraising and marketing efforts in the future.

However, you can't analyze your metrics effectively unless you have defined the goal of your virtual event. Ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. During goal-setting activities, consider macroeconomic and microeconomic factors. And use a proven analytics fundraising software to measure your results.

We at Arreva offer reliable analytics through our online fundraising and donor management software. You can access comprehensive reporting and incorporate several third party interfaces in our system to make all your online fundraising activities seamless.

Need a quick tip to help your nonprofit raise more funds? Start by writing a strong Case for Support in your marketing and fundraising campaigns.

The Case for Support, also known as a Case Statement or the Case, is a dynamic document that presents compelling reasons why your organization deserves support and the urgent needs that support will meet. It is dynamic because it can serve various high-level purposes. You can use a Case for Support in your marketing, fundraising, recruitment, and staff/volunteer on-boarding efforts.

Here are three ways that your nonprofit can benefit from a good Case across various departments:

1. To raise more funds:

During our latest webinar - Ask With Purpose: How To Write Your Best Case For Support Ever - our host Diana Hoyt, Author of Formula for Fundraising: Embrace Your Donors For Greater Success and Director of Fundraising Consulting at Arreva gave a firsthand account of how writing a Case for Support helped an organization acquire new donors.

According to Hoyt, the Case wasn't even the final draft. It was just a test version.

She had sent it out to five non-donors, promising to call back within a certain period to get their opinion on its content. But before she could follow up, two of the non-donors sent her two 4 figure checks and notes expressing that they were impressed with what her nonprofit was doing.

If your nonprofit is serious about raising funds like Hoyt's, then it needs a Case for Support. But your Case doesn't have to be limited to fundraising campaigns. In fact, it should be the starting point for all your marketing and corporate communications. The goals, purpose, values and strategic direction included in the Case must resonate with the content in your brochures, websites and social media.

2. To attract and keep a passionate team:

According to Nonprofit Standards - the 2019 annual benchmarking survey by The BDO Institute for Nonprofit Excellence - 66% of nonprofits rated staff retention and recruitment as a top challenge. And "nearly 24% ranked a disconnect from the mission as a high or moderate employee satisfaction issue." Yet for every nonprofit, people's power and commitment remains critical to success.

Fortunately, with an effective Case for Support, your nonprofit can start solving this issue and tap into the power of skilled and passionate prospective board members, volunteers and employees. In our webinar, Diana Hoyt revealed how a nonprofit where she once worked was able to recruit new members to strengthen their weak board. In Hoyt's words, "We had no problems recruiting board members (by using a Case For Support)."

But why are Cases such an effective recruitment tool for nonprofits? It's because they answer the question, "Why?" By revealing why your nonprofit's objective matters, Cases for Support naturally invite prospects who share your worldview to join the cause. The best selling author, Simon Sinek expresses this in his book, Start With Why,

"The truth is, almost every person on the planet is passionate, we are just not all passionate for the same things. Starting with WHY when hiring dramatically increases your ability to attract those who are passionate for what you believe. Simply hiring people with a solid résumé or great work ethic does not guarantee success."

3. To improve team performance:

What problem does your nonprofit solve? And how does solving this problem benefit society? Do your board members and volunteers know these benefits?

Unless the answers to these questions are clear, your nonprofit's performance will suffer, especially in its fundraising and marketing campaign. But you can fix this by writing a good Case for Support.

A good case will emphasize the pressing needs that your nonprofit wants to address, why it's uniquely positioned to achieve it and how it will do so with the right resources. It will also clarify, persuasively and succinctly, how your target community and donors will benefit when you succeed. This information will provide a basis for consistency in team members' interpersonal relationships and their interaction with the community.

How to write an effective Case for Support.

Learn from our FREE educational webinar Ask with Purpose: How to Write Your Best-Ever Case for Support with Diana Hoyt, Author of Formula for Fundraising: Embrace Your Donors for Greater Success and Director of Fundraising Consulting at Arreva.

You'll discover:

  • A reliable process to writing a Case for Support that transforms your fundraising and marketing.
  • The critical elements that every Case for Support needs to achieve its purpose.
  • The biggest mistake that most writers make in their Cases for Support.

Do you stay awake at night wondering how to keep up with ever-changing social media rules? Then you're not alone. According to a Forbes article by Natalie Norcross, the struggle to keep up with trends is one of the biggest challenges for marketers today.

For nonprofit fundraisers like you, finding, engaging and retaining donors on social media are also big challenges. That's because you must compete with hundreds of other nonprofits and brands for your donors' attention.

But with social listening tactics, you can stay ahead of the curve. By listening, you can observe what your donors and prospects are doing on social and find out which current behaviors, trends, and attitudes they'll soon embrace or abandon.

In this post, we'll give you a head start to achieving your social listening goals. By taking the following five nonprofit social media trends into consideration, you will be able to create a better social media strategy and get improved results.

 

Strategy 1: Nonprofits will emphasize interpersonal interactions

After reading social media statistics like "2.45 billion people use Facebook every month, Instagram attracts 1 billion monthly active users and Pinterest magnets over 335 million users monthly", it might be easy to think that the goal of social media marketing is to attract a majority of these monthly visitors to your social profile.

But nonprofits have begun to realize that having a million Twitter followers doesn't necessarily translate to getting a million dollars in monthly donations. In 2020, the march to abandon such a vain objective will begin.

And nonprofits that want to see returns from their social media campaigns will prioritize engagement. Social comments and shares, not likes, reign as the preferred metric for donor engagement.

Social content publishing is no longer a sufficient tactic. More generous methods of interaction - like sharing and commenting on the posts of donors or influencers - is leveraged by nonprofits to drive engagement and build an authentic image.

Strategy 2: Nonprofits will leverage the influence of board members and employees

Who works at this nonprofit? Are they skilled and truly willing to save the world? Will they use my contributions smartly? These are some of the questions that prospective donors might raise when they discover a nonprofit on social media.

And since they aren't likely to email you these questions, it's better to proactively address them through your social media profile. Start by encouraging everyone in your nonprofit to be proactive with social media. Board members and senior executives should lead with posts, images, and videos that capture their enthusiasm about the issues that your nonprofit is handling. Junior staff members can share images of work scenes and clients' success stories. Then, your nonprofit can link to their posts and share it to gain increased transparency and more authenticity.

But you must also create a social media policy to guide the behavior of your staff on these platforms. Everyone must know the rules contained within. Also, your policy must be flexible enough to enable periodic amendments.

 

Strategy 3: Nonprofits will diversify their use of social media platforms

A wise man once said, "The only thing that's constant is change." But he was wrong. In the world of social media, rapid change, not change, is the only thing that's constant.

From MySpace to Facebook and now, TikTok, free social media services come and go nearly every day. While some die and get famous media funerals, others leave without a trace. Others can introduce new algorithms that might render the platform less profitable.

That's why nonprofits must expand their efforts to build digital assets on more than one or two social media platforms.

Also, nonprofits that diversify in 2020 will have access to more prospects. For example, TikTok and Snapchat can open the doors to prospects who were not too excited about Facebook or Instagram.

 

Strategy 4: Nonprofits will focus on authentic influencer marketing

According to a Forbes article by Enrique Dans, "... social networks are filled with imaginary people whose followers, likes and comments are paid for and who have absolutely zero influence... Then there are the cases of influencers with unsavory associations or who are just idiots getting brands into trouble, metrics that don’t add up, saturated social networks and fatigued users…"

Dans' statement reflects the intensified scrutiny that influencer marketing has been subject to over the last two years. And for good reason.

But for nonprofits, influencer marketing still represents an immense opportunity to get their messages in front of prospects who wouldn't listen to them otherwise. But if not handled strategically, your nonprofit might waste its budget on fake influencers or influencers with poor engagement levels.

Rather than working with a celebrity influencer whose ethos or following doesn't suit the values of your cause, go with a micro-influencer who believes in your cause. This usually results in more authenticity, credibility and ultimately, better results.

 

Strategy 5: Nonprofits will diversify their content type

The possibilities for marketing content on social media are becoming endless. In 2020, Nonprofits will create and distribute more diverse content types - text-only, text and image, videos, stories, audio, etc. - to satisfy the diverse appetite among their social media communities.

The demand for highly personalized content and the difference between platforms are the biggest drivers for this trend. Nonprofits eager to benefit from social content will, therefore, adopt an effective content creation, marketing, and analytics system.

 

Want to learn more about using social media for your nonprofit? Then subscribe to our blog today and join your fellow nonprofit leaders in getting updates on the latest trends in fundraising and donor relationship management.

 


You know the old saying: “Numbers don’t lie.” Well, when it comes to End-of-Year giving, the numbers tell us a lot about the people who give in the final weeks of the year, how much they give, and what attracts them to a nonprofit and keeps them there. And it’s all true.

First things first. In case you weren’t aware, almost 30% of donations to nonprofits take place between GivingTuesday and the end of the year, and 12% occur in the last three days of December. Additionally, nonprofits that participate in GivingTuesday pick up about four times the number of new donors as on an average day. So if you’re not taking full advantage of this time of year, you might be leaving a good deal of money on the table. And remember, GivingTuesday donors and End-of-Year donors tend to come from different demographic groups, so your efforts toward one are unlikely to dilute efforts toward the other.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, when it comes to year-end giving, it’s important to get started early on planning and even reaching out to donors. According to statistics pulled together by Nonprofit Hub, over 53% of nonprofits report that they start planning their year-end asks in October, while 7% start reaching out to donors as early as September.

When it comes to funds raised by nonprofits in the final weeks of the year, the numbers have a lot to say. For example, 28% of nonprofits surveyed reported that they raise from 26% to 50% of their total annual funds via their year-end campaigns. On the other hand, 36% of surveyed nonprofits report that End-of-Year giving accounts for only 10% of their annual fundraising intake, which would seem to indicate some nonprofits are not getting the most out of these major giving days and weeks. Programs like Arreva’s Exceed Beyond can help you move from the latter group to the former, taking full advantage of the charitable feelings donors tend to have during the holiday season.

Now let’s get into some more general statistics and shed some light on who donors are and how they choose whether to donate to your campaign or someone else’s. For example, did you know that while 69% of Americans give to charity, nearly 65% of all donations are made by women? 72% of charitable donations are made by individuals, with the remainder coming from foundations (15%), bequests (8%), and corporations (5%). It’s also interesting to note that your volunteers are twice as likely to donate as anyone else, and that lower income donors give a larger percentage of their income than wealthy donors do. So avoid focusing strictly on the “whales” or you may lose out on significant opportunities to form lasting, mutually beneficial donor relationships.

Examining the current numbers is Step 1. Keeping track of and analyzing these statistics as they compare to the numbers coming out of your own organization can tell you how your nonprofit is performing and where opportunities might exist to get more out of your End-Of-Year fundraising campaigns. Here’s to a successful End-of-Year fundraising campaign for you and your organization. Let us know how we can help! 

We’ve covered a lot over the past few months, from storytelling to Peer-to-Peer success and beyond. To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a roundup of the highlights all in one place. Without further ado, here’s your guide to End-Of-Year (EOY) fundraising. 

Plan Ahead

First and foremost, you’ve got to get started planning as early as possible. Hopefully you’re already well underway with this stage. Create a timeline and stick to it. Know what’s expected, when, and by whom. Budget enough time and resources to get it all done, and if it looks like it’s going to be tight, this is the time to either scale back your plans or scale up your volunteer staff and other resources.

Audit Your Data

It’s always the right time to audit your donor database, but it’s especially important when you’re preparing for a big fundraising push, and few campaigns are bigger or more critical than EOY. A good data management system has checks in place for the basics like duplicates and misspellings. Better yet, it integrates new data from multiple sources seamlessly into your database, updating phone numbers, addresses, and job titles as well as tracking lifetime donations, preferred modes of contact, areas of interest, and other factors that allow you to personalize your communications and avoid the common pitfalls of data deterioration. If you don’t have a program that helps keep your data clean, Arreva can help.

Segment Your Donors

Donor segmentation allows you to target your messaging in ways it will have the most impact. Is this a first time donor? Send a thank you and a welcome. Has this donor participated in a recent campaign? Give them a sense of what you’ve achieved through their efforts and let them know about upcoming campaigns and events they might be interested in. Is this a long-time donor? Recognize their ongoing loyalty and impact in a personal way. The more you know about your donors, the better you can craft your communications to develop and solidify relationships with your donors.

Tell Engaging Stories

Stories are one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. The human mind thrives on stories, and they have the power to influence how we see things in a very real way. Give your donors an individual to relate to and engage them with the details of the challenges they face and how your organization can help—or has already helped. Leave them with a sense of their place in the story; how their support makes the difference and lets you help more people more effectively; how they can be the hero just by opening their wallet and giving generously.

Communicate Effectively

In our post Donor Relationships 101, we learned that 25-44% of donors who become ex-donors do so because of poor communication. Communication missteps like neglecting to thank donors for their generosity, asking for too much too often, or operating on bad data can leave your donors with a bad taste in their mouths. Take care to target your communications and asks appropriately.

Don’t Skip GivingTuesday!

GivingTuesday is the biggest global fundraising event of the year, and has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012. In 2018 the event raised $400 million for nonprofits around the world—up from $274 million in 2017. According to the data, #GivingTuesday results in new one-time and recurring donors, attracts three to four times the number of donors as a typical calendar day, and appeals to a different segment of donors from those who give during the last three days of the year. There really is no downside to participating in this event, so plan to give it all you’ve got.

Make Peer-to-Peer Easy

Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to promote your organization, and Peer-to-Peer fundraising is all about getting the word out about your work while bringing in new donations and most importantly, new donors. P2P fundraising allows each donor to create their own fundraising page, set goals, and write a testimonial that tells friends, family, colleagues, and social media connections why they believe in your organization. Everyone who takes part in your P2P fundraising campaign or event becomes an advocate for your org and the results their donations have helped bring about. Their story inspires and influences their network to get involved. So make End-of-Year Peer-to-Peer campaigning as easy as possible for your donors and reap the rewards.

Nurture Gold-Star Donors

In Paying Attention to Your Special Friends, we discussed how important it is to give particular donors a sense that you value them especially—and that you need their help to succeed. This means crafting communications specific to that value and that need; it means reaching out personally when appropriate, or including personal notes. For particularly generous donors, it can mean invitations to exclusive—even one-on-one—meetings and events. So before you send out your year-end letters, be sure your board members are correctly segmented in your data (and excluded from the mailing list). Determine who else needs special handling based on gift size, volunteer history, or other factors, and take the time to treat each one as the special friend that they are. Remember the 80/20 rule. You should spend 80% of your time on the top 20% since they will in turn provide 80% of your results.

Communicate Gratitude

Finally, it’s important that you express thanks for every donation of every size and acknowledge the vital support your donors provide and the very real need for them to continue. Reinforce the positive outcomes your organization is creating with your donors’ help, and the fact that they are the heroes in every success story that results from your work.

That’s a Wrap!

With all this knowledge under your belt, you’re ready to plan and launch a successful End-Of-Year giving campaign. Remember to budget time for self care as you gear up for the big push, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Here at Arreva, we’re wishing you  fabulously successful EOY fundraising for 2019 — and we’re here whenever you need us.

In the nonprofit world, end-of-year giving is one of the most reliable sources of funding. Between GivingTuesday and December 31st—also known as the last chance for donors to make tax-deductible gifts in a given tax year—31% of giving happens in the last few weeks of the year and 12% in the last three days. To take full advantage of this important giving season, it’s vital to plan ahead.

It’s never too early to start, but if you haven’t started yet, now is the time. It’s a big job with a big return, and it’s worth doing right. Being prepared means knowing ahead of time what’s going to happen and when, and budgeting time as well as staff and volunteer resources, in a way that makes sense.

Which brings us to your timeline. Creating a timeline helps you and everyone on your team understand what’s expected and when, and if you’re doing it right, how long each task should take. One way to plan your timeline is to break it up into early and later tasks, like this:

 

  1. There’s a lot to do and only a couple of months to get it done. Start by creating a schedule that allows you to focus on the first things first, including recruiting volunteers, making sure your data and systems are up-to-date and ready to track your progress and success, fine-tuning donor segmentation, identifying the stories you’ll tell to engage donors, and setting dates for all your EOY communications. This is also a great time to think about ways to grow your donor list in preparation for the big giving season.
     
  2. Next up on your timeline should be tasks like designing your GivingTuesday campaign, training volunteers, drafting communications, reaching out to big donors to request matching gifts, and updating your website and social media presences with the latest resources and information your donors will need to donate and set up peer-to-peer fundraising pages.
     
  3. Now it’s time to nail down the final details. Start getting those communications and social media posts out reminding your donors of the important work you do and the people you help through that work. Make sure your volunteers are on track and have everything they need.
     
  4. As the hour nears to launch your EOY fundraising campaign, plan to reach out to donors often. Experts agree that donors give because they believe that giving to us makes a real difference. Take every opportunity in these final weeks to show them how their gifts are changing lives, to thank them for their previous support, to ask them to reach out to friends, and to remind them that when they’re considering they’re EOY giving, you’re ready and willing to put their tax-deductible donation to work.

When you plan ahead and budget enough time and resources for each task, your End-Of-Year giving campaign has a much better chance of meeting or surpassing your fundraising goals. So take the time to create a schedule—a timeline—that lays everything out  in detail. You won’t be sorry.

“Put your own oxygen mask on first.” —Every flight attendant ever

In the nonprofit world, it’s easy to work yourself into exhaustion or even poor health. But that’s not good for you, your organization, or the people you serve. Self-care is vital to maintaining a healthy work/life balance, and the time you take to care for you will almost certainly pay off in increased productivity, efficiency, and ability to cope with stressful situations and come out ahead of the game instead of struggling to catch up. With that in mind, we’ve provided a few suggestions for successful self-care.

First and foremost, the “obvious”: Eat well, sleep eight hours a night, and move your body at regular intervals. Some things are cliche for a reason. People who eat healthier foods, sleep well, and exercise have more energy and are generally happier, healthier people. The science hammers it in at every turn, and we all have a lifetime’s worth of anecdotal evidence in our memory stores to back it up. But you don’t have to do CrossFit and eat a raw-food diet to experience these benefits. Start simple with small, easily-attainable goals.

About That Coffee…

Take control of your energy levels and successfully run the end-of-year fundraising marathon with your health intact instead of powering through the 5K of today running on caffeine and sugar—with a prompt crash at the finish line that leaves you dreading tomorrow. If you’re a coffee drinker, work on balancing your energy levels by cutting back on caffeine. “YOU MONSTER!” I hear you saying, but true fact—though some of us feel utterly useless without it, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Brew a pot of half-caf in the morning (find it at Trader Joe’s and other stores or make your own by mixing regular and decaf beans/grinds). Like magic, four cups of coffee by noon instantly turn into two, and you’re already feeling less jittery but still alert and productive. If you’re a latte person, start off with a half-caf latte and see how you feel. You may not even notice the difference! If you need a pick-me-up later in the morning, grab another at lunch or sip the office coffee until you feel (key word, here) you’ve had your fill. Just keep an eye on your intake. Intersperse your refills of coffee with a cold drink (preferably one without a ton of sugar). And of course, replace coffee and other caffeinated drinks with something else—anything else—after lunchtime or so (to help you get better sleep at night).

Hydrate!

Which brings us to water: chances are you need to drink more of it. Sparkling water is all the rage right now and makes for a nice treat in place of tap or even filtered water. Find a flavor you like (or drink it plain) and keep a cold six pack on hand. Drink as many as you want—they’re zero calories and they keep you hydrated! We’re about to get into food, but here’s a pro tip: Sometimes what feels like hunger rising up in your belly is actually dehydration. So avoid overeating by drinking water first—you can’t fill a thirsty void with a spongy sandwich.

Feel-Good Food

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as well all know, but it needn’t be fancy and shouldn’t be heavy or full of sugar. Easy, healthy breakfast options for busy professionals include a combination of a banana or a handful of your favorite berries, a slice of multigrain toast, and a small bowl of low-sugar cereal or granola (find something with lots of nuts and seeds and avoid those with lots of starchy fillers). Protein bars are an easy go-to but beware those with fifty-nine ingredients you can’t pronounce. Look for fewer ingredients (ones you can pronounce) and low-in-sugar options. Quick, easy food should still be real food. Lots of fillers and funky preservatives and the like can make your body work harder to digest your food, sapping your much-needed energy.

Lunch can be a rewarding part of any professional’s day, but only if you a) take lunch (and you really ought to), b) bring food to eat that you’re excited to eat, and c) don’t go out and stuff yourself with the mid-day comfort of a foot-long sandwich with bread sliced thicker than your protein and veggie fillings, a chocolate chip cookie, and a sugary soda. Ok, that last one is actually pretty rewarding, but it’s only temporary as it also brings that awful 2:30 (give or take) crash, leaving your body in that food-coma state of trying to digest way too much food, starch, and sugar for the rest of the day. But lunch doesn’t have to suck. And if you like to go out to eat, and can afford it, go for it! Just make slightly different choices to scale back your carb intake. Many sandwich shops now offer thin-sliced, multigrain bread options and even lettuce wraps. Make it a burrito bowl instead of a tortilla-wrapped lunch. Add that sliced avocado for $1.50. And do yourself a favor by eating half (or a little more) of that lunch and saving the rest for two hours from now when you get peckish. Don’t knock the healthier options and opportunities ‘til you try ‘em. And when you try ‘em, check in to see how you feel and function when 2:30 rolls around. If you do feel sluggish mid-day despite your best efforts, get up, take a walk, and grab a cold sparkling water.

Oh Boy! Exercise!

Just the word can evoke a cringe. But like the word “diet,” it doesn’t really mean what we’ve come to collectively think it means. Exercise can be a short walk, even just around the office or around the block. It can be a few jaunts up and down the stairs. It can be parking in the furthest spot from the grocery store—anything that gives you an opportunity to move your body a little more today. It can be taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It can be a contest with a co-worker to see how long you can balance on an exercise ball (at my old job we used a yellow one and called it Pac Man Rodeo!) or a nerdy game of hacky sack with your office mates (the worse the players, the more fun). Get creative and think outside the box. Make it fun. And if it’s not fun? Notice how much better you feel when you move around throughout the day and then keep reminding yourself how much fun it is to feel better when you’re groaning up the stairs to your meeting.

Chill Time

No work should be taken so seriously that there’s no fun allowed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day. And during your big membership drives, ramp ups for Giving Tuesday campaigns, and end-of-year giving letters and efforts, and let’s face it—you might not be having any fun for 50 or 60 hours per week. That’s unacceptable, and it’s not healthy. When you feel good in mind, body, and spirit, you perform better. So take that big roiling pot of stress you’re stirring from October to December, put it in the seat next to you on a flight to Vegas, and practice putting your oxygen mask on first. The stress monkeys stewing in the pot will look at you with big, pathetic, teary eyes as if to say, “How could you put anything before me?” And then you can explain to them that if you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything for them. That’s just science.

So take the afternoon off and rest when you’re on a deadline. Not every time, but some times. Plan to not do any work whatsoever a weekend here and there. Take a three-day weekend once in a while and get out of town or have a staycation. Schedule a massage. Take that improv class you’ve been curious about. So what if you can’t make every class because you’re in the busiest season of the year at work. Make as many as you can and don’t apologize for those you miss. Forgive yourself for not being able to do it all. And remind yourself daily that whatever you’re doing today that seems like the fate of the entire world rests on your completing it—it’s actually not the end of the world if you can’t or don’t. In six months or two years you’ll look back on today’s workload and think, eh, big deal. In perspective of literally everything else, it’s actually pretty small potatoes.

With that in mind, close your laptop and silence your phone by 10:30 or 11 p.m., even if you’ll still stay up and read until midnight. Make a goal of a target bedtime and try to stick to it, at least most of the time. Try some melatonin or other natural sleep aid if you have a hard time falling asleep. Aim for a solid 6-8 hours of sleep and sometimes? Sleep in...just go for it. And don’t ruin it by feeling bad about it. Own it.

Put your oxygen mask on first in life by taking care of your body, mind, and spirit in mindful, intentional ways every day. And don’t be afraid to say no. No to your neighbor who needs help with her dog this weekend while she’s out of town. No to your brother who needs a ride across town during rush-hour. No to a coworker or boss who tries to stick you with extra work when you’re already overloaded. And what’s more? Delegate. Take things off your to-do list by asking others to help you. You don’t have to say yes to everyone all the time to prove your worth or competence. They know. And you should never be afraid to ask for help. A healthy person will just say no if they can’t do it. Be that healthy person.

 

One of the key findings in recent studies how and who donors give is that small donors give big over time, and that counts on GivingTuesday perhaps more than any other day of the year. And while it’s understandable that a nonprofit might be concerned about asking donors for money twice in December, when you’re already asking for end-of-year donations, it turns out that the people who donate on GivingTuesday and those who wait until the last five days of the year are different donors with different motivations for giving.

Small Donors, Big Returns

GivingTuesday was created as a way to enable and encourage people at all income levels and all abilities to give to become philanthropists in whatever way they’re able. It’s meant to counter some of the crassness of shopping “holidays” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it’s growing by about $100 million in donations per year, with over 150 countries participating globally. And the point of it is that any donation of any amount adds up big when we all get together and give together.

Best of all, while individual GivingTuesday donations may be on the small side (they generally come from donors belonging to lower median income households), donors who give on that day are more likely not only to give more over time but to become recurring donors and future P2P fundraisers for your organization. GivingTuesday provides the perfect opportunity for the average citizen to start the “season of giving” off right by joining their peers in donating where it can make the most difference. And many GivingTuesday donors get so caught up in helping you achieve your goals that they give multiple times during the day!

Millennials: The Small-Donation Generation

According to Nonprofits Source, Millennials make up nearly 28 percent of the U.S. population, and 40 percent are active, recurring donors to nonprofit organizations. Having grown up in times of economic crisis, Millennials tend to save rather than spend money, but they are active donors to causes they care about, with 84 percent giving to charity overall (compared to 69 percent of the general population) and 40 percent donating through an organization’s website in 2016. And Millennials are “heavily” influenced by their peers and colleagues, so they make great peer-to-peer fundraisers and tend to respond positively to P2P fundraising from the giving side, as well.

The latest data from the Case Foundation reveals that Millennials “believe all actions matter–big and small.”

“One significant, unique notion supported by 10 years of research is that millennials acting in small ways individually often create leverage as a large, active group capable of influencing great change.” -Jean Case, Key Takeaways from a Decade of Millennial Research

It’s kind of GivingTuesday in a nutshell, isn’t it?

Think Small, Go Big

Ultimately, you’re going to want to encourage donations at multiple levels from a wide array of channels on GivingTuesday, with goals your donors can celebrate with you along the way. But while you’re out there banging the drum for the big numbers, remember that it’s often the small donations from donors with less to give that add up to big numbers in the long run. So when it comes to small donations on GivingTuesday, go BIG!

In our last post, we established that when it comes to GivingTuesday,  there’s really no downside to putting as much effort and energy as possible into your yearly campaign. But if you’re a small nonprofit, you may not have the budget for the flashy campaign and content some of the bigger orgs will be trotting out. Fortunately, there are quite a few options for GivingTuesday fundraising that won’t break the bank.

P2P is Key

If you’re set up for peer-to-peer fundraising, one of the most important things you can do is make it easy for your existing donors to promote their individual P2P campaigns in the days leading up to GivingTuesday and to start fundraising right away on the day itself. Provide any slogans and content you’ve created for the event, and let them know how important their role is on one of the biggest giving days of the year not only in bringing in needed funds, but in connecting you with new donors among their friends and colleagues.

Crowdfund Content

Engaging content in the form of images, videos, and stories, can be expensive to generate in-house, but with a little planning and community engagement, you can motivate donors to create compelling content for your GivingTuesday campaign. One fun and relatively low-key method is to hold an online competition.

Put out a call for baby pics, pet pics, or funny videos. Have donors include your GivingTuesday slogan, dress up to theme, or just send you their most adorable photos to engage their fellow GivingTuesday donors and help you make a splash. Post photos on your website and ask for a minimal donation per “vote” for photos, with the one raising the most becoming the “winner.” Use all your social media channels to promote your contest, with a custom hashtag for best results. Feature the winner on all social media and prominently on your website, and offer any other perks you can, including those available via corporate partnerships (e.g., gift cards).

Rise to the Challenge

In the nonprofit fundraising world, it’s important to connect with donors on a personal level, and GivingTuesday challenges are a fun way to let them see members of your organization engaging and teambuilding in response to hitting fundraising goals. Set up a schedule of goals and a list of actions members of your team will perform on video when each goal is met. Mustache/beard/head-shaving, pepper-eating, trust-falling (and catching!), obstacle courses, dance-offs, air-guitar (or band!) battles—be creative and get everyone on board and you’ll increase team cohesion while you raise dollars. If you can, crank it up a few notches by including a local celebrity or public figure in your biggest challenge goals.

Find a Matching Partner

Right now is a great time to reach out to your biggest donors and any large corporations in your local or operational area and ask them to match donations to your organization for GivingTuesday. A matching partner benefits from the publicity your campaign generates via email and social media in the weeks and days leading up to GivingTuesday as well as all day long on the day of, and donations to your organization are multiplied, ensuring you have the resources to meet your goals.

(Don't have a matching partner? Implement a solution like Double The Donation on your online donation forms to make sure you capture corporate matching gifts. Sign up for a demo of our software today to see how we've integrated matching gifts functionality directly into our online fundraising pages.)

Recruit Donor-Ambassadors

Reach out to your most loyal and social-media-savvy donors to serve as GivingTuesday ambassadors for your organization. Ask them to help you promote your 2019 GivingTuesday campaign starting as soon as you announce, and give them easy access to any slogans and content you’ve created for the occasion. Consider coming up with a fun theme-related name for your team of ambassadors and use it in communications and social media posts.

Ask Donors to “Buy Us a Coffee”

Small donations add up, and often all it takes is a reminder that the price of a small luxury for us can make a big difference in the lives of the people your organization works to serve. An ask like “buy us a coffee” can spark a donation from someone who may not have a lot to give, but who is willing to make a small sacrifice to help create a better world.

Mix and Match or Do It All

You can employ as many of these tips as you want to help boost your GivingTuesday

fundraising while spending as little as possible. No matter what combination of tactics you decide on, the most important thing is to engage your current donors in your efforts both in terms of getting their attention and securing their help getting the word out to potential new donors. It doesn’t take a lot of money to run a successful GivingTuesday fundraiser, but it does take a good deal of planning (starting now!), a solid implementation, and a focused, continuous effort all day long on the day in question. And Arreva is always here to help.

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