As we share some key takeaways from #GivingTuesdayNow’s overall performance, we have renewed confidence in our message that your organization will live to fundraise another day.
When GivingTuesday announced the special #GivingTuesdayNow campaign in reaction to the Covid-19 crisis, the Thread team didn’t quite know what to make of it. We wondered if it was too early in the crisis to rally donors, and whether the sharp economic fallout of the crisis would wash a cold, hard shower over people’s philanthropic spirits.
We also wondered if #GivingTuesdayNow was exactly what people needed: a chance to express determination and optimism that mission-driven organizations may be slowed, but they cannot be stopped.
So on May 5th, we watched #GivingTuesdayNow with great interest.
As we heard from our participating partners throughout the day, we saw more and more exclamation points punctuating our email. Left and right nonprofits were exceeding their goals, and happy surprises abounded. For the vast majority of organizations, the hope of a good day turned into the promise of a great day.
So as we share some key takeaways from #GivingTuesdayNow’s overall performance, we have renewed confidence in our message that your organization will live to fundraise another day. Good times are not gone, and our collective generosity will see us through.
No Surprise Here: Human Services Organizations Performed Especially Well
Classy, one of the biggest players in online payment processing, reported that its clients raised over $10.3M on #GivingTuesdayNow. Human services organizations were responsible for over one-third of that activity: a whopping $3.5M.
Interestingly, nonprofits working in internal/foreign affairs came in second place, raising just about $1.7M (17% of all giving on Classy). The global nature of current events is likely playing a part there, as well as the overlap of many foreign affairs organizations into relief and aid work.
Arts, culture, and humanities organizations saw the least giving, raising just over $458,000 or 4% of all donations via Classy.
The strong performance of human services is no surprise, of course. Securing basic needs has been everyone’s top personal concern, so the extension to worry about that for our neighbors is natural. Their appeal essentially makes itself.
For all other organizations, the advice to keep your donor communications laser-focused on your mission, how your particular community is uniquely hurting, and what specific things you’re doing to help still stands. Donors give because they want to ease a pain, transform a life, and offer some solace to the world. Your best messaging should tap into how a donor has the power to make life-in-a-prolonged-crisis easier for someone else.
Average Gift Size Didn’t Slip From Typical Times, Not at All
Neon One is another powerhouse platform for payment processing, and it reported clients bringing in $54.2M on #GivingTuesdayNow.
What stands out from this data set is the gift averages:
Average credit card donation: $131 (solid!)
Average ACH donation: $179 (nice!)
Average check donation $1,140 (yes, please!)
The Catalogue for Philanthropy, the DMV’s local philanthropic aggregator, saw very similar trends. The Catalogue reported its network of nonprofits raising over $575,000 from about 4,400 individual donations – or roughly $130/gift.
What’s awesome about these numbers is how consistent they are with GivingTuesday’s typical performance. On a normal #GivingTuesday, the average online gift is $135.
The big takeaway here is keep asking at your usual levels; don’t lower your ask amounts. Everyone is aware of the financial trauma this crisis is causing, but of donors who are financially sound and able to give, they’re giving at levels consistent with typical times. So while you may have the impulse to lower your gift arrays in anticipation of your donors being able to do less, don’t do it. Make the ask your community has shown you previously it can make, and let the donors decide what to give.
Times are “Unprecedented” We Know, But Let’s Get Personal
If one word defines our current reality, it’s “unprecedented.”
And if there was one word Thread saw across the board in #GivingTuesdayNow messaging, it was “unprecedented.”
As you prepare campaign messaging for the rest of the year, Thread would like to challenge you to leave “unprecedented” behind. We all know these are wild and crazy, once-in-a-generation times. And because we all know it, you don’t need to start there in your storytelling.
Rather, try to introduce your story one step beyond the obvious and deeper into the personal. Dive right into a client story that puts the reader at the kitchen table with a mom debating paying her rent or buying groceries, or that teen desperate to connect with his friends but his home internet connection keeps failing.
Or, show the before-and-after of life in a crisis: one day Holly is able to fulfill her dreams of working in a studio as a clay sculptor, and the next day she’s isolated at home with only a pencil.
Connection is what we’re all hungry for; we live and breathe in the details of life. Remarking upon the unprecedented nature of this crisis is analysis, not connection. Surviving this crisis is personal for all of us, so your fundraising message should be too.
Have other questions about #GivingTuesdayNow? Let us know! We’re here to help: [email protected]