After Thanksgiving, there's Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday. And now there's #GivingTuesday.

If you're not familiar with #GivingTuesday, you're not alone. It's still fairly new. #GivingTuesday started in 2012, and it's a movement to create a national day of giving. It follows one day of giving thanks and two days of getting deals. It encourages us to think about giving to charity. And for many nonprofits, #GivingTuesday is the unofficial kickoff for their year-end fundraising activities.

A similar movement that is growing in popularity is GiveLocalAmerica, a 24-hour online "give-a-thon" that takes place in the spring. Different communities have their own names for the event such as GiveLocalNow, GiveBIG Day and the BIG Day of Giving. The idea is to stimulate giving and to get people to give locally.

GiveLocal events are often sponsored by local community foundations on behalf of their area's larger nonprofit network. Here's a shout out to my friend Bridget and the Bozeman Area Community Foundation for planning the first ever Give Big Gallatin Valley event, which will take place next spring.

So, how can your organization take advantage of these special giving days in 2015?

Mark Your Calendar

The 2015 "Give Local" and "Give BIG" events will be held on May 5, 2015. #GivingTuesday will be December 1, 2015.

Click here to sign up to learn more about organizing or participating in a "Give Local" event in May 2015.

Click here to sign up to learn more about organizing or participating in #GivingTuesday next December.

These sites will offer suggestions for helping you plan and market the event as well as engage donors.

Measure Your Success

There's an old saying, "If you fail to plan, then you can plan to fail." So you need to create a plan to help you measure the success of your giving day. And you want to set goals to help you get there.

Obviously, you want a financial goal. Consider establishing giving tiers and determine how many people you want to give at each level (e.g. X $25 donors, Y $50 donors, Z $100 donors) in order to meet your overall goal.

Consider tracking the number of new donors and their average gift. And if you've participated in a giving day before, you might also track the number of recurring donors and whether they give at the same or increased levels as previous years.

Manage Your Donors

You can never say "thank you" too soon or too often.

Regarding timing, some experts say you should "Thank before you bank." With respect to an online donation, you want to send an automatic (immediate) acknowledgement. Ideally, you want to send your online donor to a unique thank you page.

Don't forget to follow up with a physical acknowledgement/receipt, ideally within 48 hours of receiving the gift. Bonus points if you add a handwritten note or a P.S. And triple bonus points if you call the donor later, just to say "thanks."

Remember that saying "thank you" doesn't complete the giving cycle. It's actually the first step to getting your next gift.

Send me a message and let me know if you plan to participate in a GiveBIG event or in #GivingTuesday 2015. I love hearing from you.


Remember, there's more to grant writing than just "writing." Also remember, there's more to fundraising than just grants.

Here are three articles that will help you with your year-end fundraising and give you a jump start for 2015.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Year-End Fundraising

#GivingTuesday - Frequently Asked Questions

Third Sector Consulting helps nonprofits find more funders and win more grants.

Send a message to start the conversation and learn how Laura can help you and your organization.