Ijams Nature Center
Your nonprofit can participate in #GivingTuesday, even if you don’t have much time. Cindy Hassil, Development Director of Ijams Nature Center, quickly created a campaign even in the midst of other year-end fundraising plans. Using resources she adapted from the Giving Tuesday website and some new and existing photos of the nature center, she created a personalized effort that raised awareness and brought in additional funds and new donors.
“The Giving Tuesday website has almost everything you’ll need to create your own campaign, from various logos and images to sample news releases and a planning calendar,” Cindy said. “We used our website, weekly e-newsletter, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to let people know about our campaign, and used graphics I created in Publisher by adding the Giving Tuesday heart image and several hashtags to photos. You don’t have to have graphic design software; you could use PowerPoint or just keep it simple by using hashtags with your own photos and the images you download from the Giving Tuesday website.”
#GivingTuesday is a day to give money, time, goods or your voice to help a nonprofit, so part of the Ijams campaign was to get people thinking of ways they could volunteer. Cindy took an UNselfie sign available on the #GivingTuesday website, personalized it and asked “What will you do?” She also asked Elizabeth Newman, Ijams Development Assistant, to create her own UNselfie for something she planned to do as part of #GivingTuesday.
One of Ijams’ donors had told Cindy and Elizabeth about an old TV he saw on one of the trails, so Elizabeth wanted to clean up that trail. They recruited the donor and another Ijams member to help them tackle the TV and other trash they found under it during their lunch break, posted photos of what they did on social media to emphasize the volunteer aspect of #GivingTuesday. After #GivingTuesday, Cindy also posted a photo of several staff members holding the #GivingTuesday heart to thank everyone who participated.
Ijams raised a little more than $6,000 on #GivingTuesday. Of that, $1,000 came in from many smaller donations, plus a large single donation of $5,000, which the donor already had committed to Ijams but didn’t say the gift would be made on #GivingTuesday.
“If I had known our donor planned to make that gift on #GivingTuesday, I would have asked if we could use it as a dollar-for-dollar match to encourage others to give,” Cindy said. She said she hopes to find a potential donor to be able to employ this approach on #GivingTuesday 2018.
One of the benefits of #GivingTuesday is that it helps bring your nonprofit to the attention of new donors, who might become regular supporters. Ijams’ campaign was shared on employees’ personal social media accounts, supporters shared the Ijams posts and several people created their own personal fundraising posts for Ijams. One person who became a member that day told Cindy that she couldn’t believe she had never donated to Ijams before.
Cindy said all the donors who contributed to Ijams on #GivingTuesday and their gifts were recorded in FundRaiser. This not only allows Ijams to personally thank these donors but also reach out to them during future fundraising campaigns, and the staff can pull reports to compare future #GivingTuesday efforts and calculate ROI.
Overall, Cindy said campaign was worth the effort. “The financial amount Ijams raised was relatively small when you subtract the $5,000 gift we knew was coming, and it happened at a very busy time, so I put the campaign together very quickly and didn’t do any real analysis. However, for a first-time campaign, Ijams was able to promote its nonprofit status using a new outlet that already was recognized by the public, and it encouraged new donors to support Ijams. The Ijams #GivingTuesday campaign was originally designed to be a community outreach/communications tool, and it raised some money, so it was a win-win for Ijams.”