A UK charity that fights blindness worldwide is spreading the word on how to inspire people to give in the run-up to the ‘crazy commercialism’ of the Christmas season.

Taking part in Giving Tuesday 2018, Sightsavers hit its fundraising target within hours of launching the campaign and saw an amazing 450% uplift in donations compared to their average daily income.

The charity was able to use the global campaign to maximise the offer of a generous donor who offered to match up to £10,000 of donations on the day.

So what steps did they take to make this happen, especially in the busy Christmas season?

Planning against the odds

Corinna May, digital fundraiser at Sightsavers, said the charity not only launched the appeal at 7.30am to catch the early-risers and commuters- but they also started planning for the day six months ahead.

She said: “We built Giving Tuesday into our planning right from the outset of the year and across fundraising teams.

“We also built the Giving Tuesday communication plans into the rest of our Christmas appeal journey so it was an amazing time-limited incentive for our existing donors to give to an appeal that they were already engaged in.” The charity launched the appeal to support its vital work in developing countries, where they work with partners to treat and prevent avoidable blindness, and promote equality for people with visual impairments and other disabilities.

The funds raised can cover a range of treatments costs, including screenings and glasses, cataract operations, and prevention measures to help protect thousands of families from river blindness and trachoma.

Commenting on the success of the day, Corinna said: “We’ve tried initiatives like this before that weren’t linked to such a big global movement and we’ve not seen the same type of response or cut through.

Tips for other charities

“We would encourage other charities to join in. Being an official partner means you can use the great campaign assets that CAF have online (like logos and guidance) and give real authenticity and donor trust in your appeal by being part of this wider movement that is bigger than just your cause and really hits back against all the crazy Christmas commercialism.”

She added: “To maximise the Giving Tuesday opportunity you should think (and plan now!) about how you map it into the rest of your communications at that time across various digital channels and fundraising teams.”

For this year, the charity is planning to build on last year’s results by looking at new markets where the Giving Tuesday movement is gaining more and more traction, for example the Nordics and Ireland, and explore additional digital channels to share the message in.