In recent years, GivingTuesday has become a mainstay of year-end giving. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement occurring on the Tuesday after American Thanksgiving (Tuesday, 28 November 2023). It is a day dedicated to charitable giving, encouraging people to support nonprofits and charities that make the world a better place.
Now in its 11th year, GivingTuesday is the single biggest fundraising campaign of the year. The 2022 GivingTuesday campaign raised over £20m in the UK and $3.1billion in the US in just 24 hours. For many nonprofits, GivingTuesday also provides a launching pad for end-of-year fundraising efforts, which generate between 20 – 40% of annual fundraising revenue.
Investing in a GivingTuesday campaign is an excellent way for nonprofits to kick-start their end-of-year fundraising and achieve their annual fundraising goals. But achieving fundraising success on GivingTuesday is only half the equation… retaining donors and converting them into long-term supporters of your cause is just as important.
Nonprofits that take a longer-term and more strategic view of the GivingTuesday opportunity will be the ones to reap the biggest rewards. So, what can you do to ensure your GivingTuesday efforts deliver sustainable results?
Shift the Focus from One-Off to Recurring Giving
Historically, the focus on GivingTuesday has been on one-off cash donations, not recurring gifts.
However, recurring giving continues to be one of the best investments a nonprofit can make to engage donors as lifetime supporters and create a stable and predictable source of annual revenue. And despite the impacts of rising inflation and economic uncertainty, the popularity of recurring giving programs continues to surge, with 66% of nonprofits seeing an increase in monthly giving in 2022, according to Dataro’s 2022 Fundraising Benchmark Report.
Your donors are passionate about making a lasting impact beyond one moment, like GivingTuesday. Plus, the convenience and ease of recurring giving appeals to many donors because they know their support will continue without any additional effort on their part.
- Takeaway #1: Make recurring giving an easy option for your donors on GivingTuesday
To encourage more donors to support your cause long-term, you’ll need to optimise your GivingTuesday donation forms for monthly giving and prioritise recurring giving in your social media posts, emails, text message solicitations and direct mailouts (if you plan to use DM). Make sure your donors know that monthly giving is an option and is a more impactful and sustainable way of giving to support your organisation and help you achieve your mission.
- Takeaway #2: Use AI to find the best monthly donor prospects
Dataro has found that charities often miss an obvious source of potential new recurring givers – their existing one-off donors. Using new AI technologies like machine learning, Dataro has helped hundreds of organisations like Greenpeace and UNICEF to identify their best monthly donor prospects and grow their recurring giving programs through better conversion campaign targeting.
Nonprofits who focus on converting existing cash donors (including previous GivingTuesday donors) to monthly donors stand to grow income, increase fundraising ROI and maximise the lifetime value of their supporter base. Converted donors are retained at 2.6x the rate of newly acquired monthly donors and have 9x the lifetime value because they continue giving single gifts on top of their monthly contribution (Dataro Fundraising Benchmark Report – 2022).
Using AI to identify your best monthly prospects and including a compelling narrative about the impact of monthly giving is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to grow your recurring giving program and achieve your GivingTuesday goals.
Invest in Donor Retention
The immediate win of GivingTuesday is undoubtedly donor acquisition. While this is vital to achieving your campaign goals, the secret to long-term GivingTuesday success lies in retaining these newly acquired donors.
By investing in recurring giving this GivingTuesday, you’re already building a more stable source of funding for your non-profit and will benefit from better donor retention. But that’s no excuse to rest on your laurels. Good donor retention strategies are still required to help grow donor loyalty and ensure a higher return on your acquisition efforts.
- Takeaway #1: Prioritise new donor journeys for ongoing support
Nurturing GivingTuesday donors into long-term supporters is a process that requires strategic communications and good stewardship. The process begins with a timely and heartfelt thank you message to donors in the days following GivingTuesday. Good supporter journeys are crucial to donor retention. They should continue to engage donors at various touch points by reporting back on the impact of their gift, providing regular updates on your charity’s activities and sharing other ways for them to engage with your cause.
If you don’t have your GivingTuesday donor journeys planned out for your new one-off and monthly donors, then you are wasting your chance to build enduring support.
With advancements in generative AI in 2023, fundraisers can easily scale their donor stewardship efforts and reduce the time and effort it takes to write donor communications and build donor journeys. Dataro’s latest AI Assistant uses GPT technology to help fundraisers build effective donor email journeys in minutes and create first drafts of fundraising emails and letters, including thank you messages, welcome messages and subsequent solicitation emails.
- Takeaway #2: Use AI to prevent churn and proactively improve monthly donor retention
The next step in improving the retention of your newly acquired and converted monthly donors is proactively tackling churn.
A donor churns or lapses out of your giving program when they stop giving. Churn must be avoided and actively combated to achieve healthy donor retention. It is far more cost-effective to retain your monthly donors than constantly acquiring new ones.
But, according to Dataro’s 2023 Interim Fundraising Benchmark Report, only 62% of monthly donors acquired at any point in 2022 are still actively giving six months later.
That’s where new AI technologies can help. At Dataro, we recommend a three-step monthly donor retention strategy:
1. Use AI to predict which donors are most likely to churn
2. Engage your most ‘at risk’ donors with a thank you call or impact update
3. Measure and repeat
By accurately predicting which of your existing donors are at risk of cancelling their gift, nonprofits can improve donor retention, maximise the ROI of recurring giving programs and improve donor lifetime value.
But historically, predicting churn has been a significant challenge for nonprofits. The traditional approach requires complex segmentation strategies, close data analysis, personal follow-up with lapsed donors to learn why they left, and more. It’s not very effective, and it only gives you broad assumptions about the types of donors likely to churn rather than specific individuals who need re-engaging.
Predictive AI technologies like machine learning offer a more direct solution to predict churn. AI propensity models can accurately and quickly predict and rank the individual recurring donors who are most likely to churn out of your program, making it easy for fundraisers to find at-risk donors, generate accurate contact lists, and get started re-engaging them in just minutes. AI takes all the guesswork out of Step 1, meaning you can boost retention in a sustainable, scalable way (that won’t waste your time and resources).
Equipped with the knowledge of who will likely cancel their gift, charities can proactively engage these donors. One of the most effective ways to retain monthly donors and make them feel valued for their support is with a thank-you call. The objective is to save your relationship with the donor by putting your mission back on their mind, making them feel valued and reminding them of the impact of their giving.
Chris Paver, Co-founder + COO