- General Best Practices
We are just a couple of weeks away from #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving many independent schools of all sizes love to participate in. Since beginning in 2012, the campaign has spread the importance of giving back world-wide. With its recognizable hashtag, #GivingTuesday, the day has no doubt grown thanks to social media since its inception four years ago.
According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, #GivingTuesday 2014 raised 63% more than 2013, and the donations continue to grow each year thanks to an increased number of social media users over the past two years.
But what does this mean for your school? Historically, this time of year has played out as one of the best times of the year to interact with communities, family, and alumni. Year over year statistics show that November and December reap the highest percentage of donations. And we're predicting that this year, the psychology of #GivingTuesday falling just a few days before December (unlike in previous years) will have donors feeling a little more generous.
If you want to piggyback your annual fund on #GivingTuesday and gather some of those good-spirited donations, here are six easy ways your school can leverage social media to encourage prospective and recurring donors to give back.
1. Post content that reinforces your school's value
Let's be frank: if you take to social media just for #GivingTuesday, you're not going to get the traction you need to put a dent in your annual fund. Your social media should be a platform that constantly reinforces the value of your school, so when you ask for a donation, the reaction of your follower isn't "Why would I donate?"
In other words, you have to give before you can ask for something in return. You achieve this using a structured content marketing plan for the weeks leading up to #GivingTuesday.
As you consider what content to post, think about what photos, native and live streaming videos, news stories, recent achievements, or testimonials you can use to reinforce your school's value. Your goal is to subconsciously make your social followers realize the ROI that your school offers so when they see a post asking them to give back, it makes the decision easy.
For example, Hawai'i Preparatory Academy was strategic about posting the announcement of their HPA Fund after sharing a few personal, impactful stories like this one:
2. Brand Your Campaign and Encourage Engagement
Hashtags are a powerful way to drive conversation with your online audience, spread awareness of your cause, and encourage people that it can be fun to get involved. Though #GivingTuesday is a hashtag you shouldn't leave out, schools like De La Salle High School set a great example on how much an original hashtag can really grow the school brand for your campaign.
Their hashtag, #Give2DLS, is short, simple, and easy to remember – and the school is making sure to use it in any social media post they publish, like this one:
10 Strategies for Engaging Donors Whitepaper
3. Incorporate Social Proof
Want to bring in even more donations? Using a hashtag like #WhyIGive2DLS would take De La Salle's #GivingTuesday marketing to the next level, encouraging donors to share up-to-the-moment authentic stories about why they gave back.
When donors are on the fence about donating, what others share about your school using a particular hashtag could ultimately influence them to donate.
Using Finalsite Feeds, you can also bring this authentic content to your website's donation landing page. Because Feeds allows for post aggregation based on hashtag, you can pull tweets specific to your giving campaign onto your site to nudge donors along.
4. Create a Facebook Event
Nazareth Academy High School is pushing their #GivingTuesday event onto social with an actual Facebook event and hashtags.
This offers a simple, centralized location on Facebook for your community to share stories and information about the event. Facebook events send updates to those who are invited, too, so when it's time to donate, they'll get a notification when they login.
5. Blanket your social media profiles with your #GivingTuesday Campaign
Any time you want to raise awareness about a campaign, it's a great idea to switch up your Facebook and Twitter header images to something related to the campaign.
In addition, on Facebook, you can use the "Donate Now" call-to-action option so your social media visitors don't have to search around online to find where to donate. Please note, your school's Facebook page must be in the "non-profit organization" category to unlock the "Donate Now" button. You can learn more about that option here.
6. Build Social Media Ads and Boosted Posts
Let's face it: no one really sees organic Facebook posts. Even highly optimized, awesome video posts take the brunt of Facebooks algorithms.
So, your #GivingTuesday strategy would not be complete without a small ad budget. Even $50 can go a long way.
Using Facebook ads you can target two key audiences who are likely to donate:
- People who visited a giving page on your website: using a simple website pixel you create using Facebook Ads Manager, you can re-target individuals who visited these pages on your site with a specific message, encouraging them to donate.
- Previous donors: export a list of previous donors from Forms Manager or Raiser's Edge and import it into Facebook. Facebook will then match up the emails from your imported file with Facebook profiles, and you can then target this group of individuals with targeted content. You could even get as granular as targeting content based on the year or amount they donated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specializes in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.
- Social Media