Giving Tuesday is such an awesome and empowering event. There is so much energy in the community around supporting all of our non-profits on this very special day. As Elgin Gives kicked off its efforts last year, Food For Greater Elgin (FFGE) played a role on the committee to create greater awareness and momentum around an already exciting day. As an FFGE Board member, I was inspired by the energy and excitement to take our organization’s Giving Tuesday campaign to a new level.
FFGE had conducted modest peer-to-peer campaign efforts the previous year with the Board of Directors and our tremendous volunteers. I wanted to create an opportunity to build upon those efforts with greater reach and more personal contact with donors and prospects. A renewed matching gift opportunity from the Grand Victoria Foundation provided even greater incentive for donor outreach and giving.
Working with FFGE’s Director of Development, I spearheaded a calling event for the staff and board members. During Giving Tuesday, Rieke Office Interiors (ROI) hosted FFGE board members, staff and volunteers for a calling event in the afternoon and early evening. Our primary goal for the calling event was to cultivate and retain past Giving Tuesday donors while also celebrating and sharing the excitement together in a fun venue.
Being successful required some preliminary preparation. Six weeks prior to the event, Board members identified prospects and existing donors for their Giving Tuesday peer-to-peer campaigns. These campaigns afforded FFGE the opportunity to drill down its donor and prospect lists to make the peer contacts meaningful and relevant and to reach as many current and lapsed donors as possible.
Armed with information and tasty food—an important element for any good party!—we kicked off the event with approximately 10 people. We monitored the #ILGIVE website for live data on a projector screen we could all see. Working with real-time information allowed us to call donors to encourage them to give on this special day to help us reach our match as well as thank donors that had given throughout the day.
It was quite an event. Everyone made a call that made a difference. In the time that we were on the phones, we secured increased gifts as well as a renewed gift from a donor that hadn’t given in three years. Thank you calls, as always, resulted in great conversations and even more invested donors. Most importantly, everyone left inspired and grateful for the opportunity make such a big difference for the pantry.
As we look ahead to this year’s Giving Tuesday, I’m confident that we will have even more volunteers and leaders engaged in our peer-to-peer efforts. Greater outreach via email and social media to our peers prior to Giving Tuesday will make calls on the big day that much more successful.
As Elgin Gives builds on its momentum and awareness of Giving Tuesday continues to grow, donors will face many worthy choices to which to give their limited resources. Being engaged with your community at a peer level opens the door to communicating your non-profit’s specific needs in way that garners greater attention. Coupling peers with the potential to increase giving through a matching gift is a win-win situation for everyone.
And, last but definitely not least, never ever forgetting to say thank you multiple times will lead any organization to a successful fundraising event for Giving Tuesday.