The Day After

| by Shannon Williams

As we say in the South, it’s fall, y’all. Time for tailgates, pumpkin patches, and hay rides. And in the non-profit sector, it’s time for giving days. 

Giving Tuesday is the most well know of course, but higher education and independent schools also have alumni giving days tied to big rivalry games or anniversaries. Whatever your big giving day is, are you ready for what comes after? 

Historically, we spend a lot of time preparing for the giving day itself—securing challenge gifts, creating logos and content, scheduling social media posts. This preparation is good, but are you spending an equal amount of time if not more, getting ready to say thank you, especially to your first-time donors? 

I love this post about Georgetown University’s effort to create personalized thank you videos for their Blue & Gray Giving Day. Not only did the preparation only take a couple of hours, but the results included amazingly high open rates from their donors—over 67%. The take-away—donors appreciate a personal thank you, especially video. And, we know that when donors are appreciated and understand the impact of their gifts, they are more likely to give again. 

I also appreciated Heather Joslyn’s article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Tips for Keeping New Donors After the Giving DayI love her suggestion of sending welcome packets to new donors, but I was even more intrigued by her idea of thank you receptions—especially for local non-profits or organizations with regional councils or alumni groups. It is fun to imagine Welcome Wednesday following Giving Tuesday to celebrate all of your new donors. There are so many possibilities. 

If you don’t already have a solid plan in place for the day after your big giving day, it is time to map it out. Add it to your next team agenda. Get your resources in order. For most of us, the big giving day only comes once a year. Don’t miss your chance to make the impact of the day last well beyond a 24-hour period. 

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