A global pandemic, a land war in Europe, supply chain and labor shortages and economic uncertainty. As forecasts of an impending recession loom and COVID-era donations stall, nonprofits are forced to consider innovative ways to best reach their supporters. More importantly, they’re thinking about ways to keep them.

For more than 10 years, #GivingTuesday has been the preeminent global movement for nonprofit fundraising.  Similar to Black Friday or CyberMonday, it’s a sector-wide virtual push that mobilizes the citizen philanthropist to give, volunteer, or advocate.  Nonprofits worldwide have been preparing for this day for the past several months by collecting impact stories, investing in their digital infrastructures, and planning social media campaigns. 

On #GivingTuesday itself, it’s all about appealing to donors online – but what happens next?

In 2021, more than 35 million individuals collectively donated $2.7 billion worldwide. But The Fundraising Effectiveness Project cautions that when adjusted for inflation, giving increased only by 2.2% this year–primarily attributable to large donors. Compounding this, the overall number of donors decreased by 5.6% and donor retention (individuals who give year after year)  decreased by 6.2% from last year.

So, equally important to the months of preparation before #GivingTuesday is a strategic focus on donor management and engagement after #GivingTuesday. Key to this is retaining donors as advocates and volunteers even if, perhaps, this year, they give less, or not at all. 

Participating in #GivingTuesday in a meaningful way takes careful planning, strong execution and committed follow-up.  Nonprofits should ensure that donor management systems are well maintained not only to track giving, but also to show appreciation, send invitations to real-life events, encourage volunteerism, ask for feedback, personalize communication and more. 

Increasingly, donor management systems need to be expanded to measure and track engagement, not just giving. When donations wane, don’t assume that donor interest has as well. Every nonprofit occupies a space as diverse as the many needs in the world. Rather, consider other reasons for the decrease, such as the economic downturn, donor fatigue, a failed call to action, or a reworkable marketing campaign. 

Keeping loyal stakeholders involved with your nonprofit is an integral part of any fundraising strategy. I encourage any nonprofit organization to participate in #GivingTuesday as a catalyst to reaching new donors and as a reminder of their mission to existing supporters.  And remember: the journey continues all year long.

To help on your #GivingTuesday journey, check out a few of our favorite resources:

Written by
Mari Kuraishi