Gearing up for the Giving Season


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In the nonprofit and charitable sector, the weeks between October 1 and New Year’s Eve is known as “The Giving Season.” Charities see a large amount of their donations come in at this time and special campaigns are in full force.

How does your organization prepare for this demanding and exciting time? This webinar provides you with tips, advice and ideas to make this year's Giving Season a smooth success!

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Gearing up for the Giving Season

  1. 1. Gearing up for the Giving Season September 23, 2009 For audio, turn on your speakers, or Call 1-516-453-0014; Code 211-213-816
  2. 2. Reminders You can hear us, but we can’t hear you Type questions in the Questions Log Webinar recording and slides will be available on Turn up your volume For the best webinar experience, close all other applications. For audio, turn on your speakers, or Call 1-516-453-0014; Code 211-213-816
  3. 3. What is CanadaHelps? A public charitable foundation that provides accessible and affordable online technology to both donors and charities. For Charities A cost-effective means of raising funds online. For Donors A one-stop-shop for giving. CanadaHelps is a charity helping charities. For audio, turn on your speakers, or Call 1-516-453-0014; Code 211-213-816
  4. 4. Today’s Presenters • Amy Huynh Communications Assistant • Kirstin Beardsley Marketing and Communications Coordinator For audio, turn on your speakers, or Call 1-516-453-0014; Code 211-213-816
  5. 5. Webinar Agenda 1. What is Giving Season? 2. Donor Motivations 3. The Challenge & The Opportunity 4. Getting Ready 5. Giving Season Ideas 6. Tips & Reminders 7. Q&A
  7. 7. ‘Tis the season to be giving! • “Giving Season” takes place approximately between October 1 and December 31 • In a given year, 50% of donations made through the CanadaHelps portal occur in December alone • Many cultural celebrations during this time of the year with common theme of togetherness, generosity, compassion, goodwill
  8. 8. Consider the season’s multiple cultural celebrations • Along with Christmas, other cultural events at this time with the same spirit of generosity • Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Winter solstice, Eid • Get familiar with the holidays celebrated • Keep a calendar with cultural celebrations highlighted
  10. 10. Understand what motivates donors to give • The spirit of giving • Family, holiday and religious traditions • Tax benefit • Making a difference • Having an impact • Inspiring fundraising campaign • Recognition • Social influence
  11. 11. A big motivator is simply being asked…especially by someone in your personal network
  13. 13. Challenge Opportunity • Standing out from the crowd of • It’s a season of giving back other fundraising campaigns & • People, companies, families, communications schools, etc. are more likely to • Competing with donors’ tight donate at this time budgets • Media are looking for charitable • Keeping organized and motivated stories • Companies are thinking about meaningful gifts for their staff and clients
  15. 15. Set goals Define audience • Specific • Analyze key groups or people you • Measurable want to reach and what their • Achievable needs are • Realistic • Who is key to the initiative? • Time-focused • Who do you need to connect with for this to be a success?
  16. 16. Figure out your story • Develop inspirational content that touches upon the values of the holiday season • Why should donors care? What can they help accomplish? • How can a donation save someone’s life? • Connect donors to the impact their donation can have • Tailor your story for the online platform • Keep it simple • Easy to remember & retell
  17. 17. Determine your communication tactics • How are you going to reach your target audience? • What will you need to spread your organization’s message? • Additional web pages • Direct mail materials • Holiday edition of your e-newsletter • E-blasts & e-cards • Speeches • Advertising • Online community outreach / Social network outreach • Events
  18. 18. Update your website • Maximize your homepage real estate for your appeal • Remove any outdated information • Keep your content, imagery and appeals current • Your website is a huge source of your organization’s authenticity • Remember: many of your offline donors will visit your website and consider your web presence as part of their decision whether to donate • Emphasize donor security and privacy
  19. 19. Test links and buttons • Are all links in working order? Do they all lead users to the right place? • Make sure your Donate Now button: • stands out from the rest of your website • leads donors to your CanadaHelps Donation Page • can be found no matter what page a visitor is on
  20. 20. Integrate your communications • If you're also doing a direct mail fundraising appeal, how is your online appeal connected to it? • Your website should reflect the e-newsletters/direct mail you send out
  22. 22. Donations as gifts • Encourage donors to donate on behalf of a friend or loved one as a way of giving a holiday gift • Helps them to buy gifts for their loved ones and “give back” at the same time • Suggest monthly donations • Frame your ask in such a way that it’s a win-win situation: monthly donations for you, convenience and budgeting for your donors
  23. 23. Donating Gifts of Securities • Most gifts of securities are made at the end of the year • Accepting gifts of securities is easy & hassle-free with CanadaHelps • Clearly and succinctly explain the benefits and process in your communications • Donations of securities take longer than regular donations • In order for donors to receive a tax receipt before the end of the year, they need to allow for several business days • Start communicating this option early
  24. 24. Remind donors they also benefit from donating to your charity! • Donors need to make their gift by December 31st to get their tax receipt • CanadaHelps automatically e-mails them a PDF tax receipt • Giving online is perfect for those last-minute donations
  25. 25. Let your donors spread the word for you! • Encourage your supporters to “tell a friend” about your organization/campaign, forward e-newsletters, raise funds on your behalf, etc. • Make it easy and convenient to support you • develop strong and compelling communications and let your donors do the rest! • Harnessing the power of the social web for good
  26. 26. Ask donors to set up a GivingPage instead of accepting gifts • Invite your supporters to create fundraising campaigns through GivingPages to raise money on your behalf • Give donors specific ideas: donations in lieu of gifts, pledge event, fundraising challenge amongst friends, “gift-less” parties, etc. • Send out an e-newsletter or create a page on your website outlining how they can help raise money for your organization • Tips: set a goal and deadline, initiate a challenge, promote through social networks
  27. 27. • GPAGE EXAMPLE – giftless holiday
  28. 28. Connect with your community • Schools • Community newspapers • Ethnic publications • Local businesses • Financial planners • Volunteers
  29. 29. TIPS & REMINDERS
  30. 30. Have a clear call to action • Let your readers know what to do next • Make following through as simple and specific as possible • Explain what their action would accomplish and what would happen next • Good calls to action are highly specific, easy and very feasible for someone to do
  31. 31. • Need • Solution • Cost • Urgency • Donor Context • Donor Benefit
  32. 32. Set up funds on CanadaHelps • People want to know what their donation will help your organization achieve • Designate and describe funds for your campaigns, projects, areas of need • Designating funds on CanadaHelps and your website help donors make a connection to impact
  33. 33. Login to your MyCharity Account • Check and fulfill any card requests from your CanadaHelps donors • Read the messages donors send to your charity • Make sure your charity profile is up to date
  34. 34. Listen & Monitor • Set up a GoogleAlerts ( for your campaign • Be sure to monitor keywords on Twitter ( • If you find a person or a group talking about your cause, you can respond to them and start a relationship • Media outlets are looking for charitable stories at this time of the year
  35. 35. Tap into the “blogosphere” • Identify and reach out to bloggers who are talking about the issues related to your cause • Send them a personalized message about their writing/blog and explain why your organization’s campaign is relevant or compelling to them and their readers
  36. 36. Donor Stewardship • Let donors know how they helped your mission • Give the donor the credit – tell them how their contribution has made a difference • Recognize donors in a timely way • Remember to include CanadaHelps donors in your charity’s regular donor recognition programs • Give new donors a warm welcome
  38. 38. Free online resource centre Next Webinar • Information about technology “Really Simple Strategies: Keeping Track of your • Video demonstrations Organization and Issues Online” • More webinars with guest MARCO CAMPANA • Past webinar recordings OCTOBER 7 • Learning opportunities 2PM – 3PM • Events (Eastern Time)
  39. 39. UPCOMING EVENTS The Five Pillars of Online Fundraising September 29 – REGINA, Saskatchewan September 30 – SASKATOON, Saskatchewan November 5 – TORONTO, Ontario MyCharityConnects On the Road presented by Direct Energy November 12 – CALGARY, Alberta November 13 – EDMONTON, Alberta
  40. 40. Question and Answer You can hear us, but we can’t hear you Ask questions here Ask away!
  41. 41. Thank you for attending! Webinar slides and recording will be up on: Check out for resources! Questions, feedback, comments? Email Amy at: Thanks to: