A Quick Guide to Making the Most of Giving Day: The Higher Ed Edition
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6 min read
April 16, 2024

A Quick Guide to Making the Most of Giving Day: The Higher Ed Edition

Four people are having a meeting about their Giving Day activities.
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For many campuses, charitable donations from alumni and other community members are essential. While donations can come in at any time throughout the fiscal year, Giving Day, a day dedicated to fundraising efforts, is one of the most anticipated days of the year. 

If your campus is planning a fundraising event, here’s a quick guide to ensure your campus makes the most of Giving Day.

Giving Day: It’s Important! 

Giving Day, as the name suggests, is a 24-hour fundraising event. The idea behind Giving Day is to bring awareness to your campus and encourage members of the community to donate to help achieve your fundraising goals set on that day. For example, your campus might set a goal to raise $10,000 or more during the 24 hours of Giving Day.

Sure, your fundraising efforts are a year-long commitment, but Giving Day is a big push to help you quickly reach your financial goals.

Giving Tuesday, an organization designed to help inspire others to do good, encourages organizations to hold Giving Day on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Realistically, your campus can host Giving Day on any day of the year. However, 35 million U.S. adults participated in Giving Tuesday in 2022, and they helped raise over 3.1 billion dollars for organizations that participated that year. 

With these stats in mind, planning your campus’ Giving Day for Giving Tuesday might be a good idea. Giving Tuesday is known for being a day of giving charitable donations, and it often trends on social media. So, by participating on that day, you can quickly funnel awareness for your campus’ fundraising efforts by participating in the #GivingTuesday hashtag.

Five Strategies for a Successful Giving Day

1. Set and Stick to Your Goals

If you want Giving Day to be successful, you’ll need to set SMART goals – goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Not only do SMART goals motivate your advancement team to work together, but they also create transparency and build trust with your donors. An example of a SMART goal for a fundraising department could be to acquire 100 more donors this year, while an example of a SMART goal for an alumni department could be to increase the number of alumni who attend events by 10% each year.

Being transparent in your fundraising efforts helps drum up momentum to reach your goals faster. Be sure to frequently post to social media or inform your donor base through texting or email with updates on your fundraising campaigns. 

Pro tip: Emailing individual donors about your fundraising efforts is time-consuming. However, it’s essential to keep your donors informed. Consider using Cadence to send timely, targeted text messages to your audience about your fundraiser’s progress. 

2. Host Local In-Person Events

Online fundraising is an excellent way to reach alumni and their families living outside your campus’ local area. Local events are also a great way to meet with donors and discuss how your campus uses their donations.

Local in-person events can double as more than just a fundraising opportunity for your campus. They’re also a prime opportunity to connect with the local community, introduce alumni to current students, and conduct outreach with prospective students. 

Pro tip: Use your in-person event on Giving Day to collect contact information of prospective students. Then, Cadence will be used to open a direct line of communication with those students (or, use Cadence for donor engagement!) 

3. Personalized Outreach

If your campus sends your donors, alumni, and other community members an email about Giving Day, the chances are high that it’ll be ignored. Sending a personalized text, however, is proven to be much more fruitful. By texting your donors instead of emailing them, you’re reaching them on the channel they use the most – their phones! With well-defined contact lists and carefully curated messaging, your text campaign can capture and retain donors beyond Giving Day. Prepare to launch your campaign alongside other fundraising efforts, like email, to reach a wide audience. 

Pro tip: How can you be sure the messages you send about your campus’ fundraising campaigns connect with your audience? By using Cadence to analyze interactions and data, you’ll acquire insights about your donor base. And, by knowing how your audience responds to your messages, you can send targeted, personalized messages according to what resonates with them.

4. Collaborate with Student-led Organizations

Giving Day can be a huge undertaking. And there’s no better way to spread the word about your fundraiser and get others involved than by recruiting the help of leaders of your campus’ student-led organizations.

Those in charge of your campus’ student-led organizations are more than willing to help bring awareness to your campus, because the exposure also helps shed light on the good things their groups do, too. Using their organizations as leverage, they can help broaden your fundraising efforts, encourage new donations, and forge new partnerships within individual networks to benefit your institution.

Pro tip: Hosting a successful Giving Day event requires significant planning and participation from various student-led organizations and leaders. Keep an open line of communication with your participants by using Cadence to quickly and easily send SMS messages about your fundraising event. 

5. Use Social Media

Aside from using the #GivingTuesday hashtag, using social media to bring awareness to your fundraising campaigns is a smart way to ensure your campus has a successful Giving Day. 

There are plenty of ways to use social media on Giving Day, including creating a social media campaign. Start by creating an online event and inviting your followers to participate. This helps bring awareness to your fundraiser and can be a place to link to your donation pages. Then, create carefully crafted social media posts and schedule them to publish in the weeks leading up to your event. Consider highlighting long-time donors or how donations directly impact your campus’ programs. 

Pro tip: On Giving Day, consider inviting your social media followers into the giving frenzy with live video. Give your social media friends a behind-the-scenes look at the work your volunteers and participants do to make Giving Day a success. This can draw your audience in and encourage them to donate to your cause. 

Maximize Your Giving Day Efforts with Cadence

The success of your Giving Day fundraising campaign depends solely on how well you can get the word about your organization’s financial needs. From planning your Giving Day events to executing your plans to connecting with donors, keeping an open line of communication is vital. 

Thankfully, Cadence can help you stay on top of communicating with your fundraising team and donors. Book a demo with our team today to learn more about how you can maximize your fundraising efforts with Cadence.