Did What: Exceeded their Goal for Giving Tuesday in 2020 by nearly 25%
In this interview, the SPCA of Texas’ Amanda Rainey, Vice President of Development, and Maegan Hoffmann, Annual Funds Manager, describe how they used fresh and compelling stories and customized messaging based on donor type to exceed their $100K goal for Giving Tuesday even in the wake of other major fourth-quarter fundraisers and events.
Amanda has been in non-profit fundraising since 2005 and joined the SPCA of Texas in June 2021. Maegan has been at the SPCA for nearly 3 years and has 10 years of fundraising experience, primarily in the arts.
ASPCApro: How successful was your 2020 Giving Tuesday in comparison to previous years?
Hoffmann: The SPCA of Texas has come close to the $100K mark in the past but never met it. Last year, however, we surpassed it, raising $124,196. It was our most successful Giving Tuesday campaign ever.
ASPCApro: Did the amount you were able to raise surprise you?
Hoffmann: Yes! I recall being home and watching our digital thermometer ticking up. Because of COVID-19, we really didn’t know what to expect. Giving Tuesday came on the heels of our annual gala, the Fur Ball, which was virtual for the first time, as well as North Texas Giving Day, an 18-hour online giving event that supports many local nonprofits. We planned carefully for Giving Tuesday and made sure not to tell the same stories over and over so our messaging wouldn’t get stale.
ASPCApro: Why do you think it was so successful?
Hoffmann: We focused on emotive storytelling rather than just, “We need money.” We took potential donors through the journey of a rescued animal, Rose, a pit bull who was our hero animal for Giving Tuesday. Rose came to us riddled with bullets after being shot 4 times. We introduced Rose to our general audience via email (see illustration), connecting people to the narrative and making them realize how they could make a difference for other animals like Rose. Later, in a social post featuring downtown Dallas with buildings lit in purple, the SPCA’s signature color, we thanked donors, reminding them that it’s not too late to give.
On the data side, we customized our communications according to donor type, with messages to sustainers different from those to first-time donors, for example. We also segmented messaging based on giving behavior throughout the day with multiple targeted communications. targeted communications. For example, if you gave at 6 a.m, you didn’t get another ask. Instead, you got a thank you and a reminder about how your donation makes a difference.
Rainey: The targeted messaging did inspire some generous donors to re-engage when they learned their gifts could be matched by other donors. We really dialed into the matching strategy, even using a “power hour” match to motivate donors to give again during specific matching campaigns happening during heavy social media traffic hours such as the lunch hour and in the early evening from 6-7 p.m., when we ratcheted it up. That strategy really worked for us.
ASPCApro: Did you do anything different in 2020 than you have before?
Hoffmann: Leading up to Giving Tuesday, we turned November into a month-long thank-you effort for donors to prevent donor fatigue. We continued to treat Giving Tuesday as its own giving day on all our channels: online, social media, website, emails, and even in phone calls.
ASPCApro: How do you use Giving Tuesday funds? Are they allocated toward anything specific?
Hoffmann: The money goes into our general operating fund with 87 cents of every dollar being spent helping animals in North Texas.
ASPCApro: How important is Giving Tuesday to your organization?
Hoffmann: Any chance to communicate and tell those stories to donors and people who love us is important.
Rainey: In our market, Giving Tuesday is not as strong as North Texas Giving Day, which most recently occurred on September 23, 2021, and raised $351,000. Still, exceeding our $100K goal for Giving Tuesday is an impressive milestone, and we’re very pleased.
ASPCApro: How many of your staff get involved in Giving Tuesday?
Rainey: Four of our development team are pretty engaged in Giving Tuesday strategy and execution and about a half dozen staff on the marketing side take part.
ASPCApro: How are you planning this year’s Giving Tuesday?
Hoffmann: We’ve done a lot of iterative testing for Giving Tuesday regarding artwork, messaging, and donation buttons to make it the comprehensive campaign that it is. We let it stand alone as its own campaign. That way donors don’t get confused.
ASPCApro: What is your goal for this year’s Giving Tuesday?
Hoffmann: Our goal is $130K. But if we can do more than that, I will be over the moon!!