Q4 Strategies for Nonprofits

Q4 is peak season for Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs). Unfortunately, it also lines up with the peak e-commerce season which means higher CPCs and more competition for ad space. NPOs need to map out their entire marketing strategy for Giving Tuesday through New Year’s Eve.  For many NPOs, they will receive more donations in the last week of the year than they do in the rest of the year combined.  So, maximizing donations and efforts is key, especially since many NPOs have limited budgets as it is, let alone extra for marketing efforts. Here are some ideas to help NPOs get the most out of their year-end efforts.

Plan Ahead

This might sound basic, but planning ahead is key. You need to determine your strategy, your offers, your social media calendar, budgets and everything else. Map everything out clearly. Create schedules for each effort so you have enough time to get creatives developed, approvals as needed and stay ahead of the business. NPOs are usually short-staffed and with everyone wearing multiple hats – good organization, accurate schedules, and clear direction will help everything get done on time.

Here are some strategy and logistic areas to think through now to help you get ready:

  • Do you have matching donors lined up?
  • Can a partner donate free gifts to help prompt donations of a certain amount?
  • Is your website ready to accept a variety of payment types securely?
  • Can someone download a “a donation has been given in your name” PDF?
  • What donor lists can you export (one time, multi-giver, seasonal, recent, etc)
  • Are there any influencers that would support your organization on social media?
  • What budget do you want to allocate for each channel?
  • How did each of your tactics perform last year to help provide direction for this year?

There are dozens of other questions to ask yourself but hopefully these will help you get started.

How to Handle Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday has become quite popular the last few years. Be careful to note when this date falls as it might be in November or December, depending when Thanksgiving is that year.  This day is now the informal kick-off to the holiday giving season, but it can be tricky. Many NPOs want a strong Facebook presence and have tried to capitalize on Facebook’s matching gifts. They might think they have the whole day to get matching grants from Facebook and in reality, it’s an impossibility. In my experience, ad costs are still very high on Giving Tuesday and Facebook’s grants are given out in minutes.

My advice is not to focus on just that day, but on the entire week prior. Use your organic efforts to capitalize on the spirit of the holiday with generosity in giving.  Avoid anything on Black Friday as too many people are just simply focused elsewhere. Prep your target to let them know what actions you’d like them to take and when. Be clear that they don’t have to wait to give just on Giving Tuesday also.

How to Advertise During the Rest of the Giving Season

With the heavy e-commerce push prior to Christmas, your ad spend will be high before 12/25. Consider saving your ad spend for after Christmas. Here’s why:

  • You’ll no longer have to compete with e-commerce brands
  • Donors are more mentally open to giving once they are out of holiday mode
  • End of year giving is always strong as people want to give before year end for tax breaks

Audiences and Messaging

It’s important to craft the right messages for your audiences. If you have a list of repeat donors, be sure to address them differently than your 1x only donors or non-donor newsletter subscribers. Try different offers in remarketing efforts after someone hasn’t responded to the first one.  If you’re using Facebook, try creating lookalikes from your best audiences (repeat or monthly donors) for prospecting. Similarly, don’t forget to exclude recent one time donors; if someone has donated in November already, they likely won’t give again any time soon.

If you can’t segment that much with your donor lists, provide multiple call to actions (CTAs) and provide a challenge to complete 1, 2 or 3+ actions.  These also help your audience take action on your behalf when they might not have the means to give a financial gift.  Ideas include:

  • Like and share this post
  • Start a Facebook Fundraiser (include the directions on how to do so)
  • Give (in honor of a loved one, for a holiday gift, just because)

Ad Copy

If you have a Google Ad Grant account, be sure to update your ads to reflect language for the holiday season or any special giving incentives you have. Don’t rely on your sitelinks alone for this.

If you’re in other channels, be sure to swap out images and copy regularly to fight against ad fatigue.

If possible, be as specific in your creatives as possible based on the calendar.  Meaning, have different creatives for pre Giving Tuesday, Giving Tuesday itself, the week after Giving Tuesday, etc. Do the same with the rest of the calendar through the end of the year.

Try Something New on Facebook

If you’re a NPO without a large budget or resources, just get creative with what you can do for free.

  1. Start a Facebook Page FundraiserYou have nothing to loose on this one. Share it in your social media posts and emails. Ask your supporters to share it. Include inspirational stories to help others see the benefit in your organization.
  2. Create Donation Awareness - Add donate buttons or stickers to your posts or profile
  3. Give Facebook Live a try – Go live on Facebook, then add a ‘Donate’ button to your video so viewers can donate directly as they watch. This can be linked to a special event if you have one, but doesn’t have to be.

Facebook will be hosting its first ever Facebook Social Impact Education Conference to help nonprofits maximize their organization’s impact. You can attend this to get some ideas that might be a great fit for your NPO as well.

Be Diverse

Don’t just rely on one method of reaching new and existing donors.  At a minimum, push organic efforts on all of your social media channels and utilize outbound email efforts. If you only rely on Facebook, you’re going to miss out. If you have video, try YouTube ads. Look at Quora to see if any questions might be a good fit for Sponsored Question Ads (I know, the volume will be low, but so will be the cost and you’ll get great net wins). Diversifying a little bit can yield great returns.

If you don’t know how to launch on these channels or need help with your paid Q4 strategy, please reach out to the Clix team as we’d be happy to help you get started and get the most out of your Q4 giving efforts. We work with a number of NPOs to help them achieve their Q4 goals and would love to help you achieve yours as well.

And make sure you catch the posts below from our Q4 planning series so far!