#GivingTuesday 2016: Success on November 29 and beyond

#GivingTuesday is just days away. For those of you who have been busily planning events and coordinating social media coverage, these final few days may feel like this:

Don’t let a looming deadline worry you. The impact of #GivingTuesday is long. Many organizations will devote months of work to critical causes using the resources and goodwill they raise on November 29. At this point, as you continue to amplify your social media presence ahead of #GivingTuesday, you should also begin to focus on how you will spend the day itself, and what you will do in the months to come.

Be responsive

Make sure your social media team is ready. On November 29—and, likely, a few days before—you may face questions from your supporters about your #GivingTuesday plans. Those questions could run the gamut from the logistical (“Where are you hosting the event, again?”) to the ethical (“Why should I support your organization instead of another?”).

Every question is an opportunity for your organization to prove its responsiveness and the clarity of its mission. And you may be surprised by the generosity of your audience, so be prepared to help them navigate #GivingTuesday. If you’re hosting a food drive and someone asks your social media team about donating something else—clothes, appliances, anything that may help—send them to the #GivingTuesday directory.

Need more pointers for how to engage with your audience before, during, and after an event? We have you covered.

Creative potential

If you’re hosting an event, then you have a unique opportunity to show the real-time consequences of your work. Many companies used Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to share the support from their audience; in many cases, organizations incentivized their supporters by pledging some resource in exchange for a selfie.

This can be especially fun if you’re hosting a live event: PopSugar has good tips on how to assemble a selfie station, and you can encourage your supporters to take pictures that use your hashtag, a move that might win you support from some of their friends.

Even if you’re hosting an online donation, encourage engagement from your crowd. “Charity is contagious,” a number of people will tell you, including the folks at CauseCast, where one contributor wrote: “Even when it comes to complex topics like poverty, education and health, each of us has the power to make an impact in the world that ripples outward to countless people beyond our immediate circles.” Those final words—beyond our immediate circles—are key. Engaging with your audience steadily on #GivingTuesday will send your message further into the world than you imagined.

Touch base

Touch base with your supporters, with other charities in your network, with the #GivingTuesday social media accounts, and with the press covering your efforts. With everyone, basically.

Being part of a social network means more than amplifying awareness of an event like #GivingTuesday. It means using a platform like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to gratify the curiosity of people around you. The members of your audience that will participate in #GivingTuesday will follow you up to November 29. But then you need to tell them what happens next.

Your network is the perfect way to do that. Take this collaboration between the Huffington Post and the 92nd Street Y in New York. It’s mutually beneficial:  Each story provides the Huffington Post with engaging narrative content, builds brand awareness for the 92nd Street Y, and encourages engagement with organizations during #GivingTuesday.

Many organizations reach out to their supporters and to news sources to help them build hype for their #GivingTuesday event. But you should use those same sources to gratify that hype, and show your supporters how you plan to build on the momentum of the day.

Share your story

This point ties together all of the above. #GivingTuesday has a narrative: It’s a story we tell the world about our efforts to practice good, consequential philanthropy. That story ensures your organization’s credibility; it tells your audience that you are a responsible steward of their resources, and that you’re working together to effect change.

On its official Facebook page, #GivingTuesday asks people to share their stories. (Look for #MyGivingStory on the sidebar.) The organization then says it may give as much as $10,000 to support a nonprofit organization of your choice in exchange for telling the story of your charitable work. A number of participating organizations, from Sandy Hook Promise to the National MS Society, encouraged their supporters to share stories with #GivingTuesday, with the potential to benefit from even greater financial support.

Here’s the best part: #MyGivingStory runs through December 31. It’s an opportunity for you to show the impact of your organization’s good work, and also a necessary reminder that meaningful change can—and should—happen all year.