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  • Writer's pictureChris Strub

Five Questions to Jumpstart Your Giving Day Marketing Plan

Giving Days are a happening trend for communities around the country, and no two Giving Days are the same.

Chris chats with the team at Hand 2 Hand Ministries in Louisville during the 2017 #GiveForGoodLou on Sept. 14.

Last September, I joined the marketing team at the Community Foundation of Louisville for a very successful Giving Day. The social media strategy for #GiveForGoodLou 2017 was built largely around Facebook Live videos with an influencer, and they raised a local record $4.6 million in 24 hours.

And while there is no way to directly and exactly correlate social media exposure with donations, there is plenty of data available to show that the community was further energized by that day-long buzz created on Facebook. In fact, we collected over 14,000 organic live views in less than 24 hours. See the full recap blog here .

Live-streaming video is becoming increasingly commonplace. Donors are looking for direct connections to local organizations, while Facebook and other platforms are adjusting their algorithms to favor live video (and to de-emphasize other content from brands and pages). Live-streaming and Giving Days are a perfect marriage, due to the inherent sense of urgency of a 24-hour donation period.

But before you draw a social media strategy of any kind, it’s important to ask yourself and/or your team a few questions. This self-assessment should take place well before your Giving Day.

1) What are our goals for the Giving Day? What exactly does success look like, and how will we define it?

It’s a sure bet that you have a nice, round donation figure in mind as a goal, but there will be plenty of other data to track: number of donors, average donation size, number of participating nonprofits, donations in the morning/afternoon/evening, etc. If it’s your first Giving Day, think big; if it’s not your first, be sure to set reasonable expectations above and beyond last year.

Your social media strategy should have its own set of goals, too. Likes, comments and shares are the easiest metrics to track, but Facebook’s native analytics platform gives plenty of additional data on click-throughs, watch time and much more. Larger communities should consider third-party platforms like Delmondo to extract even deeper data about their content.

The holy grail is, of course, attention. Great live video content can be the answer to capturing people’s attention for longer periods of time, and with the right message and calls to action, that can easily equate to donations.

2) What are the human resources at our disposal?

As every nonprofit professional knows full well by now, social media can be a major time-suck. On Giving Days, your team will be all-hands-on-deck. Nonprofits will undoubtedly have questions, concerns and individual situations that will require your team’s assistance. Without proper planning, this can seriously bite into the social media strategy you’ve developed.

Remember, too, that social media is not just a one-way channel. A social strategy done right will lead to plenty of questions, interactivity and user-generated content to monitor, respond to and potentially re-broadcast. Include time in your team’s day to be flexible, reactive and interactive.

If live video is a consideration, think hard about who you are putting on camera: can this person/people really represent the energy and the atmosphere that we are trying to create for this day? Some organizations have incredibly talkative, camera-friendly and video-ready stars on staff — others do not. Does it make sense to have an influencer who’s accustomed to being on camera voice your message?

3) What are the physical resources at our disposal?

If your organization is fortunate enough to have camera equipment, microphones, stage lighting, a selfie stick, Snapchat Spectacles, etc., your Giving Day is when it should all be on the table — literally.

Your Giving Day is your chance to shine, and real-time storytelling is critical when all eyes are on you. No matter what kind of equipment you own, your biggest resource is the people and the stories within your community, so whether you’re creating a bunch of content in advance to share during your Giving Day or approaching it on the fly, make sure you have the ability to tell those stories to the best of your ability.

This is most of the equipment that I brought to Louisville last September for #GiveForGoodLou on Sept. 14. The microphones and gimbal cameras were incredibly useful.

This is where working with an influencer can really be beneficial on your Giving Day. They may have photography/videography equipment that you do not have access to. It can be cheaper and less stressful to utilize an influencer for a day than to acquire equipment on your own and assign your team to learn how to use it on the go.

4) What are the physical constraints of our event?

#GiveForGoodLou in Louisville has a spectacular mid-day bash that features hundreds of participating nonprofits at a central location in downtown Louisville. Additionally, organizations host events all around the city during the 24-hour stretch. These circumstances, along with Louisville’s quality cellular network, make it the perfect opportunity to maximize through Facebook Live.

But not every Giving Day has a structure that is so convenient to mobile live-streaming. Maybe the geographical area you represent is enormous, and it’d be impossible for a team of one or two to even make it to the different areas being represented. Maybe your city is more rural and has a much weaker 4G/LTE signal, and video streaming would only make sense where WiFi is available. (Remember, it must be strong, reliable WiFi!)

Live-streaming professionals are used to dealing with tricky circumstances. Assuming your Giving Day is on a weekday, it’s safe to assume a large portion of your audience will be able to tune in while at work, and another significant portion will be more likely to tune in in the evening, after getting home from work. Don’t underestimate the audience that will tune in as your Giving Day winds down, too; #GiveForGoodLou ended at midnight, and we had a huge audience watching along with us as we counted down the final couple of hours, and the last few dramatic minutes before midnight. You should be prepared to communicate directly with your donors all day long, whether you’re out in the field or at your so-called home base.

5) Who are your donors?

This last question is somewhat of a trick. No matter how you answer this one, it’s likely that they are on Facebook. So no matter what your strategy looks like, I can almost guarantee you it includes sharing content on Facebook during the day.

Live-streaming video is the ultimate way to capture the attention of your community. When done correctly, live video can be an enormous value add to your own brand, your donors and all the participating nonprofits. With proper resources, it can also provide plenty of content for your other social media channels as well — video clips can be shared on Twitter, Instagram, Instagram Stories, even Snapchat.

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One more thing: when building your Giving Day social media strategy, it’s critical to start early. In Louisville, the Community Foundation marketing team used live-streaming video for months in advance, which conditioned their audience perfectly for the extravaganza in September. It also helped their marketing team get extremely comfortable with the medium, and made them able to adapt to the challenges that inevitably arose.

I joined the Community Foundation of Louisville to help them tell stories of the many benefiting organizations of the day using live-streaming video. If you’re interested in working with me to help bring a similar execution to your city, contact me today: chrisstrub (at) gmail (dot) com.

Chris Strub is the first person to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states. He’s the author of ‘50 States, 100 Days: The Book,’ creator of the course ‘Live-streaming for Nonprofits’ and was the host of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America 2017 National Conference. Learn more about Chris at

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