For the third year running, the Great Canadian Giving Challenge offers registered Canadian charities a chance to win a $10,000 donation and the opportunity to grow giving in summer. Read on for tips and examples on how your charity can leverage the Great Canadian Giving Challenge to help increase your summer donations.
The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is a month-long contest that begins on June 1st, 2017. During the month of June, every dollar donated via CanadaHelps.org or GivingChallenge.ca automatically earns your charity an entry. On July 1st, 2017 one charity will be randomly selected to win the $10,000 prize. Because $1 = 1 ballot, the more donations your charity receives, the higher your chances are of winning!
The true value gained by charities that participate in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge is the opportunity to motivate their existing supporters to donate during what is traditionally a low month for giving in Canada. Canadians want to help their favourite charities win $10,000, after all! And we know it works. In 2016, charities received 28% more donations than in 2015 and 48% more donations than in 2014. Charities that actively participated in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge for 2 years in a row earned 164% more, compared to the average 2-year donation growth of 28%.
In order to mobilize supporters, it’s important to plan a dedicated campaign, and it need not be complex. Read on for helpful tips and real life charity examples
1. Plan your messaging
Plan your Giving Challenge message and remember to keep it simple. It’s vital to focus on the impact that a $10,000 prize donation could have on your charity’s beneficiaries. The more specific you are with what could be accomplished with donations and the $10,000 prize, the more motivated your existing donors will be to make a gift.
In 2016, Street’s Alive Mission truly demonstrated the positive impact the $10,000 donation could have on a woman’s life with the use of the free Giving Challenge materials available on GivingChallenge.ca.
This year, we’re encouraging charities to use Canada’s 150th birthday as a unique opportunity to theme up their Giving Challenge campaigns. If your charity is doing something that enriches Canadian society in some way, don’t be afraid to highlight it when communicating your impact.
In addition to communicating your impact, use the “Help us win $10,000” buttons and graphics available at givingchallenge.ca. When using these graphics, be sure to call your supporters to action by noting that with each dollar donated, your charity is entered to win. You can feel free to change the colours to fit your branding as Make a Wish did in 2016.
Finally, remember to always direct donors to give the way you want them to. Use direct links instead of asking donors to search for you online. Be sure to ask donors for exactly what you want, whether it be the donation or the social share. Always offer a set of clear and consistent calls to action.
2. Plan your communications for every channel
Engage all your stakeholders by asking them to share. Anyone that supports you can be a powerful motivator for others to donate. This includes staff, volunteers, board members and influencers. Create assets and have them readily available to all your stakeholders before June 1st.
To reach as many of your supporters as possible, be sure to engage them about the Giving Challenge via every channel. This includes social media, email, your website and local media.
With high daily usage rates and the ability to talk directly to supporters, social media is a very important medium for Giving Challenge promotion. Always use #GivingChallengeCa in your posts to let supporters know your charity is a part of something big.
You can say more with less on social media by using pictures and videos that demonstrate the impact donations can have. One way to do this is to feature those who will be helped by donations in your images and/or videos (with their permission). Your donors are more likely to be motivated to give when they can see who they are helping. Make the image specific to the Giving Challenge by using the “Help us win $10,000” graphics, as St. Felix Centre did in 2016.
Use of images and video is important because both tend to generate more engagement than text alone, especially when they are posted on social. Try to keep videos under one minute long and ensure they share your impact. When using images and/or videos, you still need a call to action.
Email is very important as it generally gets higher conversion rates than other online channels. We recommend that you plan for multiple emails about the Great Canadian Giving Challenge including: letting your supporters know that “something big is coming on June 1st” prior to the start of the challenge, progress updates and a final end of month.
It’s important to send supporters to a dedicated landing page when they click the Donate Now links you’ve included on social media and in emails. Visit givingchallenge.ca for your ready-to-use Giving Challenge donation page. If you design your own, be sure to use Giving Challenge graphics and language for clarity and consistency. Of course you can design the page and colour the graphics to fit your charity’s branding.
- Don’t forget about local media:
Local media is a unique opportunity to get exposure and gain new supporters from your community. We recommend leveraging the Canada 150 theme as a hook for your media pitch. You may consider writing a basic press release using the Giving Challenge story that highlights the great impact your charity could have if you were to win the prize.
Now that you’ve planned your message and chosen your channels, it’s time to decide when you’ll communicate with your supporters. It’s important to start talking about the Giving Challenge prior to June 1st in order to build momentum. The earlier days of the campaign will make a big difference in overall results.
Social media is a great medium to prime your audience prior to the challenge. Share the Great Canadian Giving Challenge video and use the #GivingChallengeCa hashtag on social media before and throughout June. Because anyone who supports you is also a channel of communication, be sure to have your assets ready for use before June 1st.
Don’t forget to plan mid-month reminders. Tracking your fundraising progress is one way to remind supporters about the challenge. This can be done through email and or social media.
In 2016, PAL Reading Services used Twitter to track progress and communicate that they reached their fundraising goal. We recommend communicating how much you’ve raised and the impact that money will have on your charity’s beneficiaries.
Near the end of June, use email and/or social media for a “last minute push” and be sure to share results at the end of the challenge.
Remember, this challenge can make a difference in your overall donations, regardless of whether or not you win the $10,000 donation. Be sure to show gratitude to all your supporters and thank them for their generous gifts.