Although GivingTuesday is nearly two months away, the time is right to start planning for ways in which to take advantage of this global giving campaign for your parish. From free resources such as flyer templates, customizable email copy, and social media images, there are many ways you can customize this international campaign to your parish.
GivingTuesday was created in 2012, and today is organized and celebrated each year with the simple aim of encouraging individuals, families, schools, businesses, and other organizations to give to the less fortunate. From well-known philanthropic organizations (like United Nations Foundation) to small non-profits and non-governmental organizations (such as Save the Children), most take advantage of this increasingly well-known fundraising day to jumpstart their giving.
Faith-based organizations using GivingTuesday have grown considerably since it was established, and it’s only getting bigger. Last year, for example, #iGiveCatholic (an online giving component to GivingTuesday that provides Catholic parishes, schools, ministries, and nonprofits the opportunity to connect with their current donors) raised more than $5.6 million from over 23,000 donors to support 1,354 organizations across the country.
Decide on a Goal
To start, you need come up with a fundraising goal. It should be attainable, but not easily. Has your parish been hurting for a new front plow for the maintenance van or better projection screens for the gathering space? Is there a family in the parish who is really hurting financially? Whatever it is, you’ll want to solidify it in order to begin the next part of the plan.
In order to bring others deeper into the process, some parishes go through a voting process to decide which cause to go with. The leadership staff choose three worthy causes ranging from office maintenance, much-needed mission resources, or even a better lawn mower or snow blower.
Depending on the size of the parish, and the average amount of donations, they try to come up with an amount that everyone can help contribute to. They then “open the polls” and allow their parishioners to choose the cause, which helps them feel close to the decision.
Get Everyone on Board
Once you let your parishioners know what your GivingTuesday goal is, it’s time to help prepare them to contribute to the worthy cause. Advertise in the bulletin, hang flyers in the gathering spaces, and highlight the goal before and after Mass. Ask everyone to prayerfully consider contributing, and then keep the momentum going as the weeks count down to the big day.
The fun thing about GivingTuesday is the fact that the donations come in on one specific day. Announcements in real time keep things exciting, as all members feel as though they have the opportunity to make a difference in their parish through their contribution and prayers.
It’s All About the Day
St. Robert’s Church took their GivingTuesday goal to the next level by setting up an online pledge thermometer and asking parishioners to pledge their contribution two weeks in advance. They also passed out pew cards that people could take home and pass along for others to donate. When GivingTuesday finally arrived, the parish kept everyone up to date using social media, email, and their website as the donations began to roll in.
When it seemed as though they might not make their goal by 5 p.m. that evening, a text message from the pastor to all registered parishioners went out. And by 9:35 p.m. that night, they reached their goal, which was for their parking lot to be repaved.
The GivingTuesday organization has numerous resources to help get your cause out in the open. Find social media templates, flyers, messages, communication timelines, and more on their website.
Has your parish participated in GivingTuesday? What was the outcome?