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A Better Giving Tuesday, Part 4 - Dump Your Old Goals

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck
October 21, 2020

Planning your Giving Tuesday and year-end campaign has gotten more difficult than ever. The pandemic, the economy, the election, and the ongoing work for social justice have rightly distracted the attention of your donors and raised real questions about how – and whether – to cut through that clutter. 

In no area is the water murkier than in the realm of goal-setting. In part four of our six-part series on planning for a better Giving Tuesday and year-end campaign, we're going to tackle one of the biggest questions we're fielding from people like you every day.

Challenge 4:
We’re consistently tracking well below our goals, but we’re getting pressure to close the gap this fall. How do we set goals that satisfy our program needs, respond to management pressure, and give us a realistic target we can hit?

Recommendation:
Dump Your Old Goals

The Details:
We've been giving this advice since the start of the pandemic: honestly, the goals you set back in January have almost no relevance anymore.

While that might be frustrating, the fact is that movements are more than metrics. Many of the solicitations we're seeing appear to be need-driven rather than story driven. We aren't trying to minimize your needs, but realize that asking for money because you need it is one of the least compelling ways to ask.

Now is the time to think in terms of long-term cultivation as well as short-term results. What's the longer-term narrative you can create? If you’ve already been hitting your lists with asks heavily throughout the year, it may make more sense to consider a “Gratitude Tuesday” campaign instead of a Giving Tuesday campaign — thanking your donors for their support instead of asking them for more help. 

First Steps:

  1. Benchmark your goals not against the industry or your own plans from January, but against what you’ve actually achieved this year. If you have been running 20% down, take your initial goal and reduce it by the same amount.
  2. With the segmentation you created earlier (see part 3 of this series), it may be helpful to create goals other than financial goals for some segments. For example, rather than a financial goal, you might set a goal to get 100% participation in order to keep supporters engaged.
  3. Report and readjust throughout the campaign! This is a year to try new things and learn.

There are a lot of ways to measure success. Financial results are important, but those aren't the only metrics that matter. And, with what appears to be another six months of pandemic ahead of us, it may not make sense to hit your donors with everything you have right now. Slow down, take another look at your goals, and set a bar that you can hit.

We'll dive more deeply into slowing down in parts five and six of the series over the next several days. Until then, be sure to download our free guide with all of these tips and more. 

Polaris Fall 2020 Campaign Download Cover

Times are tough. Fundraising doesn't have to be. 

Let us help you navigate your way to better results with Polaris, our service to help your plan a better, more effective Giving Tuesday and year-end campaign.

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