The Official Success Guide for The Great Canadian Giving Challenge

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is a month-long initiative to help you drive donations during a slow time of the year for fundraising. Every June, we’ve given you a reason to re-engage your donor base, attract new donors, and have the chance to win a significant prize donation from CanadaHelps.

But how do you get to that level of success? We’ll show you how with our 10 “must-do’s” for another year of fundraising success!

1. Engage your donors with a compelling message

Establish a loyal and robust connection with a new donor. Tell a compelling and engaging story about your fundraising efforts, including a spotlight on the people or the cause you support, and highlight why your supporters’ help is critical. 

Here are some ways you can be compelling with your cause message:

  • Give donors a sense of urgency by clearly stating that your campaign is only running for a specific period as part of the Great Canadian Giving Challenge (June 1st to 30th). 
  • Be emotional; sometimes, people want to know what issues your organization is fighting for and what hope is there with their donations. Studies have shown that if you start your message with a sad tone and then gradually bring that message with a more hopeful demeanour, there is a higher likelihood of more donations.
  • Convey precisely how these dollars will translate into a solution. People want to feel their dollars will go a long way.

If you need more messaging advice, read this article!

2. Plan out your communications and marketing strategy

Think about how you are going to deliver that message from step one. 

Will you leverage social media and email, or will you go the old-school way of direct mail or set up a parking booth and have your volunteers raise funds? Are you trying to target new donors or bring back dormant donors of the past? Will you be funny and engaging or serious and thought-provoking? 

These are questions you need to answer in order to communicate clearly and succeed with #GivingChallengeCA. Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time can mean the difference between a conversion and annoyance.

What can help is drafting posts and scheduling them in advance so you can focus your time and energy on groundwork or connecting with donors on a call. Content that can be prepared and planned: big announcements at the start, a few reminders during the month, and one last push at the end of June.

A good tip when communicating with your donor base is to prepare a clear call-to-action at the end of your message like: 

  • “Help us win The Great Canadian Giving Challenge,” 
  • “Donate Now,” or 
  • “Share Our Campaign” 

3. Reconnect with your donors

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is an all-hands-on-deck campaign where every donation counts. It might be a perfect time to reconnect with donors you’ve lost touch with. To get those lapsed and hibernating donors back, consider sending them a targeted email about the Great Canadian Giving Challenge. 

When you personalize donors’ messages with their names and previous donation data, they can feel recognized and have a closer connection with you. Gently update lapsed donors about your recently achieved and announce your Great Canadian Giving Challenge participation. Here is the kind of email your donors want to get from you; again try to tailor it to the right prospect:

Hey [First Name]!
It’s been a while, and we miss having you around! We wanted to check with you if you still are passionate about helping with our cause. The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is around the corner, and we could use your help!
If you want to help ensure funding towards [what your charity is trying to solve], then help us reach our goals!
If you want to leave, we understand, and you can unsubscribe from the email below. 
Thank you for being a part of this community,
[Salutation and Footer]

You can learn how to re-engage lapsed donors with this article. 

You may prefer to ease them in with information they can explore independently. Give your donor base opportunities to get involved beyond donating, ask them to share your campaign with their communities, or support you on social media.

4. Make sure your website is easy to navigate

It is crucial to have a working website with a nice flow and clear directions. Check and make sure your donate button sits at the top of the page and is ideally a floating button/part of a scrolling header so this can be viewed by donors wherever they are on your site. In addition, that button should take only one click to the custom donation form, with no detours! For some great examples, check out what some of our charity partners have done in the past.  

A free and easy way to do a quality assurance check is to click every button on your website to ensure it works. If you are panicking and finding out the website is down or broken, leverage your CanadaHelps Charity Profile since we always ensure that it is up and running. 

Think about how the donor feels learning about your cause and the quickest and most seamless way to donate. Did you know that for every second your site takes to load the page, it results in a 7% reduction in your conversion rate? We urge you to ensure your website is in tip-top shape once the challenge starts. For more optimization tips, give this article a read.

5. Leverage our easy-to-use customized donation form

A donation form can be more than the donation check-out page; it can extend your charity's messaging and make your donors go “Wow!”.

Our customized donation forms allow your inner creativity to go wild and capture your donor's attention, so your brand messaging is still communicated before the last click. We have provided examples of how Charities take it to the next level and enhance that “donation experience. Check the link here for more information.

Here are best practices to make your form easy to use and attract more donations:

  • Embed it onto your website - you want them to take the shortest path to donate
  • Use the default amounts - your donors want to use the least amount of clicks before payment is sent
  • The header image helps bring your cause’s unique touch - there’s a reason it is called “customized.”
  • Use the Great Canadian Giving Challenge logo - donors may want to donate specifically to this challenge, so make it easy for them to know where the money goes towards to

6. Use Google Analytics to set up for success 

Would you like to know how your online traffic interacts with your website during this critical time? Google Analytics can demystify your potential donors' actions.

Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most powerful and accessible tools charities can use to dive deeper into creating those donor profiles.  You can understand the customer journey and improve your marketing return on investment (ROI).  This free software lets you embed UTM codes to track your website, landing page data, and even the donation form! Google Analytics will be measuring key metrics such as visits, clicks, and conversions or form submissions.

Many people mistakenly believe that Google Analytics is only for for-profit companies — but it’s just as powerful for the charitable sector. And knowing your way around GA will be a huge benefit during the Great Canadian Giving Challenge.

If you need more information, you can check out our blog on Google Analytics, and what to do with it from a webinar we hosted with Google Canada.

7. Meet weekly to improve your campaign efforts

Every day can bring in new challenges and learnings, and to navigate that, it can be beneficial to meet weekly and see if your efforts are heading in the right direction.

There are two options of what you can discuss; one is if you have implemented Google Analytics and one if you were focusing on digital efforts other than your website. Suppose you do have time to do both, even better!

Using Google Analytics 

This step requires setting up the previous stage and using social media analytics to understand what is doing well and what is not working:

  • Conversion Rates: how many people ended up donating to your funds from total traffic
  • Number of Traffic: number of people on your website
  • Source of Traffic and related number: Where is your digital traffic coming from? 
  • Device Source: Are they coming from Laptop devices or mobile? Safari or other browsers?
  •  This is finer detail but essential because if your website is not mobile-optimized, that is one less donation.
  • Session time and Traffic Route: How long are they spending on your website, and what is their journey from one page to another?

Other Digital Efforts

We cover this in our “What Metrics Matter” webinar, but here are some things to consider when measuring for success:

  • Social media engagement - The more engaged your donors are, the more likely they will donate and share why they should contribute to your cause with their networks. Also, if you can figure out what you did that sparked that engagement, try to repeat and repurpose it so you can keep that momentum going.
  • New donor sign-ups - It is good to know if this particular event brought new faces to your charity. If you can narrow down how these donation sign-ups occurred, divert your efforts towards that.
  • Returning donors - Find out what led your returning donors to pitch into this event and identify any specific sources they came from. 
  • Email links clicked - It is easy to send generic emails, but those emails drive people away. If you can find out which email works try to replicate those wins with future emails.
  • Email sign-ups and content downloads - As much as you want everyone to donate, sometimes it is just as good if you got them to interact with your organization. If you can keep the conversation going, these people will likely convert to becoming full-fledged donors. Understanding this information can help you focus on driving donations from these leads. 

8. Drive hype for the launch of your campaign

This is a big month-long event, so you want to start to bring excitement into the campaign early on.

You should aim to prepare everything by mid-May, so everything is up and running. You should have these ticked off by the time June rolls out:

  • Three weeks before June 1st: Meet with your team to align on campaign goals and milestones, define the cause message, draft those tailored messages, and delegate those responsibilities. 
  • Two weeks before: Set up Google Analytics and create the written work drafts for emails, website, and social media. As well as designing the graphics and media with all associated work.
  • One week before June 1st: Confirm all communications and marketing collateral are finalized. Proofread and test everything—twice. Set up Google analytics 

9. Remind donors that this challenge will end soon

Starting the Great Canadian Giving Challenge well can jumpstart your fundraising, but finishing well can take it out of this world. You want your donors to continue to be excited and engaged throughout the campaign.

Try sending campaign updates to your supporters and use language like “Last Chance” or “Act Now,” or “Urgent.” This can be helpful for donors to take immediate action. 

Need more inspiration on a better call to action?  Here are other suggestions that can be useful when you need more information about how to hone in time-sensitive information but not look desperate, check out this article.

10. Analyze your results

When the dust has settled, it's time to see how your organization performed during the challenge. Meet one last time with your team and conduct a SWOT analysis on this campaign to help you be at a better place when you start preparing for next year’s campaign. 

Here is an example of what you should be figuring out and discussing:

  • Look at the metrics set up in Tip 7 - what worked well? What didn't? What lessons can you take away for your next campaign? 
  • How will you retain new unique donors?
  • How do you keep returning donors active moving forward?
  • How much money did you raise? Were there any costs during this time you could minimize even further?
  • Did you manage your volunteers well, or could you be more strategic and efficient in how the organization conducted itself?

These questions are essential to reflect on and can also be a great point to mention when giving thanks to your donors.

11. Give donors a big thank you 

You’ve heard it a million times, and you’re going to hear it again: thank your donors!

Let them know that you appreciate them with a simple thank you email. Since this event occurs yearly, you want them to be happy with the experience, so they will be eager to participate in the next one. Try using one of these thank you messages and adapt the language to fit your charity’s messaging. To make things easy for you, our customized donation forms have a thank you tool to show your appreciation.

You can even go beyond expectations by doing a wrap-up and reflection email mentioning any successes from Tip 10 and other fun and insightful facts that your donors would love to know. Check out how other charities get creative and deliver that message with their unique reports for inspiration. 

Taking part in this challenge will take a lot of work to be successful. However, the rewards will be immense. Whether you walk away as the winner of the challenge or not – you’ll be setting yourself up for fundraising success regardless of the time of year.

Want to ensure you always keep up to date with The Great Canadian Giving Challenge? Learn more here!

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