Engaging Donors and Sharing Stories: GivingTuesday Insights From Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

In just eight years, the global generosity movement, GivingTuesday, has become the “can’t miss” occasion, on par with the nation’s biggest shopping day, Black Friday. Falling this year on December 1, (mark your calendar!), individuals and organizations observe the special day by giving back and “doing good” to transform their communities and the world. As the vital meeting ground for the nonprofit sector, Independent Sector is proud of how creatively our community participates in this special day. We spoke with Andrew Rubenstein, director of marketing for Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, an IS member, to learn about their GivingTuesday plans.

Organizationally, how do you approach GivingTuesday?

At Guide Dog Foundation, we’ve learned that our donor community doesn’t necessarily give because of our organizational needs or fundraising goals. They give because they want to be a part of our mission to change lives. We provide enhanced mobility and greater independence to people with disabilities when we partner them with one of our special guide and service dogs.

As we craft our GivingTuesday communications, we lead with stories about our clients to provide firsthand accounts of how their lives have been transformed by our work, and to highlight how our donors’ support affects these changes. We highlight the messages of those who have benefitted from our programs to provide a clear picture of the donor’s impact.

We showcase how our donors’ collaboration with us creates life-changing opportunities for those we serve. We consider our donors essential partners who are integral to accomplishing our mission, and we seek to develop more meaningful relationships with them that inspire their continued involvement and support.

How do you engage social media on GivingTuesday?

Once we have our GivingTuesday strategy in place, we’ll tease our participation several days prior to the campaign launch. This year, in addition to our online push, we’ll be running a broadcast campaign on a variety of streaming services including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Roku, as well as on a variety of other online outlets.

When it’s time to launch our campaign, we try to engage our communities via social media to give them the opportunity to share their stories and to fundraise on our behalf. By providing messaging that they can adapt and use with their own social networks, we immediately boost our reach, while giving our community the opportunity to share why they support our mission, which creates authentic and engaging interaction.

In your experience with GivingTuesday, what has surprised you the most?

In our six years of participating in GivingTuesday, we have been amazed by how much our community wants to participate in our GivingTuesday campaign. By allowing them to share their stories, personal experiences, and perspectives, we are able to offer much more powerful and meaningful communications that can have an impact on others. It’s a way for our donors, volunteers, and graduates to reveal an aspect of their lives that others might not know about.

We also realized that we can engage with our donor community and ask them for support more often than we thought. If our donors will answer a call to action for GivingTuesday, we know we can count on them at other times. We’re grateful to have donors who want to give more. We just need to ask, and show them firsthand the impact their gifts have on the lives of the people we serve.

The thing that has never surprised me is the generosity of our donor community. Even during the busiest holiday times of the year, they will be there for us when we need them.

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Animal Rights, Health and Human Services, IS Member, IS Staff, Organizational Relationships