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Most of us who work in fundraising were deluged with emails from various nonprofits. But we were also refreshing our donation totals to see how generous donors were being to their favorite causes. In all, Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving, spurred record numbers of charitable giving this week with $511 million raised online and nearly $2 billion overall.

After last year’s mixed year end results and hysterical concerns around the impact of the tax law changes, we were watching early Giving Tuesday returns closely, scrutinizing these first results as a bellwether for what’s to come in the remaining short weeks of year-end giving.

The jury is in and it’s a resounding success: Nearly all of Avalon’s clients exceeded last year’s Giving Tuesday performance – some by as much as 200% or more!

Only a few of our clients raised less than last year’s Giving Tuesday, two of which were due to technical difficulties with donation forms and email deliverability. (Digital fundraising platforms simply cannot fail on the most critical fundraising days of the year, but I’ll save that rant for another day.)

Giving Tuesday was later this year than in previous years, causing concern about a shortened year-end giving schedule. Many of our clients compensated for this by sending additional emails ahead of and on Giving Tuesday. But the increase in revenue was not simply due to more email sends. We calculated the revenue/M of the campaigns and they just performed better, driven by stronger response rates.

And it wasn’t just email that donors responded to. Donors to our clients’ websites also gave generously to homepage takeovers and lightboxes promoting Giving Tuesday. And Facebook fundraisers, Facebook ads, and SMS text appeals drove additional revenue.

Our clients are off to a good start for year-end giving. And even though Giving Tuesday is over, you still have time to replicate some of the best techniques – countdown clocks, matching gifts, Facebook fundraisers, and the urgency of the 12/31 deadline.

While it remains to be seen whether this momentum will carry through to the end of the year, it’s good to see such strong performance out of the gate at this critical time of year. And that’s a win for the causes our clients and other nonprofits serve.

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Avalon Consulting Group, Inc.
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