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How we gear up for Giving Tuesday

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:30 a.m. CDT

It might seem way too early to be thinking about November, but a handful of us in the nonprofit world are already planning for Giving Tuesday this fall. Actually, it’s a number of ideas coming together and then tangents to those ideas – our nonprofit sector is some of the best brainstormers I know!

A few years ago we started our monthly “Nonprofit Tools for Success” gatherings where we discuss items that local nonprofits need and want in order to increase organizations’ skills and efficiency. Last November, we hosted a half-day event for National Philanthropy Day and out of that came topic ideas for the monthly “Tools for Success” gatherings.

One hot topic for all nonprofits seems to be “marketing,” especially in light of the lightning speed of change around social marketing – juxtaposed against the fact that many in our county (including donors) still prefer old-school newsletters, newspapers and mail.

Toward that, our February presentation was the U.S. Postal Service teaching us the details of “Every Door Direct Mail” (EDDM) and bulk mail (Thank you to Morris Postmaster Thomas Kimes for setting it up!). EDDM looks to be a great service for nonprofits and for-profits alike.

It’s much less labor-intensive than bulk mail and incredibly low-cost. Yes, internet email and social media are great ways to communicate with friends and donors online, but it’s nice to know there’s a resource for those of us who still want to communicate with our community via hard copy mail.

Our March conversation was a handful of us nonprofits discussing and preparing for Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The thought and progression is: Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Church Sunday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday – bracketing the weekend with ways to express thankfulness.

Many of us have individually marketed our nonprofits in the Giving Tuesday arena with limited success. However, the movement is gaining popularity at the state and national level, so a group of us nonprofits have decided to pool our talent and resources to host a Grundy County Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28.

We will be meeting during our “Tools for Success” gatherings on the first Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. at the Foundation office, 520 W. Illinois Ave. in Morris. All nonprofits in the region who are interested in partnering toward this big donor-relations initiative are invited to attend.

A tangent to this conversation is the bigger idea of local nonprofits partnering to “hire” a marketing person to share among us. Many of us feel the stress of trying to squeeze in the time to create a proper marketing plan, including recording and sharing the great stories that all of us nonprofits have.

What if we could find a marketing intern from one of the local colleges?

What if that intern spent an hour or two a month with each nonprofit in the partnership to advance their marketing?

What if this was successful enough that we could pool our resources to hire a full-time shared marketing staff??

All good questions, so stay tuned.

Again, if your nonprofit (charities, churches, government programs, etc.) wants to be part of the Giving Tuesday team, please come to the next “Tools for Success” at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the foundation office.

All are welcome!

• Julianne Buck is the executive director for the Community Foundation of Grundy County.

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