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8 tips to avoid burn-out, #GivingTuesday edition

And just like that, my fundraising friends, the year-end season of giving is once again upon us with #GivingTuesday kicking things off on November 30th. Over the years, this lowly day to give back has evolved into a global 24-hour mission-based movement. It is now common-place for communities in almost every country to respond collectively by donating to their favorite charitable causes, volunteering and helping to amplify the mission of the organizations close to their heart. And let’s face it, in 2021, creating a movement is considered the holy grail of engagement.

In 2020 alone, Canadian donors went above and beyond by raising over $36million in this infamous 24-hour period. Amazing, right? Yep. And while kudos and credit should be given to these generous individuals, we must acknowledge the hard work of the fundraisers behind the curtain, making it all seem effortless ;).

While fundraising is often considered a 365-day effort, the focus on #GivingTuesday is warranted and should not be overlooked. Specifically because it can be a significant revenue generating period for your organization, having the additional benefit of bringing in new donors. That being said, the experience of planning and executing your campaign can often be a time-consuming, resource-sucking, pressure-filled (and extremely long) day of connection with your community, donor solicitation, and engagement with others new to your cause. With all the hype surrounding #GivingTuesday, it can be so easy to get lost in the stress and adrenaline of the day.

At RaiseDays, we facilitate giving day fundraisers all year round, so we've learned a thing or two about managing the planning and execution of these short-burst crowdfunding campaigns in a healthy and positive way. Our simple recommendation -- just begin each day with two shots of wheatgrass juice. Or, follow these 8 very helpful tips to ensure your 24-hour #GivingTuesday is an ultimate success - with zero burnouts:

1. Craft a comprehensive to-do List

One of the best things you can do to plan for your sunup to sundown endeavour is to make a list of all the little things you'll need to accomplish that day. Never ignore a small task (but do delegate!) and prioritize the items on your list from most important to least important. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • #GivingTuesday goal setting [$ raised / # donors / shares / subscribers]

  • Impact Matcher cultivation (if you're planning to run a match campaign)

  • Volunteer [canvasser] cultivation

  • Volunteer training

  • Create our marketing and promotions editorial calendar

  • Social media marketing content creation

  • Email marketing content creation

  • Digital ad content creation and set up [Google / Facebook / IG / LinkedIn]

  • Optimize your donation experience, with a focus on #GivingTuesday

  • Post campaign analytics and process review

  • Post campaign recognition and thanks [donors / volunteers / sponsors]

2. Develop an editorial calendar

On #GivingTuesday, don't put yourself in the stress-inducing position of scrambling last minute to figure out what content your organization should be posting. Make sure that all content and promotional material is developed ahead of time. You should also use a tool like Buffer to schedule your posts to be distributed and published in advance. Similarly, your email campaign can be set up and scheduled well in advance to hit your audience early in the day. This ensures you have the freedom to focus on other more crucial parts of the day when you know everything is ready to go. We recommend sharing your editorial calendar with your internal team to account for milestones and keep everyone aware of what's to come. All hands on deck for this one.

3. Create a schedule for your staff and volunteers

From dawn to dusk, staying on a shared schedule will be tremendously effective in ensuring your team's goals and expectations are aligned. Work through the time it takes to complete each task (give or take) and schedule time slots for each, down to the very last detail. Stress is often considered a silent killer, sticking to your schedule will keep everyone calm and focused and limit the questions and issues that can pile up on you.

We also suggest you to incorporate the practice of mindfulness into your schedule. Even a 5-10 minute mindfulness or meditation break can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties and improve mental health.

4. Plan intentional screen breaks

As part of your schedule, make sure to add in several screen breaks throughout the day. Digital eyestrain often leads to dry eyes and puts an extra burden on the muscles that help the eye focus. The last thing you want is to get tired eyes, headaches, or feel fatigued and lose the momentum. You might even want to consider investing in blue light lens glasses or computer shields, which help reduce eye strain. It's important to listen to your body. Try to stand up every 10 minutes or so, take short walks and keep your phone out of sight while you do.

5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

And if we need to say it one more time, HYDRATE! It is so easy to forget the one thing we need most to keep our body moving when in go-mode. Include drinking water on your to-do list and schedule for the day, making it impossible to forget. Grab your favourite oversized bottle of water, fill it up to the top, and drink regularly throughout the day.

6. Pack extra chargers

Phone, laptop, watch, and even your bluetooth earbuds - you name it. You don’t want to have any unexpected interruptions, so pack an extra one to make sure you can always stay connected.

7. Get comfy

Let’s face it, these 24-hours can feel like a week, so make sure you stay comfortable, especially if you're planning to run the show virtually. Pack a 'Comfy-Kit' including your softest t-shirt and sweatpants, favourite snacks, comfortable shoes and your favourite hot beverage, make sure you have everything on-site to make work as pleasant for yourself as you can. We recommend packing Advil as well, in case the screens become a little heavy on the eyes.

8. Be mindful of you and your team's emotional wellness

Throughout #GivingTuesday, we encourage you to take note of apparent successes, milestones, challenges and obstacles you have observed throughout the day. There is always room for improvement, so never miss an opportunity to learn and grow for future giving days.

While it's important to track your core KPI's, including amount raised, most active time periods, retention, churn, new donor acquisition, web traffic, shares and social engagement, etc, it's equally important to measure some of the intangible qualities of your team's campaign efforts which can help you build on your progress in future campaigns.

This involves taking a step back to reflect on how you, the team and volunteers are feeling and expressing themselves throughout this often stressful day. It's not always easy to self-reflect or be aware of the mood of others around you, but doing so can help pinpoint specific emotional triggers that can be acknowledged and proactively addressed next time.

We hope these tips help turn your personal #GivingTuesday experience into a positive one this year. At Raise Days, our mission is to help put our partners in a strong position of success, for them to feel confident in the giving day process and to achieve tangible results. Don't hesitate to reach out to us any time of year with your giving day questions or plans by visiting Have a happy holiday giving season!

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