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2018 Giving Tuesday Secret Shopper Review

I want to say something and be really clear here. Donor relations and stewardship professionals, indeed all fundraising professionals, have a huge opportunity every Giving Tuesday. We can combat the deluge of emails and texts and social posts asking for money and counteract this with messages of gratitude and thankfulness to our existing donors.

Yesterday I received over 160 solicitations from nonprofits far and wide, some of whom I hadn’t heard from since my last donation and some of whom took Giving Tuesday to be a free license to solicit at abandon! Only one spent the day in gratitude, Charity Water. I was impressed and humbled by their activity and thought, "Wow! What if others did the same?"

But you’re not here for my thinking on this necessarily, instead I will give the review of how the giving experience went! I gave to more than 30 different organizations and you can see them on the spreadsheet here.

This year I found to be much better than most past years! The good news keeps coming. Some of the organizations I gave to made wonderful decisions about their giving site experience and it was quick and seamless. While others still have not invested in their technology or see the online experience as an afterthought. Let me be clear, in 2018 it is no longer ok to tell a donor they have to wait for a gift receipt, they should be delivered instantly.

In addition, if you are using targeted gift amounts, please make sure they are targeted well and not way above the norm.

The heroes of my day were, Beaver County Humane Society and LitWorld. Their giving sites were pleasurable and thoughtful and surprised and delighted at every turn- check out these screenshots!

I also loved this imagery and playful text used by the Cincinnati Lab Rescue.

Other sites were made more complex, like Michigan’s Giving Blue Day whereas in the past it was much much simpler!

Also those sites that had dollar amount targets clearly tied to the good that they could do as seen in the screenshots below were fantastic- except for those that shot too high on amounts, like $15,000 being their first ask! We know from research that you should place amounts in ascending order. Instead of the word “other” try, "surprise us!"

Finally, let me make it clear, minimum donation amounts are never a good idea. What if I wanted to give $5 a month? Setting a minimum seems non inclusive and not in the theme of generosity.

All in all a great giving Tuesday but we have a huge opportunity as a community to give gratitude next year, not just ask for more!!

Who did you give to? What did they do to make it a great experience?




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