Digital strategy, Fundraising

Giving Tuesday 2022 Final Report: 10 Takeaways

2022 has offered another round of unique challenges to nonprofit fundraisers. Social behaviors are shifting: After two pandemic years kept more people home, spending more time in front of screens and offering organizations attentive Giving Tuesday audiences, now, we’re emerging into an economic landscape impacted by inflation and the potential for recession looming.

Our nonprofit partners came into the end-of-year giving season with a full awareness of these challenges – but the generosity of their communities, accessed via effective, creative, and innovative digital strategy, was clearer than ever.

For our partners, Giving Tuesday revenue was up over the prior year, owing to new approaches to list growth, expansion into channels like SMS, and yes, that most critical element to all giving campaigns: exciting and scroll-stopping copy and visuals.

These organizations are dedicated to preventing diseases, responding to disasters, preventing gun violence, protecting the environment – changing the world for the better. Here are their collective results from Giving Tuesday:

To reach and even surpass goals in a tough fundraising landscape requires a careful calibration of best practices, investments in new channels, and paying attention to where the trends and your own rigorous testing leads – all with an eye on reaching the best possible audience, unique to each organization, with the compelling stories of your ambitious, urgent, world-changing mission. And the bottom line? The millions raised this year, and the thousands of donors who gave for a first or a second time, or converted to sustainers, all prove that those audiences are still here, listening and enthusiastically supporting the causes they care deeply about.

Like every year, these highlights give us a great snapshot, but the full picture is more than the numbers. In our report below, we’ll dive into the trends we’ve identified across our broad range of clients. From both the wealth of data and the anecdotal findings of our digital strategists, we’ve gleaned the most impactful insights from Giving Tuesday 2022 to help us understand what to expect as we look ahead at the year-end season and on into 2023.

For a look at our top takeaways from Giving Tuesday 2022, and the data that powers our insights, read on:

1. End-of-day sends stole the show.

Tracking their results over the course of Giving Tuesday, one of our nonprofit partners saw their revenue pacing behind 2021 throughout the morning and afternoon. The flip happened at 7:30 p.m. ET: Their final two evening messages raised approximately 60% of their total revenue across six messages, pushing them over the finish line to come out 41% ahead of 2021’s Giving Tuesday fundraising. This trend held true across the results for our 2022 partners – a reversal of last year’s trend in which morning sends raised the highest revenue. And we saw the evidence of this evening surge in our own inboxes, too, where dozens of emails stacked up with send times after 9:30 p.m. ET.

2. Resends played a major role for email revenue.

Amid the flurry of late-in-the-day response, many organizations found success with resends, a strategy we introduced and that’s as clear as it sounds: resending a top performer to the audience that didn’t open it the first time. One of our partners credits this tactic with helping them outperform their 2021 results. Another organization we partner with sent three resends on Giving Tuesday, and their revenue from those emails alone accounted for 19% of their total raised all day. With this strategy, we do recommend taking care to preserve list health and deliverability: We like to keep a close eye on our clients’ KPIs to create a resend targeting strategy based on the behaviors of each list.

3. Organizations in the pre-Giving Tuesday game saw a powerful impact.

For years, we’ve been watching Giving Tuesday messaging expand outside the boundaries of a single day: Last year, extensions were everywhere, and this year we saw the Giving Tuesday matches available early, rolling out over Thanksgiving weekend. For several organizations we partner with, preview messages on Sunday and Cyber Monday have proven to be increasingly important over recent years, showing a powerful impact on their 2022 results. One nonprofit started preparing their supporters earlier than ever, with virtual event invitations going out one month in advance, inviting donors to save the date.

4. A big jump in average gift.

In 2020, we saw a higher-than-usual average gift of $66. The following year, it seemed to recalibrate back down to what we’ve seen over the past decade – an average gift of around $58. But this year, we saw another major jump – our average gift across partners hit $77, a $10 increase over last year.

5. First-time donors continue to be a key audience.

The size of donations isn’t the only big driver of growth. It’s also the number of donors themselves. We saw a big increase in new donors on Giving Tuesday last year – a 46% increase from 2020 to 2021. This year, that increased proportion of first-time donors held true again, even showing a slight uptick from 2021 and bringing new donors up to account for 35% of total donations. Among our own nonprofit partners, we saw many organizations take advantage of fixed-cost list growth options like The Digital Co-Op ahead of the EOY giving season to bring in new, ready-to-give audiences for their biggest moments – these results offer a glimpse at the big difference this made.

6. List growth via The Digital Co-Op saw up to 200% return in just six months.

One organization we partner with had list growth investments via The Digital Co-Op pay off big time, with returns up to 200% in less than a year. Across the board, members of The Digital Co-Op saw names delivered via the co-op contribute to strong revenue numbers. Another, smaller organization we work with saw 38% of their email revenue on Giving Tuesday come from names they acquired from the co-op.

7. Email volume is – gasp! – still rising.

Finding and cultivating high-quality audiences is more important than ever, as competition – and therefore volume – remain on the up. We’re seeing the number of emails hitting inboxes, which has been climbing steadily over recent years, continue to rise, hitting an average of 6.0 emails per campaign across our nonprofit partners, compared to 5.7 in 2021. This mirrors our own ever-more-crowded inboxes, packed with more and more messages from e-commerce and nonprofit organizations alike as competition for attention this time of year continues to increase. With that in mind, some of our partners found new success by continuing to diversify their messaging with SMS campaigns.

8. But for some, less = more.

For some organizations, the opportunity to increase revenue while sending fewer messages offered a strategic win this year. One organization we partner with sent three fewer emails this year and still saw an 11.5% increase year over year in Giving Tuesday revenue. Of course, overall, the trend is MORE: more volume, but also more revenue. As a whole, our clients sent 5% more email this year. Still, with year-over-year growth in revenue across nearly all of our nonprofit partners, that increase outpaces the slight uptick in emails sent per campaign, suggesting that Giving Tuesday email messaging this year raised revenue more efficiently than we’ve seen in recent years.

9. And when it comes to channel expansion, SMS continues to grow in importance.

In a similar move toward efficiency in messaging, one of our nonprofit partners, who has been building out a robust SMS program over recent years, pared down their broadcast list this year to send fewer, more effective texts that raised more overall revenue – nearly doubling their 2021 Giving Tuesday total revenue. Several organizations we partner with benefitted greatly from deploying SMS content on Giving Tuesday, with one of our partners seeing a 53% year-over-year increase in revenue from this growing channel. Another organization, relatively new to the channel, saw a 464% ROAS in SMS, raising big-time through peer-to-peer text.

10. Matches and multipliers were worth the effort.

In the current economic climate, many organizations have faced challenges this year in securing match funds – but for organizations who were able to build up a match pool ahead of Giving Tuesday, this tactic really paid off. Among the organizations that utilized matches, multipliers ran the gamut, from 2X all the way up to 10X. And while the varied impact of larger multipliers will depend on your unique audience, we’ve seen that when organizations move higher than a 2X multiplier, the payback is big.

The overwhelming trend coming out of Giving Tuesday? Year-over-year growth in an uncertain economic landscape at the end of a challenging fundraising year. The strategies that made up the difference and helped nonprofits reach their goals are the learnings we’re taking along into the remaining end-of-year fundraising days of 2022. We’ll be watching closely to see how these tactics impact results in the final weeks of the year – and you can expect to hear from us in early January with our End-of-Year Report, sharing the trends and strategies that shaped fundraising, both on Giving Tuesday and at EOY.

Have an insight or result from Giving Tuesday you’d like to share – or just looking to chat about the tactics outlined here? Get in touch by sending us a note at [email protected].

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