The Final Countdown: Tips for Successful Fundraising in the Last Two Weeks of the Year

Posted by Alexis Nadin on December 18th, 2014

There are two weeks left in 2014 and there is still time to make it count for your organization! In fact, these last two weeks may be the most important time for your organization’s fundraising because 10% of all online donations made in the U.S. happen on the last three days of the year. GlobalGiving hosted a webinar on Wednesday, December 18th to discuss last-minute fundraising tips. You can view a recording of the webinar here.

Here are some important events leading up to the new year:

  • December 18 – 24: The week before Christmas when retailers traditionally see a surge in sales
  • December 16 – 24: Hanukkah
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • December 29, 30, 31: Last chance for tax-deductible donations for U.S. donors and the biggest fundraising days of the year

Make sure that you know your audience! Do your donors celebrate Christmas? Hanukkah? This period can be the most valuable time for your organization if you can connect with your audience well.

Multi-channel communication

GlobalGiving is a big advocate of multi-channel communication:

  • Email is still the single largest drive of online giving at 33%
  • Build excitement on social media by:
    • Sharing your goals
    • Keeping donors updated on your progress
    • Inviting donors to comment and share
  • Phone calls to your key donors
  • Get out into the community! Have lunch of coffee with your board members, volunteers, and major donors.

The key here is to be strategic with your year-end communications and use your organization’s resources wisely. Share specific goals with your donors to help them to understand the impact that their donation will make. For example, you could share a story about a particular individual benefiting from your project and remind donors that he/she will need their continued support into 2015!

The Communications Challengecharitywater newsletter

Your challenge this December is to capture your supporters’ attention with concise (no more than three short paragraphs!), creative, and unique  emails.

We know from experience that the typical donor requires multiple appeals before donating, so a single email might not be enough. However, donors will probably see a high number of email donation appeals flooding their inboxes in December from a wide variety of organizations.

Here are some tips to help you make your emails stand out:

  • Capture donors’ attention using compelling subject lines; and a
  • Clear and concise call to action.
  • Convey the impact that a donation would make with a compelling story and photo.
  • Include a direct link to your GlobalGiving project page.
  • Get personal–make sure to address each donor by name. Include a special, personalized note for major supporters.

Here is a great example from Charity: Water!

Extra Incentives

Another way to set your organization apart from the competition is by articulating value or an added incentive to give your your organization.

Here are some added incentives for giving on GlobalGiving this December:

15 days of givingRecurring Donation Matching

In addition, GlobalGiving is offering a 15-day recurring donation matching opportunity through December 31! Learn more about recurring donations on GlobalGiving here. 

Here are the details:

  • December 17 – 31
  • One time 100% match on all new recurring donations
  • Recurring donations must last for at least four consecutive months to qualify
  • New recurring donations count towards the Year-end Campaign

Read complete terms and conditions here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Finally, don’t forget the importance of thanking your supporters as you build your donor base for 2015! You can also appeal to your donors to get involved with your organization in other ways and encourage them to sign up for your own newsletter. Read tips for drafting an effective thank you email here. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at!

Happy Holidays from the GlobalGiving team!

Tohoku Stories: A Year in Review of the Japan Storytelling Project

Posted by Marc Maxson on December 17th, 2014

We continue our series on story-centered learning with an update on our efforts to hear from those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.


We wanted to understand how people and organizations tried to help communities in Tohoku since the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. From July 2013 to present (December 2014) we have collected over 2,000 stories from individuals about the activities that people engaged in following the disaster in Tohoku, Japan. These stories are being collected in order to further support local organizations that continue to provide needed assistance to the affected areas. The project is administered by the Israeli-based NGO IsraAid (IA) and its Japanese affiliate the Japan IsraAid Support Program (JISP).

The storytelling team held workshops at over 20 schools and universities. After, participants conducted interviews among themselves or completed paper forms. The storytelling team also volunteered in everything from debris removal to being a camp counselor for children. Participating in volunteer activities enabled the scribe to earn trust. Volunteering together with people in the disaster region, the Storytelling Project both assists people in the disaster region and collects information about how to assist them further. Please read the translated blog about some of their activities: They also have a Facebook page with routine updates about their activities: As a reward for participation, respondents were given a cute bendable pen.

The stories discuss 803 different organizations/people. Individual people and local organizations accounted for the majority (55%) of efforts captured in stories. Here is a word cloud of everything discussed. These words are translated from Japanese:

Further analysis using GlobalGiving’s tools on revealed 10 themes: mental health activities, children’s activities, community center activities, temporary housing activities, school based projects, radiation concerns, disaster stories, volunteer activities, internet-based activities, fundraising, and donations.

Using these themes and others, Prof. Takehiko Ito of Wako University and the Japan Storytelling Project director, Keith Goldstein, are preparing a publication for the March 2015 International Society of Life Information Science Conference in Tokyo. The paper is entitled: “Tohoku Stories: Identifying Happy Themes of Disaster Relief”.

We gathered lessons from many perspectives to create a multi-faceted view of the disaster recovery.


  • The majority of activities are organized by a small circle of staff and large circle of volunteers. Organizations are primarily based in Tokyo or Tohoku. Often staff in Tohoku are originally from Tokyo, Kansai, and other regions.
  • Organizations that continue to be effective succeed by collaborating with other organizations. Collaboration with pro-bono legal teams is especially important, as foreign fundraising has exponentially decreased and domestic support is contingent on bureaucratic regulations.


  • Many people from outside Tohoku (especially from Tokyo) would like to participate in future volunteer activities but lack information on where to volunteer and what they can do.
  • Volunteers often spend their personal expenses to make trips to Tohoku, which cost about 30,000 yen ($300) per weekend. More support is needed to alleviate these personal costs to enable them to volunteer more.

Recipients of aid:

  • Greater advocacy and lobbying work is needed to represent the interests of locals who feel that government policy is not working in their best interests. Current construction projects and future initiatives to rebuild often contradict the wishes of local residents (sea walls, community centers, etc.)
  • More long-term projects in education, economic development, and psycho-social support are needed. A large number of projects ceased working after the first year. Many organizations burned through funding that was slated on a yearly basis with the hope of getting a renewal. After 3 years the majority of programs were discontinued.


  • Support for the elderly is one of the most pressing needs in Tohoku at the moment. Temporary housing units are populated primarily by elderly, whose physical, mental, and emotional conditions are quickly deteriorating.
  • Discrimination is a big problem felt by residents of Fukushima. People don’t want to visit Fukushima, buy products from there, or have relationships with people from there. Local residents feel this is unfair, as there are radiation checks and other neighboring prefectures are often equally affected. While internal solidarity is expressed by locals, subliminal comments hint at high levels of anxiety and growing frustration. Numerous mentions of suicide by local farmers and others were discussed.

See for yourself: (Note that because this form was translated from Japanese and uses slightly modified questions, not all story analysis tools on will work with this data set.)

Tell us a story:

In order to further facilitate data collection, the storytelling team also developed a DIY survey.

Have you heard about an interesting project that helps people in Tohoku? If so, please fill out this short online 3 minute questionnaire to tell us about activities that you know about:


We at GlobalGiving believe that effective disaster relief begins by hearing from the people most affected by the earthquake, flood, storm, civil war, or other catastrophic event directly. We are grateful to IsraAid for their effort to help the people of Japan speak, and hopeful that all future disaster recovery efforts will include a mechanism for voices from the ground to inform what happens.

Storytelling and peace building in Bosnia to build trust

Posted by Marc Maxson on December 16th, 2014

This is part 2 of our blog series – stories of story-centered learning. The next story comes from the Center for Peacebuilding in Bosnia.

Our programmes involve storytelling as a means of dealing with the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet we never documented it. We joined storytelling because we needed to save this data.

The trade-off between spontaneous storytelling and pre-arranged testimony

The beginning of the project was not without challenges. One challenge was collecting two stories from one person. People seem to find it ok to think of a story, but for two they need more time. Some volunteers have been told they would get interviews from various people, though they would need to wait for them to have two stories ready.

When we went to Fenix (a local organisation that provides social services for people), we also faced challenges. One thing we learnt from this experience is that trying to be more spontaneous did not give as good results as when we would schedule interviews with one person at a time. From a quantitative point of view it was better, but the quality of the research was not as great as in the past. The stories were very heavy, and seeing how much people rushed to us to tell us what had happened to them was very sad and exhausting. We were literally drained of all energy after just two hours. I also noticed that the amount of information decreased. The stories, as important as they all were in content, got shorter the more we stayed there and the more people we interviewed.

The fact that we started collecting stories during Ramadan meant that it was harder to meet up collectively to follow the progress.

From skeptic to advocate

In the beginning a lot of people seemed to think it would be impossible to collect 100 stories. In the end, it was probably the more skeptical people that helped us reach out to their connections, and always tried to help us find more people to interview. They became a part of the project. What resulted from this, was that there is now a large group of people in Sanski Most, not affiliated to CIM, who know exactly what the project is about and they now believe it is something more people should take part in. That is great considering it was through networking and people recommending the interviews that we managed to collect a lot of the stories.

Incentives and building trust

People involved in the project, directly or indirectly, don’t do this because they have an incentive, but because they now believe the GlobalGiving storytelling project is very interesting.  Some people specifically think it is a great idea to gather data and are impressed by the method used.  The secret ingredient to gathering these stories was trust, and people buying into it. It wasn’t necessarily about locals or foreigners doing it, but about people getting used to the project itself.

In a way I do believe there is not one specific way to collect stories in our case, and after reflecting on challenges we’ve encountered and feedback from people, we will in the future focus on two methods. One is the relaxed method, which a lot of the people prefer and it’s more organic: collecting stories by just living here. That means, whenever volunteers hear a story they believe needs to be documented to kindly ask if they could do it. If the people trusted you to tell you that story in the first place, they will most likely trust you to write it down as well. I also believe that this could potentially lead to the sustainability of the project, and documenting stories and data collection becoming part of our organisational culture.

The second method is the approach GlobalGiving recommends: giving people good incentives to collect stories. I do believe though that for the future we have to consider greater incentives, whether that is something material, or not. Or perhaps reach out to those people for whom the same incentives we offered at the beginning of the summer would make a much greater difference.

Finally, the storytelling project motivated us to use a more story-centred approach in our programmes, be it though social media, our newsletters, or grant writing. We have already used some of the data we’ve gathered for reporting purposes, and we will continue to make the best use of it in future relevant contexts.


When all our stories were analyzed as one collection, two separate maps emerged. One had language about projects about the government, local government, and the Red Cross flood relief. The other map had the bulk of stories, mentioned many local issues, but did not mention government. Deeper analysis with BigML revealed that the “What is needed to address this problem” question was the most divisive one.

Strategic planning

This year we are revising our programmes, and developing a new strategic plan for the next five years. Therefore, storytelling will help inform us not just about the needs of the community, but also how they perceive problems, and why people are inspired to contribute to grassroots change. In this way, we can consider the results of the analysis when deciding what projects we will keep, and what projects we will focus on developing. By the end of the year, we also hope to share the results of the storytelling collection with the local community.

See for yourself

Read more:

Adelina, the project leader for this organization, has shared her stories of change in a series of posts.

How can listening to community voices save the forest?

Posted by Marc Maxson on December 15th, 2014

This week GlobalGiving will be posting stories and insights from organizations that tried out a story-centered learning approach in 2014.

La Reserva Forest Foundation

The La Reserva Forest Foundation (LRFF) is dedicated to replanting, restoring and protecting tropical forests in Costa Rica. Through native-tree nurseries, tree planting, Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), eco-tourism and educational initiatives, LRFF works closely with the local community to achieve both environmentally and socially desirable outcomes.

Even though our projects regularly bring LRFF into contact with the communities we seek to serve, running a small volunteer-based not-for-profit organization often prevents us from formally collecting feedback and better assessing local needs. This made the GlobalGiving Storytelling Project – with ready-made questionnaires, funding for implementation, analytical tools and a team of experts ready to answer questions – an incredible opportunity for LRFF to listen, learn and respond to community input.

This summer we launched storytelling in two communities where we work. We trained students from local high schools to deliver the questionnaires and conduct interviews. After collecting over 120 stories, we translated, uploaded and began to process the information. While we continue to interact with the information at and between monthly board meetings, here are three key lessons learned and next steps for LRFF:

(1) They say it better than we do.

Why speak for a community when they can speak for themselves? At best, even paraphrasing can be less powerful, and at worst it can be downright misleading. So while context is important, translations may be inexact and no individual story is representative of the whole, extracting quotes from the stories and using them in marketing, media and informational materials for LRFF is still one of the quickest and easiest ways for us to use the information. Quotes can help us paint a more accurate and compelling picture of our work to potential donors, volunteers or participants in our planting projects. Examples:

The Rubber Farmers

A long time ago before the town of Malecu spoke Spanish, there’s a story that tells of a time when the Malecu lived united, and took their food from the forest but with moderation. One day, soldiers from Nicaragua came to the Malecu territory and saw that the land was rich with many trees. These individuals began cutting down the trees, which were the home to both the animals and the Malecu. The Malecu did not know whether to leave their territory or to defend the land that gave them their subsistence. The Nicaraguans had an advantage given that they had firearms, while the Malecu only had bows, arrows, and spears. The Nicaraguans killed our men, stole our children, and raped our women. The Malecu fought for their home, but the river was filled with blood due to the massacre. The Malecu’s loved and continue loving nature. Although deforestation is still a problem, there are individuals who are now planting trees and we are now winning the fight. This is how our town chooses to protect the environment and our food.

Creating our future

When I was at school seven years ago, our teachers asked for a tree to seed on the riverside. All our classmates wondered why they wanted those trees and the benefit of it for the future. Now I understand the trees have their own purpose and that purpose was that as years pass by, companies want to cut trees down for their business and some trees species are not seen anymore. Some time ago my grandfather told me that he wanted to reforest a piece of land with a lot of weeds and all of the grandchildren, about 8, helped to plant different species of trees like Manú, ojechee etc. The trees keep growing until today and our family has its own attraction.

We’re thus integrating key quotes from the stories into our marketing materials, website, holiday fundraising campaigns and social media.

(2) It challenges our assumptions.

Even though our results are preliminary and our data is disseminated from a relatively small sample size (e.g. approximately 120 stories), one thing is clear: high-quality community feedback will surprise you, challenge your assumptions and remind you to think twice when you make a decision as a non-profit organization. We tend to promote our projects to local landowners by emphasizing the financial incentive that they will get for reforesting their land. However, when our sample was asked about the needs that their stories addressed, they tended to focus more on security, respect and fun compared to other stories in the database. It’s not just about putting food on the table for our communities, so in future projects we’ll be more careful to ask about, rather than assume, motivations for involvement and design projects to address community’s needs, rather than our perception of them.

A deeper analysis from GlobalGiving revealed that four of the many questions we asked were most important for modeling how peoples’ experiences differed. Based on BigML’s model, these four were:

#1 – Tell me a story about a time when a person or organization tried to help someone or change something in your community.

#2 – Scale: Events like these happen often/rarely.

#3 – Multiple choice: Who would you go to if you wanted to solve this problem?

#4 – Events in your story affect me/community/world.

(3) It’s the beginning, not the end.

We believe that this is not a one-time conversation for us or the communities we work with. For us, adding the storytelling project as a line item to each monthly board meeting helps serve as a reminder that this is an ongoing conversation for the organization. In addition, by undertaking feedback collection again in a year we can grow our sample size and build better quality data. We can also better track impact/changes in communities if we continue this exercise and improve our data collection process over time. For example, one third of our “baseline” storytelling were not stories about positive outcomes. GlobalGiving tells us this is normal, even healthy, because it means the community is sharing what they really think. Furthermore, the prevalence of tentative, question and discrepancy words in our data set also suggest that there are still some taboo topics that need to be tackled.

See for yourself: 

Increase your fundraising footprint with this year’s #GivingTuesday tips from GlobalGiving

Posted by Jacqueline Lee on November 24th, 2014

#GivingTuesday is coming up on December 2, 2014. Do you have your fundraising strategy planned and ready to go?



“GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back…charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.” -


GlobalGiving recently hosted 2 webinars for YouthSpark projects participating in Microsoft’s “Everyone Starts Somewhere” campaign. These webinars included #GivingTuesday tips for fundraising on the big day. Our team would love to share these tips and case studies with you. If you missed the webinar, don’t worry, please find the recording here: Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday webinar

Getting Ready – Last Minute Tips & Tricks

Follow the steps below to get you and your team ready for the big fundraising day!

1. Set Goals

Think about how many people do you want to reach? Ask yourself how much funding does your organization want to raise? This will help you to stay focused, align your actions with the end goal, and in the end evaluate what you did well and what you can do better next year.

  • #GivingTuesday Funding Goal (excluding matching funds and bonus prizes): ­____________
  • How many donors do you need to reach your funding goal?: ________________



2. Understand the Terms and Conditions & Set Donors’ Expectations

Make sure you have read and reread the terms and conditions of #GivingTuesday. If you have questions about any of the terms or need clarity, please do not hesitate to contact us! Are you involved in a matching campaign that has specific terms and conditions? Make sure you share these terms and conditions with your donors. Remind them how they can help you meet your goals and impact. Setting clear expectations will create a better experience for your donors which will increase the chance in their future participation – they might even invite their friends and family to give.

2014_Microsoft YouthSpark GivingTuesday Campaign Times

2014_Microsoft YouthSpark GivingTuesday_Campaign Times in EST time

3. Plan your Communication Strategy

Create a calendar including steps leading up to and on the day of. Devise a schedule for reaching out to your advocates, volunteers, donors, and social media supporters. Think about which platforms and methods of communication your donors, volunteers, and advocates use most. Through their preferred modes of communication, think about when and how often you will reach out to them. Assign staff to monitor customer service and response to these different platforms. Be prepared to re-post your supporters’ Facebook posts, retweet your advocates’ tweets, and respond to emails immediately. Get creative!

StayClassy shared an experience about an organization that planned their communication strategy months ahead utilizing social media, email and phone calls. By the end of #GivingTuesday, the organization “had blown their $25,000 goal out of the water and raised $97,148.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.42.53 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.47.04 PM

4. Join the Conversation.

Use #GivingTuesday and other popular hashtags in Twitter and Facebook to spread awareness of your campaign by joining existing conversations. By joining larger existing conversations, your organization can tap into an audience not already familiar with your cause and work.

5. Prep Your Content.

Prep campaign messaging not just for your organization, but create easily sharable and customizable email templates, Twitter posts, Instagrams, and Facebook posts that your networks can share with their networks.

  • Write a project report for GlobalGiving. Submit your project report to GlobalGiving before Bonus Day,and request that it be sent out on December 2nd. In your project report include an update about your project, a quote from a beneficiary, and/or story of one of your beneficiaries. Also, don’t forget to include a call to action for donors to give on Bonus Day. Your project report should inspire them to give.
  • Write and send messaging for your fundraisers to use on #GivingTuesday. You want to make sure that assisting your organization is easy for them, and that they are sharing the correct information. Include a template email, sample tweets, and sample Facebook posts, if relevant.
  • Put together your social social media plan and have Facebook posts and tweets ready to send for the big day.

6. Mobilize Your Current Network.

Turn your donors in to  fundraisers. Instead of asking donors to give this year, why don’t you ask them to share your message this year? Ask them to invite their networks.

  • Identify potential donors, such as board members, former volunteers and interns, and friends/family
  • Identify donor captains. Donor captains are responsible for raising a funding goal on the day of #GivingTuesday… for example, a donor captain may be a former intern that is excited about your work and pledges to raise $300 from 20 donors for your project. Donor captains help your organization grow its network of supporters.
  • Contact donor captains. Let them know why you are asking for their help and tell them how they can help. Remember your donor captains are individuals that care about your organization, the work you are doing, and most importantly they care about you (the number one reason why people give is because someone they know and trust asked them too).

7. Don’t Forget to Thank your Donors!

gift card

Engage with your donors positively and proactively. GlobalGiving makes it easy for nonprofits to thank their donors through the donation manager. Click here to learn more about the thank you note feature

Success Story shared a great success story about an organization who combined the above tips (joining the conversation, engaging community, using social media, and getting creative) to create a successful 24-hour fundraising campaign. For #GivingTuesday, an organization created a photo campaign that included the organization’s specific hashtag and #GivingTuesday. The nonprofit asked local students, volunteers, and community members to give back by participating (not giving), and this resulted in not only more than 1,000 photos with the organization’s messaging being shared on social media, it amplified their organization’s message to the larger #GivingTuesday community, and the organization raised approximately $10,000 in donations.

We hope these tips help you create a solid and effective campaign strategy for this year’s 24-hour day of giving back. Best of luck this #GivingTuesday!

Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday

Check out these additional great resources that were sourced for this article and provide additional fundraising tips and strategies:

Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat.

We know your time and resources are valuable. We want to help you be as effective as possible with those resources, and we’ve seen that effectiveness is driven by a cycle of progress that involves listening, acting, and learning (and repeating — doing it all again). Think about the questions below in order to test how your strategy worked.

  • LISTEN: You just read tips for a creating a successful #GivingTuesday.
  • ACT: What is one way you are going to fundraise for #GivingTuesday?
  • LEARN: How will you know whether your fundraising strategy worked? What results will you look for in order to measure success?

Ebola Care app helps aid workers combat Ebola

Posted by blake on November 12th, 2014

We are happy to announce an exciting opportunity for GlobalGiving organizations!  If your organization is on the front lines fighting Ebola then we can help. The Ebola Care project is an initiative by Journey and GlobalGiving to provide aid organizations with the tools they need to make data collection easy and simple.

The following post was written by Philip Joubert from Journey.

The problem with paper forms
Soon after starting the Ebola Care project, we connected with Sam Herring, the data manager at a nonprofit combating Ebola in Liberia called More Than Me. He said that his “biggest priority is getting data from the field faster,” and asked us to help. Like Sam’s team, your staff is likely using paper forms to collect data. Unfortunately, working with paper forms can be very frustrating – it’s a time-consuming process to enter data into a computer and by the time you get access to the data it’s already old.


It can take days or weeks for data to become available

The Ebola Care App

Sam worked with us to develop the Ebola Care app, which runs on Android phones and completely replaces paper forms. Results from the two pilots run in Liberia have been extremely positive, and we are now in the process of deploying more than 1,000 phones to aid organizations in West Africa.


Sam Herring is using the app to manage Ebola efforts in Liberia

How it works
The Ebola Care app consists of five modules:  contact tracing, ambulance pickups, case files for orphans, quarantine monitoring, and tracking outreach events. Aid workers use the app to collect data, which is immediately available online to decision makers.


The Ebola Care app gives organizations real-time access to data

The data is accessed on Google Spreadsheets, and can be imported into different reporting tools like Excel. Ebola Care has an API which allows you to integrate with almost any reporting tool.

Joining the Ebola Care project
Getting access to Ebola Care is completely free for aid organisations fighting Ebola. If your organization signs up you’ll receive the following:

  • The Ebola Care app
  • Android phones for your team
  • Reporting through Google Spreadsheets
  • Technical Support

We also hope to supply SIM cards and airtime for the phones, however the details are still being finalized.
GlobalGiving partners can complete this form to secure your place in the Ebola Care project.

Frequently Asked Questions
Will my organization need training?
The app has been designed to be extremely simple to use, and it guides users through the entire processes. Your organization will also receive training materials.

When will I receive the phones?
The phones will be delivered starting early December.

One of my forms is not listed as a module. Can I still use the app?
Yes! You can request a module and we’ll add it. All you need to do is send us an example of the paper form and tell us a bit about your process. It will only take a few days for the new module to become available in the app.

How do I apply for the phones and app support?
Fill out this form and let us know what you need!

Have the Last Word: Develop an Effective Year-End Communications Plan

Posted by Alexis Nadin on November 4th, 2014

give hope smallThis holiday season, your organization will be competing with thousands of others for coveted space in email inboxes all over the world. It is estimated that nonprofit organizations send an average of SEVEN email fundraising appeals per subscriber during December. So how can your organization stand out? Will Frechette, GlobalGiving’s Digital Marketing Specialist, joined us for a webinar on October 29th to share share his experiences and some best practices. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

By using GlobalGiving’s very own core values of Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat (LALR), your organization can craft a story that sticks to people and stands out from the crowd.

First off, what makes a good story?

  1. Characters
    • Who is your protagonist? A staff member, a beneficiary or a donor?
    • Who or what is the antagonist? A global problem that your organization is tackling?
    • Who is your narrator? A staff member, a beneficiary or a donor? A unique perspective might be all your need to capture the attention of your donors!
  2. Plot
    • Create a storyline by sending multiple emails out over the course of the month
    • Start with an exposition. (An introduction to your characters, themes and what you want to accomplish with the donations).
    • Create rising action and build up to a climax. (Highlight the problem that your organization is facing).
    • Falling action and Resolution. (How have your donors helped to solve the problem and what will future donations do to help?). Their involvement will help solve the tension that you are building!

Listen to your:

  1. Audience – What are your donors telling you?
    1. Use email analytics to measure the success of each email. GlobalGiving’s web analytics is a helpful tool. You can measure the open rate, conversion rate, click-through rate, and average donation size.
  2. Peers – What are some of the successful practices of other nonprofits?

Best Practice #1 – Subject Lines

  • Be short & direct
  • 34 characters or less (emails on mobile phone browsers wrap after 34 characters)
  • Your subject line starts the story so make it attention grabbing!

Best Practice #2 – Bold, high-resolution images

  • Our studies show that bold, high-resolution images increase click-through rates by 44%!
  • A few examples of great photos here, here, and here!

Best Practice #3 – Calls to action!

  • Have a single call to action in each email!
  • This focuses your audience on taking a specific action.

Best Practice #4 – Send multiple messages

  • Although message volume increases in December, open and click-through rates don’t.
  • Plan to send many emails over the course of the month to build up support.
  • However, beware of email fatigue and donors unsubscribing.

Will 1Best Practice #5 – Incentives

  • Whenever possible, provide additional incentives for your audience to give.
  • GlobalGiving has our Year-End Campaign and a #GivingTuesday campaign for Microsoft YouthSpark eligible organizations only.

Act: Plan your story and plan your tests!

  • Plan your email storytelling campaign in advance. Use individual stories of staff on the ground, donors or beneficiaries, and make it part of a larger storytelling campaign!

Learn: Test what works and use past emails and campaigns as benchmarks!

  • Plan your tests and see what works best!
    • Test subject lines (measures open rates)
    • Protagonists (click-through & conversion rates)
    • Narrator (potentially all rates)
    • Call to action (click-through & conversion rate)
    • Images (click-through & conversion rate)

Will 2

Repeat: Remember what was successful and repeat in 2015!

  • Take notes of what works for your organization and repeat in 2015!
  • Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, January 21 reflect on lessons learned from 2014 year-end fundraising. Use data-driven techniques to analyze the results of your efforts and to make smart decisions about your communications and fundraising in 2015. Sign up here.

Final Parting words from Will:

  • The best stories are the ones you already tell
  • Subscribe to other nonprofit newsletters to learn best practices.
  • Be consistent over all media of communication!

Remember, GlobalGiving is offering two promotions to help you drive donation activity this December. Learn more about our Year-End Campaign and Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday to decide which campaign is right for your organization!


This post was written by Lucius Lee, Program Team Intern. 

Effectiveness Tools on GlobalGiving

Posted by Alexis Nadin on November 3rd, 2014

diy toolkitIn September, GlobalGiving announced some exciting improvements to GlobalGiving’s Effectiveness Dashboard, which was launched in early 2014. We began to offer points for taking advantage of other learning tools that are available on the web—including Nesta’s DIY Toolkit and Feedback Store.  Last month, we hosted a webinar in collaboration with our friends at Nesta to introduce the changes to the Effectiveness Dashboard.

Listen to the full recording of the webinar here and check out the summary below.

GlobalGiving is not just committed to providing fundraising tools for our partners, but in supporting a robust exchange of money, information, and ideas. In 2002, we took the first step by creating the GG funding platform, and in 2010, we began exploring how to fulfill the goals of information and ideas exchange. We added feedback tools such as the Storytelling Tool and new trainings for project leaders, and we received really positive feedback from you, our partners! We found that these tools were really useful in helping our partners increase their online funding capabilities.

So, we wondered if we could provide access to a similar set of tools for feedback to help partners not only increase fundraising capabilities but also effectiveness, and therefore impact. We think of this effectiveness as emerging from cycles of Listen, Act, and Learn:

  1. Listen to the community you serve, what’s working for others, and the best research out there
  2. Act: trying something new, see what happens, and measuring results
  3. Learn: what works, what fails, and what to do differently

Effectiveness Dashboard

We released the beta version of the Effectiveness Dashboard in April 2014, and after getting lots of feedback from the Leadership Council, surveys of PLs, and one-on-one meetings, we released the Effectiveness Dashboard 2.0 in July 2014. Some specific changes we made based on your feedback include:

  • Thank you notes- recurring donors counted only once
    • Overall % thanked and how quickly donors are thanked
  • New ways to get points
    • Creating and entering video and photo contests
    • Applying to be GG Ambassador
  • Movement between categories
    • Demonstrated learning (ex. Listen points for listening to webinar)
  • External Tools!
    • Example: Nesta DIY Toolkit
    • Feedback Store- access to 200 tools that provide advice and resources for collecting feedback, analyzing data, and returning info back to the community
    • Charting Impact: series of 5 questions developed by Independent Sector that takes organizations through a thought process to better understand why and how you are doing your work

Nesta DIY Toolkit

One of our new external tools that you can get points for using is the Nesta DIY Toolkit.  Theo Keane joined the webinar to tell us more about how to best use the toolkit to amplify innovative thinking in your organization. Developed in partnership with the Rockefeller foundation, the Development, Impact, and You Practical Toolkit contains tools to trigger and support social innovation. Nesta realizes that social sector problems are complex, and that effective organizations need to be agile and adaptable in their thinking, in order to be most innovative. This results in a greater capacity to solve problems more effectively and generate innovations that improve lives of communities.

The DIY toolkit is therefore collection of best and most practical social innovation tools out there.  In curating the toolkit, the creators asked themselves the following questions of the potential tools:

  • Is it practical?
  • Would you use it?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Is there evidence of impact?

The result is a suite of 30 tools, each with an explanation, case study, and worksheet that can be used by your organization to tackle a variety of innovation, design, and business challenges. The online toolkit has gotten nearly 250,000 visits from 85 countries since its launch in March 2014, and the tools have been downloaded more than 70,000 times.

Some important features of the toolkit include:

  • Tools can be found based on user need statements (i.e. “I want to collect inputs from others”)
  • Practical worksheets to easily understand what to do with a tool and put it into action, so that better results can be delivered more quickly
  • Share, rate, and feedback of each tool (online)
    • Build a community of practice
    • Learn from people actually using the tools
    • Downloadable PDF, with different sizes, which are conducive to individual and/or collaborative working
  • Case studies from innovators in the field, generated during user testing
  • How to’s for each tool: diagrams, video tutorials, case studies

Effectiveness Dashboard and the DIY Toolkit:

You can earn points on GG Effectiveness Dashboard for using different tools from the Nesa DIY Toolkit. The steps are below!

  1. Log onto the Effectiveness Dashboard
  2. Check the “How to improve your score” box on the right side of the screen
  3. Click the DIY Toolkit link (and all of the external tools!)
  4. Once you use a tool, click the “Earn Points” link
  5. You can get Listen, Act, and Learn points for each tool used:
    1. Listen: 1 pt for telling which tool you used- simply enter the URL of the tool from the DIY Toolkit
    2. Act: 5 points for uploading a file of the worksheet (scan, PDF, smartphone pic), and the content is not factored into the points
    3. Learn: 5 points for telling what you learned!

It is probably easiest to submit all that you plan to do at once, but not necessary. Right now, ED points don’t count on GG. Rather, they should be used to help you see how you are doing compared to other organizations, and discover what tools are most useful for you. These points will start to count toward your overall rating in early 2015- don’t worry, we notify you with plenty of lead time.

We’re still collecting feedback! Please send a message with your thoughts and questions to: or for feedback on the DIY Toolkit.


  • Is a higher or lower score on dashboard better?
    • Higher- you want to earn as many points as possible! More points demonstrates greater interaction in LAL
  • What if we do some of these activities, but not through DIY?
    • Unfortunately, right now we can only give points trough this system. On our side, if you have filled out worksheets (such as a SWAT analysis), you can submit copies of those, as long as it is the same tool. For other tools/business docs, please email us. You could think about adapting what you already have to the DIY templates.
  • Three most popular tools?
    • Fast Idea Generator
    • Innovation Flowchart
    • Business Model Canvas
    • Theory of Change
    • Blueprint, Personas tools
  • Are the templates adaptable to orgs working in different areas?
    • Yes! We conceived of tools to support specific project tasks, no matter the sector. Problem solving and innovation applied to a variety of traditionally accepted tasks.
    • Please remake and reuse as is useful! Please share them with us ( if you do, so we can learn too.

Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday has gone global!

Posted by Jacqueline Lee on October 29th, 2014


gtsavethedateWe are excited to announce that this year, donors in the UK and US are able to make their donations go further while supporting their favorite projects!  Participating projects are able to fundraise on both and, our sister UK site. Only YouthSpark designated projects active on may participate in the campaign, so we are extending an invitation to our Leaders and Superstars with projects that work with youth ages 6-24 in the areas of education, employment, and/or entrepreneurship to join YouthSpark and the 2014 Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday campaign. Continue reading for more details…

Going global…   geographicglobaldonors

Projects currently listed on that would like to participate in this year’s Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday must cross-post to by completing this expression of interest form, completing any necessary due diligence, and answer the YouthSpark eligibility questions in PE for each eligible project by November 10th (see below for details on how to join YouthSpark).

YouthSpark projects currently listed on that would like to engage UK donors should complete the cross-posting process to GlobalGiving UK‘s site by November 25th. Let the UK team know you’re interested here as soon as possible.

Campaign details

There will be $350,000 USD total in matching funds released in buckets at two times. In addition to the matching funds, for 24 hours, projects will be competing for bonus prizes including most unique donors and most funds raised. All donations across both sites, matching, and bonus prizes will be calculated in USD on one leaderboard hosted on If you choose to fundraise on both and on #GivingTuesday (December 2, 2014), we advise you to direct your UK donors to your project page link and direct US donors to your project page link.

We would like to note that last year’s #GivingTuesday matching funds ran out very quickly. We have worked to create a campaign structure to address this. However, we do recognize and would like to set expectations accordingly, that matching funds may go quickly again this year.

You can find the full terms and conditions for this year’s Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday HERE.

Projects participating in Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday are not eligible for GlobalGiving’s Year-End Campaign (a fundraising initiative on

How to join YouthSpark youtsparkeligibility

November 10th is the deadline to submit your eligibility to participate in Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday.

In order to apply, all projects must first be active on Once active on, projects then need to be designated as “Eligible for YouthSpark” through project entry (PE).  See this previous post for instruction on how to designate your project for YouthSpark.


Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday Campaign Webinar

Mark your calendars: if you choose to participate in this campaign, join us for a webinar with tips to get prepared for #GivingTuesday, including potential matching fund scenarios and recommended communication for donors.

Date: November 19, 2014

Times: 6 am PST/9 am EST and 12 pm PST/3 pm EST

Webinar link:

Sign up here!

Please email for any questions. Best of luck this holiday season!

Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday terms and conditions are here

Posted by Jacqueline Lee on October 29th, 2014


Microsoft’s YouthSpark #GivingTuesday campaign on GlobalGiving is around the corner (December 2, 2014), and we are gearing up for the 24-hour day of giving! We have finalized the details of this year’s campaign, and we are happy to share that there will be $350,000 USD in matching funds total, half of which will be released at two different times and matched 100% up to $500 USD per donor per project. Projects will also be competing through the entire day for bonus prizes for most unique donors and most funds raised. Please see full terms and conditions below:

Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday 2014 Terms and Conditions:


  • Only YouthSpark designated projects/microprojects will be matched.
  • YouthSpark projects and microprojects must be on in order to participate in Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday, but donations made on both and will be eligible for matching and bonus prizes.
  • Organizations newly referred to GlobalGiving’s platform by Microsoft must have all application materials submitted by November 10, 2014 00:00:01 ESTin order to participate in Microsoft’s YouthSpark #GivingTuesday.
  • To express your interest in cross-posting your project from to , you must submit the form to by October 30, 2014 and must have all updated application materials, if needed, submitted by November 10, 2014 00:00:01 EST in order to participate in Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday. Our Partner Services Team at will respond to your expression of interest form if any further information is needed.
  • To express your interest in cross-posting your project from to, you must submit the form and must have all updated application materials, if needed, submitted by November 25, 2014. will respond to your expression of interest form if any further information is needed.
  • If not already done, current projects and microprojects must submit their “Eligibility for Microsoft YouthSpark” through project entry (PE) to GlobalGiving for approval by November 10, 2014, in order to be eligible for Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday matching funds and bonus prizes. Approval will be determined by GlobalGiving staff.
  • Eligible projects and microprojects will be identified with a banner on the day of the Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday campaign.

Matching Available

Bonus Prizes

  • Participating projects will be eligible for the following bonus prizes, calculated from December 2, 2014 00:00:01 PST / 03:00:01 EST / 08:00:01 GMT to December 2, 2014 23:59:59 PST / December 3, 2014 02:59:59 EST / 07:59:59 GMT:
    • 1st place for the project/microproject that secures the most unique donors: $5,000 USD
    • 2nd place for the project/microproject that secures the 2nd most unique donors: $2,000 USD
    • 3rd place for the project/microproject that secures the 3rd most unique donors: $1,000 USD
    • 4th place for the project/microproject that secures the 4th most unique donors: $500 USD
    • 1st place for the project/microproject with the most funds raised: $5,000 USD
    • 2nd place for the project/microproject with the 2nd most funds raised: $2,000 USD
    • 3rd place for the project/microproject with the 3rd most funds raised: $1,000 USD
    • 4th place for the project/microproject with the 4th most funds raised: $500 USD
  • If projects/microprojects tie for any of the most unique donor bonus prizes, then the tied project/microproject with the most funds raised will receive the bonus award.
  • If projects/microprojects tie for any of the most funds raised bonus prizes, then the tied project/microproject with the most unique donors will receive the bonus award.
  • All bonus prizes will be finalized in USD at December 2, 2014 23:59:59 PST / December 3, 2014 02:59:59 EST / 07:59:59 GMT pending GlobalGiving’s approval.
  • All bonus prizes will be disbursed to successful projects by in USD at the end of January with the rest of the donations raised in December.

Donation Eligibility

  • Donations will be matched up to $500 USD (approximately £312; exact exchange rate to be set at the start of the day) per unique donor per project. Unique donors are determined using numerous criteria, including name, email address, credit card number, mailing address, and IP address. We will actively monitor these and other parameters in our system to ensure that only unique, distinct donors are counted.
  • All bonus prizes and matching will be calculated in USD. Donations made in GBP will be converted to USD using the exchange rate set at the start of the day and disbursed by GlobalGiving as per GlobalGiving’s disbursement policy.
  • Donations made on will be disbursed to your organization by GlobalGiving UK. They will be collected from donors in GBP and sent in the disbursement currency requested.
  • Only online donations (credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching funds on Only online donations (debit card, credit card, CAF Online or PayPal) are eligible for matching funds on
  • Donations made on any GlobalGiving corporate or third-party sites using GlobalGiving’s API are not eligible for matching. Additionally, donations made by gift card, check, JustGiving, or text-to-give are not eligible for matching funds.
  • Please note that Microsoft and GlobalGiving maintain the right to make a final decision on all matters concerning the allocation of bonus prizes and matching funds and reserve the right to adjust results if necessary.
  • Please note that GlobalGiving will monitor and review all donations made through this offer.
  • Please note that all donations are final. GlobalGiving cannot change the time, date, or status of a donation after it is processed for any reason.

Tax Efficient Giving & Fullfillment Fee

  • is a registered nonprofit in the United States. Donations made on can only be claimed as tax deductible contributions on United States tax returns.
  • is a registered charity in the United Kingdom. Donations made on by UK tax payers that provide a full postal address can be claimed for Gift Aid (providing 25% extra to the projects receiving donations).
  • Fulfillment fee for donations: retains a 15% fulfillment fee, and retains a 10% fulfillment fee on donations. The fulfillment fee does not apply to the matching funds. The fulfillment fee covers all transactional charges such as credit card fees, as well as helps cover the costs we incur to promote organizations and projects, provide them with fundraising training and tools, and maintain and improve our online technology in order to keep connecting projects with new donors. offers donors the opportunity to “add on” the fulfillment fee as a direct donation to GlobalGiving, in which case the fulfillment fee will not be retained from the original donation.

GlobalGiving Bonus Day Support

Join us on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, for a webinar on getting prepared for #GivingTuesday, including potential matching fund scenarios and recommended communication to donors.

Questions about Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday? Please email