Transforming #GivingTuesday into #BlackLabFriday

December 19, 2016

#GivingTuesday is an annual event created by the 92nd Street Y, focused on bringing people together around the value of giving back to our communities. Since the first event in 2012, the movement has generated over $200 million for nonprofits worldwide.

2016’s Giving Tuesday was held on November 29th. Early returns estimated $168 million raised, an increase of 43% from the previous year. In this highly competitive time for donor dollars, nonprofits are asking themselves, “how can we stand out?”  

Cornershop Creative client, Canine Companions for Independence (Canine Companions), tried a new fundraising tactic in 2016 that paid off handsomely:

“Due to the high saturation of messaging on Giving Tuesday, we kicked off our fundraising campaign on what our organization calls ‘Black Lab Friday.’ Since we had a match, we were able to encourage donations early and over a five-day period, rather than just on Giving Tuesday,” explained Canine Companion’s National Online Marketing Manager, Dani Logue. “Using language such as – ‘Choose black labs over sales tags!’ in email and social messaging, we kept the campaign fun and upbeat yet still mission-focused. Cornershop Creative helped pull the campaign together and coordinate all of our efforts for a highly successful campaign.”

Canine Companions, a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs free of charge, had performed well in past #GivingTuesdays. With a loyal following of supporters and a great mission (because, of course, who doesn’t love puppies?!), their message is compelling for both current and new donors alike.

However, their #GivingTuesday results had plateaued, and Canine Companions wanted to explore ways they could increase their #GivingTuesday numbers and start the end of the year fundraising season on the right paw (see what we did there?). 

In creative talks with their marketing team and Cornershop, the idea for Black Lab Friday was born. #GivingTuesday traditionally falls around its retail equivalents, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In order to capitalize on these well-known commercial spending sprees, Black Lab Friday was launched in conjunction with Black Friday on the Friday before #GivingTuesday and was promoted for five days instead of just one.

By getting a jump on other organizations, extending their window of opportunity, tying their messaging to other mainstream events, and capitalizing on great wordplay, Canine Companions increased nearly all of their metrics from previous #GivingTuesday efforts. The Black Lab Friday campaign performed the best out of the three years Canine Companions has participated in #GivingTuesday, bringing in the highest total amount raised, number of gifts, open rates and average gift.

While #GivingTuesday promotes a great day of giving, Canine Companions was able to think outside the box and use the movement as a launching pad to celebrate philanthropy beyond the one day that #GivingTuesday.  When thinking about what to do for your next #GivingTuesday campaign, remember: try something new, play into your branding and mission, and it never hurts to start thinking of new ideas early!

By Sarah Fargusson

Self-described as a “non-profit junkie,” Sarah has dedicated her career to serving the needs of the non-profit sector. Her project management experience spans a variety of non-profit management disciplines including strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building, fundraising and research. She has worked both in and for the non-profit sector at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and the consulting firms The Lee Institute and The Curtis Group. With her ever expanding non-profit tool belt, Sarah joined Cornershop Creative to tap into her techie, creative side, while developing meaningful partnerships with her clients to help them more effectively achieve their goals.Along with her extensive training in facilitation, Sarah is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati DAAP School where she received a dual bachelors degree in Women’s and Urban Studies, as well as Wake Forest University School of Business’s Nonprofit Management Certification Program. Passionate about civic engagement, Sarah is currently a member of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s Aquarium Connection and the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, where she serves on the board as the Strategic Planning Director.Sarah and her husband, Bryce, live in Norfolk, VA on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay where she moonlights as a mermaid and raises their pack of three dogs (Daisy, Rico and Mokona) and sole cat (Nestle).