If staff aren’t motivated by a fundraising campaign, how can they expect donors to be? That was the thinking behind a successful, staff-driven 2018 #GivingTuesday campaign at WNET in New York City.
“The people who work here are really passionate about the cause,” says Stephanie Riger, Associate Director of Digital Fundraising & Promotion at WNET. “They’re some of our best assets in promoting our message. There’s a real value in having them help educate the public about what it is that we do.”
By engaging staff members to participate in its Giving Tuesday campaign—especially on social media—WNET was able to reach nearly 5,000 of its audience members via organic communication. Paid social and search efforts engaged more than 11,000 individuals, resulting in record support through those channels.
Riger shared some of THIRTEEN’s #GivingTuesday strategies for enlisting team members in the campaign.
“A lot of our efforts were focused on getting people more involved so they could help share our message with their own networks,” Riger says. To get started, the station invited staff to a “lunch and learn” session which explained the #GivingTuesday campaign and encouraged participation in those efforts. “Basically, we let people know what we were planning for the day and encouraged them to get involved by sharing what we were posting on social media,” she says.
To offer some incentives, WNET announced a giveaway for staff members who retweeted, shared or commented on a Facebook post, liked an Instagram post, etc. during the campaign. “Regardless of what they did, they were entered into this giveaway. This was our first step in engaging staff to help with our cause-based messaging, which is not something we’ve done much of in the past.”
On #GivingTuesday itself, November 27, the station arranged a “desk drop” of Rice Krispie treats plus a note of appreciation and instruction. “It was a reminder for everyone to follow us on social media and share our #GivingTuesday message, and to support us in those channels in general,” Riger says. “It went over really well. It was a surprise and I think everyone thought it was a nice gesture.”
Social Media Takeover
On Instagram that day, THIRTEEN submitted its account to a staff takeover. “We basically invited staff to give a little background on their particular role at the station,” Riger says. She enlisted ten team members across a variety of departments, including President and CEO Neal Shapiro, to post about the station in live updates using Instagram Stories. “People introduced themselves and their role at the station plus a little behind the scenes of their day-to-day.” These short videos were also shared on Facebook Stories.
Riger says this approach wasn’t just great for viewers—it gave social media followers a personal look at what happens on a daily basis—but served as a team-building exercise. “People were really excited to help out and thought it was fun—even a couple who weren’t particularly tech savvy or as familiar with Instagram,” she says. “Personally, I enjoyed spending time getting to know them while helping them create their stories.”
Laying the Groundwork
Riger says these successful strategies may have been specifically applied for 2018’s #GivingTuesday, but will also be used to support other campaigns in the future. “This was an opportunity to lay the groundwork for getting staff more involved and even more educated about the work we’re doing in development—especially about how important public support is,” she says. “We will definitely use this as a jumping-off point down the road as we think about peer-to-peer fundraising and other campaigns.”
She says the more staff members become educated about various departments, station-wide initiatives and each other, the more willing they will be to lend a fundraising hand. “And not just on a personal level, but from an organizational perspective too,” says Riger. “This helps foster support across the different departments in the organization.”