A 2-Day Plan for Launching a Library Giving Day Campaign | npENGAGE

A 2-Day Plan for Launching a Library Giving Day Campaign

By on Apr 20, 2020


Library Giving Day Campaign Guide

Developed in 2019 and envisioned by the Seattle Public Library Foundation, Library Giving Day was created to support libraries nationwide. This one-day giving event was formed to encourage patrons to support their individual library systems and this year will be held on April 23. Last year, seventy eight libraries participated and raised over $737,000, with their average gift size being $172. This is a sizable average for a newly developed day of giving. In 2017, #GivingTuesday reported a mean gift size of $105 after five years of existence. The support shown by over 4,000 donors was heartening and should be even greater this year’s #LibraryGivingDay.

Do you work for a library that is interested in participating in Library Giving Day but hasn’t had the time to prepare? Don’t worry – you may only have three days to plan your campaign, but by following the steps below you can still successfully participate and engage your donors.

Plan Your Library Giving Day Campaign in Just Days with These 4 Steps:


Step 1: Download the Toolkit 

Library Giving Day has created a toolkit that includes logos, posters, sample emails, donor engagement strategies and how to promote your participation. Visit the Library Giving Day website to download these important materials.


Step 2: Show Your Impact

Showcase how your library has strengthened the community and use this message in your campaign. Your theme can be developed many ways but highlighting a story will have the most impact by enhancing your donors’ understanding. Once you have developed your message and crafted a story, ensure it’s delivered in a simple, informative, connective, and uplifting way. Include imagery since people naturally look at pictures before reading text and photos can evoke the donors’ emotions. You probably already have stories you can pull from!


Step 3: Set Your Fundraising Goal 

Set your goal and identify donors by utilizing your data. Determining an amount can be a challenge giving the timing and the newness of this day. Set an obtainable goal by analyzing your past campaigns and targeting donors that have given over the past three years. Donors want to feel successful while supporting you and setting a number that’s too high will only hurt your campaign. Encourage people to give at any level, even if the amounts are lower than you normally suggest. Donations add up and during stressful times your donors might give less. Any donation is considered a success because you are engaging them while supporting your mission.

Learn more about planning a successful giving day with Blackbaud’s free Giving Day Toolkit


Step 4:  Develop a Day-of Digital Communications Plan

Update your website/social media pages and develop a timeline to ensure your digital efforts are in sync. A donate button should be placed on your home page, making it easy for donors to give. Clarity for the donor is imperative and your website/social media efforts should share the same message. A digital communication timeline will guarantee you are adequately connecting throughout the day. Transparency and communication are important if you want to keep the momentum going. Plan your emails and create/schedule your posts in advance so you can focus on executing the campaign and being visible in the moment.

Below is an example of a communication timeline for Library Giving Day.

April 23, 2020

8am: Initial Library Giving Day post(s) and email

  • State your mission
  • Share your first themed story
  • Goal for Library Giving Day

11am: Second social media post(s)

  • State your mission
  • Share a second themed story
  • Update on raised funds for Library Giving Day

3pm: Third social media posts(s) and email

  • State your mission
  • Share a third themed story
  • Update on raised funds for Library Giving Day

7pm: Fourth social media post(s)

  • State your mission
  • Reminder that Library Giving Day is almost over
  • Update on raised funds for Library Giving Day

April 24, 2020

8am-12pm: Social media post(s) and email

  • State your mission
  • Thank your community/donors
  • Announce raised funds on Library Giving Day
  • Explain how funds will be utilized
  • Thank you, thank you and thank you!

April 25, 2020

  • Acknowledgement letters sent


Don’t Forget About Donor Stewardship

By analyzing communication styles during previous crises, we have uncovered that donors want to hear from organizations during uncertain times. An article by The Chronicle Of Philanthropy: “What We Have Learned From Crises and Can Use in Coronavirus Age” is a great read on communication. Ideally you want to develop a COVID-19 stewardship plan to thank, engage and retain your donors that supported you on Library Giving Day. You can break this plan down by donor frequency.

First-time donor: These donors need the most stewarding and are the costliest to acquire. Connect via phone to learn their values, what drives them and their interests.

  • What motivated them to give during these uncertain times?
  • How did they hear about your participation of Library Giving Day?
  • Do they know/understand your mission?
  • In the past, have they visited your library or website?

Second-time donor: Understand why they gave again and consider timing been between their donations. Ask if their interests have changed since their first donation or maybe they were inspired by your Library Giving Day campaign. Make sure to follow-up on any action items from your conversation.

  • Why did they give again?
    • Is it because they understand your current needs and struggles?
  • Why your library?
  • How long has it been in between donations?
  • Have they been engaged since their first donation?

Annual donor: Know what motivates them and their preferred communication style. Listen to their feedback, ideas, and comments. Follow-up on any conversation discoveries to gain their trust and keep their attention. Also, make sure they can convey your mission correctly while they are networking in your community.

  • Have they given to any new organizations because of the COVID-19 impact?
  • Do they truly understand your mission?
  • Do they normally frequent your facility or website?
  • Share how COVID-19 is affecting your library.
  • Ask how they are doing and listen closely to their response.

Major donors: These donors believe in your mission, feel respected and trust your staff. Your most likely keeping in contact with them during this crisis but make sure you connect on a personal level. Take interest in their families and how this is impacting them.

  • Are they more engaged because of COVID-19?
  • Do they have a new motivator to give due to COVID-19?
  • Share how COVID-19 is affecting your library.
  • Ask how they are doing and listen closely to their response.

Today’s world is unique and different than anything we have ever experienced. Being donor centric is a great way to connect while staying in the forefront of your donor’s minds. Library Giving Day is chance for you to share your current successes and struggles by letting the community in. We are in this together and will overcome this together. Share your story and good luck on Library Giving Day!


For more Giving Day and COVID-19 resources, visit the Blackbaud COVID-19 resource page.


Tanya Fitzgerald is a senior marketing manager at Blackbaud, previously having served as a customer success manager for Blackbaud Arts & Cultural Solutions. Prior to joining Blackbaud, she was the Board & Special Projects Manager for the South Carolina Aquarium focusing on major gifts and fundraising events while managing the Board of Directors and junior board. Previously, Tanya was involved with Louie’s Kids for six years, a non-profit that focuses on childhood obesity and family wellness, as a board member and volunteer managing their fundraising efforts. Currently, she is involved with the Charleston Animal Society’s fundraising events and is a member of their Board of Directors philanthropy committee. Tanya enjoys giving back and sharing her non-profit knowledge helping our customers succeed.

Comments (1)

  • Jonna Ward says:

    We are happy you picked up on Library Giving Day. As of tonight, 293 library systems in North America have signed on. Maybe Blackbaud can help us get word out beyond US and Canada!

    In addition to this, please check out https://iplf-conference.org/

    All this has been done by a loose network of people working hard to create a “culture of philanthropy in libraries”.

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