Are you feeling groggy today after 24 hours of fundraising? The Giving Tuesday hangover is real—for you and donors. We have the cure to help all of you get through the rest of the busy year-end appeal season: make feel-good fundraising content that offers a (virtual) big hug.

Grab some Alka-Seltzer, a hearty breakfast and let’s dig in.

Why You Should Go the Happy Route

Getting people to emotionally engage with your mission is a good thing, but what types of feelings should you tap into as nonprofit marketers and fundraisers? There are good reasons to keep it positive right now, especially after a roller coaster of a year.

In an essay published following the September 11th attacks in the U.S., Barbara L. Frederickson summarized the science and theories behind leading with positivity:

  1. Positivity regulates negative emotions like anger and anxiety (which can lead to action like seeking justice but also linger unproductively).
  2. Positive emotions help resilient people more quickly recover from a crisis.
  3. Positivity keeps people’s minds open to new ways of doing things and creative solutions.
  4. Positive emotions can lead to upward spirals, where people are more likely to feel good in the future when they feel happy now.
  5. When people act from a place of positivity, there’s a ripple effect across organizations as they pay it forward. It’s contagious!

Keeping it positive can also help you stand out from the crowd after donors have been inundated with requests for money for Giving Tuesday. It’s never easy to ask for funds in a time of economic hardship for many households. Eliciting positive emotions with your fundraising content is a way to inspire those who can give without making those who can’t feel like they are part of the problem.

How to Create Positive Fundraising Content

Lucky for you, there are ways to put positive fundraising messages into practice without tapping into your limited energy reserves. Here are six fundraising content ideas you can use during year-end appeals to keep spirits bright without being artificially sweet.

Share a “journey” story from your community

If you’ve been collecting stories for your nonprofit, now’s the time to put one to use as a blog post, interview or simple video testimonial. Focus on the journey of one person associated with your mission and how they reached a place of positive emotion like joy, gratitude, pride or relief. But don’t skip out on the hard stuff either—fundraising can include a balance of the highs and lows.

Curate a photo series of memories or milestones

You don’t need professional photos to make people happy. Gather up images from the year that celebrate your top memories or important milestones. Maybe even a screenshot from your first virtual event. Whether you put them in a gallery, photo essay, or in a series of social media posts, explain how they relate to your mission, history and future.

Repurpose meaningful social media comments

User-generated content takes many forms. An often overlooked one is the positive comments you get on social media posts. Take warm and fuzzy comments from your social media channels and turn them into posts themselves. (Canva has a great tutorial for turning quotes into social media graphics.) You’ll recognize engaged supporters and reinforce that you’re listening on these channels, too.

Audit the visuals and messaging of your homepage

Now that Giving Tuesday is over, be sure that your website’s homepage directs supporters to the most important call to action, like donating to the annual fund or becoming a member. Your content should make an inviting and compelling ask, and any associated visuals or photos should match your upbeat feel. No sad puppies, please.

Review website pop-ups for placement and tone

If you have fundraising-related pop-ups running on your website, review the design, text and placement to make sure they are making the right asks in the right places. Does the content keep with the tone of the season? Are you motivating with negative emotions (fear, shame, pity) or positive ones? Check out our post on pop-up best practices for more guidance.

Create more sincere “Thanks for Donating” content

When was the last time you read the content on the “Thanks for Donating” page that people see once they make an online gift? Or in the automated email that gets sent out with a donation receipt? Make sure they are on the mark with your positive fundraising messaging. Offer a sincere message of thanks, skip the jargon and use a real voice. For inspiration, try flexing your personal gratitude muscles and send thank you notes to some of your organization’s first time donors.

BONUS: #GivingTuesday Hangover Playlist

To get back into the year-end fundraising groove, here’s a Spotify playlist curated for all you nonprofit leaders, fundraisers and marketers. There’s something for everyone, no matter if your Giving Tuesday went right, wrong or in-between. Get encouragement, sympathy and celebratory beats to help you through—ending on a high note, of course.

It’s understandable if you’re not full of sunshine and rainbows at the end of the year. Especially this year. As someone who normally “fills my cup” with sarcasm and Schitt’s Creek gifs, I made a cup of hot cocoa just to write this post.

Rather than channeling feelings of frustration, fear or disappointment into your nonprofit’s messaging, try happy fundraising content that puts your supporters on a path to cheerful action. Once the new year rolls around, you’ll be in a strong position to build relationships with donors that are fueled up with warm fuzzies.

Are you going high with your messaging this year? Have any upbeat fundraising blurbs you want to share as examples? Or are there any songs you’d add to our playlist? See you in the comments!