In the barrage of holiday shopping commercials so far, only one has really stuck out to me: Barnes & Noble's new ad shows people reading books (and only one Nook!) all over the place, reminding us of the experience of discovering and gifting one. "A book is a gift like no other... and a gift they'll remember long after the holidays are over," a voice-over tells us.

The ad resonates with me because I'm a huge bibliophile, but what caught my eye is that the commercial wasn't about 40% off, Black Friday, or being the best bookseller. The commercial was about the experience of finding the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one, and the connection it creates, which lasts well past the moment of exchange.

As more brands tweak their marketing to convey experiences, connections, memories, and stories (see Apple, New York Life Insurance, and more), nonprofits have an opportunity to do the same—just in time for their own holiday, the third annual #GivingTuesday, on December 2.

This 24-hour giving challenge, created by the UN Foundation and 92 Street Y, has raised millions of dollars (mostly online) for thousands of nonprofits, and helped to bring focus back to some of the original sentiments of the holiday season: generosity, hope, goodwill, and community.

Organizations can easily fall into the same marketing traps as retailers, relying on banner ads, oddly paired incentives and rewards for donating, and the same tired message asking people to "give this holiday season to make an impact."

Instead, how can nonprofits employ the inherent warm fuzzies that come with doing good and make #GivingTuesday an experience, a moment to be remembered and cherished, just like giving and receiving a book?

Set the Scene

As with many brand products and services, the technical and the logistical can get in the way of what really matters: Why do I need this? How will this change my life?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Jenna Sauber

Jenna Sauber is a crowdfunding and digital marketing expert at CauseVox, a peer-to-peer fundraising software for nonprofits.

LinkedIn: Jenna Sauber

Twitter: @cajunjen