How You Can Make the Most of Giving Tuesday

This year, Giving Tuesday lands on November 27. Is your calendar marked? More importantly, does your nonprofit have a plan in place?

If you’re still in the “planning to plan” phase, don’t sweat. It’s never too late to put together a Giving Tuesday strategy. (That being said, it’s never too early to start organizing a strategy either.)

Why do it? No doubt, Giving Tuesday carries clout: In 2016, it raised $168 million dollars across 1,560,000 donations for 40,000 nonprofits worldwide. And it’s growing substantially every year.

Whatever your planning time frame, your nonprofit can claim its space—and its prize—in this buzzing Giving Tuesday sphere. The point is to engage with donors and supporters and together, celebrate the joy in giving and caring for our communities.

Here are some overarching ideas to move your Giving Tuesday plans into action.

#Givingtuesday

1. Set those goals.

Above all else, do this one thing. Whether your goal is to bring in new donors, build missional awareness or increase donors’ average gift amounts, define what you want to accomplish and attach a number to it (for example: acquire 50 new donors; raise a total of $75,000 in donations; increase average donation by $20). Consult with applicable staff before putting goals to paper, so everyone feels invested and inspired to get after it.

REMEMBER: Giving Tuesday can be more than a one-day fundraising blitz. You can also use the day to kick off a year-end giving campaign or lead-in to a January 2019 campaign. The idea here is to get donors thinking—to set the stage for them—about next year’s giving.

2. Maximize matching gifts.

Like a two-for-one deal. When donors know that their gift will be matched, either dollar for dollar or upon reaching a monetary goal, they’re more likely to feel motivated to give. The push is to reach that goal to activate the match. Seek out corporate sponsors that align with your mission, and don’t overlook local businesses like banks, grocery stores or even coffee shops in favor of larger corporations. Sometimes it’s less red tape to work with a local business and easier to motivate employees to get involved in activities that support the cause. They might work harder for you, too, fueled by hometown pride.

3. Rally the troops.

Call on dedicated staff, enthusiastic board members and go-getter volunteers to spread the word (in person or via social media) and to create fundraising pages for Giving Tuesday. If time and expertise allow, create or share graphics specifically for the day that they can post to their own pages. Word of mouth from respected sources with personal connections is more likely to create interest—and spark giving—among folks who may not know about you yet.

4. Think before you post.

Before you share anything, define your messaging and theme. Fresh out of ideas? You can use Giving Tuesday as the introduction to your holiday campaign instead of having to create a totally separate campaign. Also consider a campaign title, if you’re not using Giving Tuesday to kick off your holiday campaign. The “why” for donors to give and specifics of what you’re seeking to fund are the places to go to for title inspiration.

Weave the theme throughout your Giving Tuesday communications. Start here with specific collateral:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram campaign-specific graphics with #GivingTuesday hashtag
  • Compelling beneficiary or volunteer impact stories to share on social media or website
  • Giving Tuesday popup with donation button on website homepage
  • Blog post or LinkedIn page (but keep it keep it brief)

Need more inspiration? This Giving Tuesday social media kit offers a timeline and examples you can use for videos, blogs, posts, tweets, snaps and more.

5. Giving Tuesday isn’t about money. 

It’s about bringing us all together through our love of helping others. Not all donors make monetary donations. Be sure to invite volunteers to donate their time. And don’t forget to mention noncash gifts that would help your organization to advance its mission.

REMEMBER: Thanking your advocates is crucial. Never neglect this step. Whether they are giving their support, time or money, ensure they feel your gratitude.

Make gains but fall short?

If you don’t reach your Giving Tuesday goal, that’s OK. No need to panic or feel deflated. This simply presents another opportunity to connect with donors and build brand awareness. Send a follow-up thank-you email to donors and non-donors. Let them know you’re extending the campaign for another week. You’re close to achieving your goal and want to ensure that everyone has the chance to participate.

Let’s start the giving today.

Have any Giving Tuesday successes you’d like to share? What’s worked, what’s not, and what are some of the best ideas you’ve seen. Then check out this complete #GivingTuesday toolkit with loads of tips, samples and ideas—even how to request a mayor proclamation.


Giving Tuesday: Hour to Hour

6 a.m.—Wake up with a Giving Tuesday email and social post at least on Facebook and Twitter, or across all your social channels, announcing the kickoff with donation form link. Keep the theme light (it is first thing in the morning) and packed with visuals that tell the story of your work. Make sure the email includes a link to your Giving Tuesday campaign page, a call to action and social share buttons.

IDEA: “Why I Give” donor spotlight videos immediately build connection and inspire others to believe they can give too.

10 a.m.—Coffee break is also a time to give with a second brief email and post to remind supporters about the day and its impact. Be sure to include relatable facts and figures to show what the need is and how their gift helps make a difference.

IDEA: Show behind-the-scenes photos or videos of your staff, volunteers, program recipients and others in action throughout the day. Seeing happy, hard-working faces builds a personal connection to your cause.

9 p.m.—Wind down with an email and post that can be both a thank-you and the last touchpoint for a final appeal. It reinforces the “we’re-all-in-this-together” theme and builds affinity. Plus, supporters will want to know how the day went and to celebrate the day’s accomplishments and goals before it ends.

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