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7 Giving Tuesday Ideas To Make 2020 Your Best Year Yet

Tatiana Morand  05 November 2019  0 comments

giving tuesday ideas

Ah, Giving Tuesday. Whether you love it (it’s a great way to get visibility and donations) or hate it (it’s too difficult to raise funds when hundreds of other nonprofits are posting the same thing), there’s no denying that many nonprofits, both nationally and abroad, set fundraising records on this day.

If you’re not already familiar with Giving Tuesday, here’s a quick introduction.

#GivingTuesday is the brainchild of the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact in NYC, and aims to bring together nonprofits, businesses and individuals across the world to raise awareness and funds on one special day. It happens on the Tuesday after American Thanksgiving — which is December 1st this year — and takes place in over 100 countries worldwide.

Although it can be intimidating to participate yourself, Giving Tuesday still represents a day of global fundraising success. According to their site, the average donor on that day gives $120 and in 2017, over 300 million dollars were raised worldwide.

You might worry that your organization will get drowned out, but this doesn’t have to be the case. An organization I knew had ignored Giving Tuesday in the past for this reason. However, their new ED decided to give it a shot — and she was right. By coordinating with other local nonprofits and planning out their social media campaign, they ended up raising more funds than they ever had on a single day.

So, whether you’re a veteran Giving Tuesday fundraiser or are just getting started, I’ve made a list of 7 Giving Tuesday ideas and best practices to help you see this kind of success in 2020.

Fundraising event checklist download


1. Turn the Camera Around.

You know why you’re giving to your campaign… but why are your supporters?

If you haven’t asked them in a while, Giving Tuesday is the perfect opportunity. Since it’s primarily an online campaign, it’s easy to feature your followers on social media and put them in the spotlight.

Ask your donors, volunteers, and employees why they chose to work with your cause, and what campaign they’re most excited about. Most people will be happy you asked, and will share their feature both via social media and word of mouth—meaning that you’re likely to see higher engagement than if you did it alone. As a bonus, you might also get responses that you can use in later marketing campaigns.

As an example, check out this instagram post from Kick’n It featuring their team:

Showing the faces behind their campaigns demonstrates that there are real people fighting for their cause. Why not do the same with your team?

#GivingTuesday doesn’t have to be the only hashtag you use, either. Adding related hashtags, such as #Unselfie, into your campaign can help reach a larger audience and generate more buzz around your supporters and their stories.

2. Plan Ahead.

I've seen a lot of organizations do nothing more than send out a few tweets with #GivingTuesday, and then complain that they didn't get any results. (Sound familiar?)

In my experience, the organizations who make Giving Tuesday work for them are the ones who treat it like a campaign. They schedule social media updates on Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram in advance, so they can surround their audience with social proof and reminders even if the day itself gets busy. Social media is so important to spreading the word about your giving efforts before, during, and after Giving Tuesday. Using a special banner or posting unique images and graphics to call attention to the day raises the level of importance to your audience and encourages participation.

One organization I knew also asked all of their followers to ask their followers to give a small amount, between $1 to $5, and to share their posts on social media in turn. Although this might not bring the highest financial return, they still got to track the amount of people who saw their appeal and who followed them as a result. In doing so, they got more followers and more traffic to their website, meaning that they have a wider base of supporters to reach out to next time.

And one last thing: they started their Giving Tuesday campaign before the day itself. Holding a countdown on social media or via email blasts, and asking their supporters to share it led to a lot more buzz (and more donations).

3. Make a Match.

Since Giving Tuesday is more widely known than any solo campaign you could run, it’s a good opportunity to reach out to local businesses for matching gifts—especially if you start before the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping blitz.

Those who regularly donate or decide to make donations on Giving Tuesday are often unsure if their employers participate in matching gift programs. As a result, over 78% of donors make donations annually without taking advantage of corporate matching gift opportunities. In an effort to combat missed revenue, Double the Donation is giving away their matching gift tool for free in preparation for the biggest giving day of the year!

I’ve also seen some nonprofits find success with internally-facing campaigns. For example, The First Tee San Diego’s Giving Tuesday campaign showed that their board of directors would match any donations received during the day.

giving tuesday ideas

If your board isn’t quite that generous, consider looking into Facebook and Paypal’s matching campaign. This year, they’ve pledged to match up to $7 million USD in donations through fundraisers on their platform.

However, don’t forget that Facebook will give you donations in a lump sum rather than providing you with the information of your donors. This means that although it’s a useful tool to include as part of your arsenal, it can’t be your sole source as it’ll be difficult to follow up with new donors.

E-book banner #2 (Event Fundraising)


4. Be Supportive.

Giving Tuesday is all about the power of community and giving back. So, why not dedicate part of the day to thanking another organization in your area whose work you’ve been admiring? Posts like this one from the Midwest Food Bank help show the great work that organizations can do together.

Your region might also have a specific group dedicated to Giving Tuesday success. For example, organizations in Vancouver, Canada can get involved with #VanGives, allowing them to access a network of support and resources dedicated to helping their Giving Tuesday initiative get off the ground.

If your area also has this kind of support available, it could be worth joining… or if there isn’t one, why not start it yourself?

Related Reading: 200+ Amazing Fundraising Ideas Any Organization Can Try Today

5. Use it as a Springboard.

Rather than considering Giving Tuesday as a one-off event, incorporating it into a larger campaign can help you make the most of the day while still focusing on your main fundraising priorities.

For example, many organizations I’ve spoken to use it as the launch of their year-end giving campaign. They use it as a chance to request that donors consider asking for donations to their favourite cause rather than gifts over the holiday season, or to donate a portion of the amount they might have spent over Thanksgiving to a nonprofit instead.

In a slightly different vein, if you feel like the #GivingTuesday market is too saturated, why not establish your own special day? Try having a 24 hour blitz on another date that’s meaningful to your organization, such as your birthday or a national cause related to your mission, such as breast cancer support day.

6. Create This Type of Content.

Do you know what kind of content gets the highest engagement?

Here’s a hint: you’ve probably seen at least one of them today on your Facebook feed.

And the answer is…


If you’re looking for immediate engagement, creating videos as part of your Giving Tuesday strategy is a must. 57% of people who watch nonprofit YouTube videos go on to make a donation.

Plus, if you’re posting them on Facebook, you can also add a Donate button, making it easy for supporters to help without having to switch screens; Youtube now also features donation cards that you can add to videos.

And they don’t have to be film festival-worthy masterpieces, either.

The most successful nonprofit videos I’ve seen have featured real-life stories from past campaigns or people who were positively impacted by their previous Giving Tuesday campaigns. There’s no sophisticated equipment required—showing the impact of their work was the most important part.

7. Say the Magic Word.

No one likes being reached out to only when you want something from them. So, taking a break to say thanks instead might come as a welcome surprise to anyone who’s feeling a bit of donation fatigue.

Since Giving Tuesday takes place near the American Thanksgiving, it can be used as a time to reach out to your existing supporters rather than to new ones and say thank you, just like this post from Food to the Rescue.

If you don’t have time to plan a full campaign, or feel that your organization isn’t well enough known to garner social media buzz, making it Giving Thanks Tuesday instead takes off the pressure to get donations and simply turns it into a celebration.

Using it as a donor appreciation day also shows how much you appreciate the gifts they give the rest of the year, and puts the focus back on their support rather than on your organization.

(And who knows… they might be so grateful that they’ll decide to donate again!).

Bonus: Keep Them Hooked.

Just because new supporters first learnt of your organization on Giving Tuesday doesn’t mean that’s the only time they’ll donate. In fact, according to Classy, 15% of supporters who donate for the first time that day will become returning donors.

However, this is most likely to happen for organizations who have a plan in place to make their new donors feel appreciated. By sending a follow-up email, giving shout-outs on Twitter, and any other activities your organization typically does with new donors, you can keep them engaged until the next #GivingTuesday and beyond.

By using the power of Giving Tuesday, your nonprofit can promote other ongoing campaigns and potentially reach new donors—or at the very least, say thank you to your loyal supporters.

Monthly giving banner

Tatiana Morand

Posted by Tatiana Morand

Published Tuesday, 05 November 2019 at 11:55 AM
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